I grew up as a very, and i mean VERY fussy eater. I would hate the texture, smell and even just the look of most foods. But over the years I have improved drastically and these days I still shock my parents with what I now love to eat. Moving to the Netherlands has definitely put me to the test with trying what the Dutch have to offer.
Crunchy Meat-based ball – “Bitterballen”
When I first tried a bitterballen for the first time, I thought it was absolutely disgusting. Biting into a fried crunchy ball with soft meat inside that had been dipped in mustard. It was burning hot and my tastebuds were going crazy at the idea that I was even trying it!
I think around the 5th time of trying it (as well as waiting till it was not burning hot!) I started liking them. Even going back to the mustard for an extra dip! It’s not something I eat often, but if I’m out for an afternoon at a nice bar or cafe then they are a perfect snack with a beer. You cannot come to the Netherlands without trying them!
Caramel Waffels – “Stroopwaffels”
These delicious caramel/cinnamon waffled biscuits are to die for. You can buy them in the supermarkets as a pack of little biscuits, but the best way to try it is fresh, which are also made more than twice the size. We used to buy one to share on the way to the shops in Rotterdam.
The little ones are good, as you can warm them up on the top of your cup of tea at home, but biting into a large warm biscuit with caramel oozing out the middle while visiting the market is way more dutch. Perfect to eat all year round too.
Cheese – “Kaas”
How to start this? I love cheese. I eat cheese toasties, cheesy pasta, cheese on pancakes (with bacon) and grated cheese on food such as cauliflower or courgette for dinner. I eat too much cheese. In England I would eat rich strong cheddar all the time, but in the Netherlands that same cheese is three times expensive! These days I’m eating ‘jong kaas’ which is just mild cheese, or occasionally their ‘oud kaas’ which is their stronger/older cheese.
One thing I still need to visit is Gouda on a Thursday morning (June to August) when up to 300 farmers bring their cheese weighed, tasted, and priced. However I have been to De Goudse Waag cheese museum, which was good for a rainy day to learn the history and machinery used in making gouda cheese.
Chips – “Patat”
Chips are very popular to eat when walking around the market, grabbing some chips on the go as you shop for your fruit and veg (or if you are too lazy to cook and you walk to the snack bar for dinner!). The Netherlands have some very strange combinations though and I definitely don’t like them all!
The most popular is patat mayo, basically chips that you drown with mayonnaise on top. If your feeling adventurous, some raw sliced up onions on top is delicious. Another is patat oorlog, which translates to chips war. The sauces are practically at war with each other to be eaten first. The sauces are mayonnaise and peanut sauce and it includes chopped raw unions on top. There are also others including ketchup, mustard and curry too, but for now i’ll just stick to mayonnaise.
Mini Pancakes – “Poffertjes”
These mini pancakes “poffertjes” are usually served with a thick layer of icing powder and a pile of butter, which slowly melts on top. During the winter months they are delicious with a cup of hot chocolate. During the summer months it’s delicious to add some fresh fruit, as it makes a great combination of warm pancakes and cold fruit. My favourite is with strawberries!!
I took this photo of my poffertjes at Seth Poffertjes. They are definitely not the healthiest treat to eat in Rotterdam but perfect to eat on a sunny afternoon! During the summer period it’s always a challenge to get a seat here so good luck!
Pancakes in general are popular in the Netherlands, with hundreds of combinations too. A recommendation from me: A large pancake with bacon, cheese and syrup… Mmmmm!
Herring – “Haring”
This is a popular treat for those who love fish. It is to be eaten raw and often with chopped onions (occasionally pickles too). The traditional Dutch way to eat it is to hold one end above you and bite into the other end.
This is something I extremely AVOID. I hate fish and I am glad Lennart doesn’t like fish either, so I never have to cook it!
Chocolate Sprinkles – “Hagelslag”
When I first saw these in the supermarket I knew what they were due to having them back in England to decorate cakes with. Being placed next to the jam, peanut butter and nutella it wasn’t exactly the cake making section. Well that was exactly where they belonged because the Dutch eat them in a sandwich or on some toasted bread! Popular for breakfasts and lunch.
My best breakfast combination of hagelslag is on some round crackers “beschuit” with butter and some strawberries.
I could really go on with other Dutch treats as there is quite a list. Here’s some extra:
- Oliebol (round donuts with raisins covered in icing powder served only for New Years)
- Drop (liquorish sweets, with loads of different combinations like with mint or honey)
- Appeltaart (Apple pie is very very popular, especially if you buy the best apple pie in the Netherlands from Dudok)
- Stamppot (Fresh potatoes mashed together with ingredients like endive and bacon)
- Tompouce (a puff pastry cake filled with pastry cream and icing on top)
- Vla (a cold custard pudding in many flavours like chocolate and vanilla)
- Speculaas and Pepernoot (spiced shortcrust biscuits served only during November when the Dutch Santa “Sinterklaas” arrives)
- Kapsalon (a full calorie meal mostly served at snack bars. In the tin you get a layer of chips, then meat, then cheese and on top some salad. Mostly served with garlic sauce and sambal)
- Erwtensoep (This is pea soup thats very popular in winter, okay you can likely get soup like this in every country, but you can also get soups with mini meatballs here, yum!)
- Kaassoufflé (a yummy cheesy fried snack thats covered in breadcrumbs and filled with melting cheese)
Any more I have missed off my list?? Add a comment below!