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Best Traditional Dutch Food to Try in Amsterdam

When it comes to visiting Amsterdam, often the first thought comes to all the coffee shops, but next to all these popular tourist attractions, there are fantastic alternatives to let the Amsterdam experience really sink in!

What I enjoyed most on all of my trips to Amsterdam was the food. It’s really different from for example the pizza and pasta culture in Italy, or the German bratwurst and sauerkraut, and I love its diversity! But it’s not only the kinds of food you can find in Amsterdam, but how you can make an experience out of it thanks to the city that really makes it!

Food on offer

windmill in Amsterdam
Windmill in Amsterdam

It sounds horrible to many, but if you go to Amsterdam, eating a raw herring is practically a must! The Dutch specialty is refreshing and quite an experience, often they serve it to you with some soft, white bread, onions, and some gherkins. No need for sauces or even cutlery, it’s fantastic the way it is! In most cases, they offer you this little piece of deliciousness in little fish stores. As Amsterdam is right by the sea, you’ll get the fish as fresh as it gets!


Now what really got me addicted were the so-called “Stroopwafels”. Crispy, round, thin waffles with caramel in the middle – it sounds oh-so-simple, but they are absolutely great! You can find them everywhere: in cafes, in supermarkets, little shops on the streets. Obviously they are more of a snack, so I suggest getting some tea or coffee and finding yourself some Stroopwafels to go with it!

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We all know pancakes, I know no one who doesn’t like them. But you’d be wrong in thinking that the Dutch “pannenkoeken” are the same as the American ones – in fact, they are much thinner and larger than the ones you’d make at home, but also not comparable to the French crêpes, as they are just a tiny bit thicker. It really is a treat to get a few of them with some powdered sugar, jam, or even bacon and cheese, if you like it heartier. I, for one, like the hearty ones with bacon, cheese, and even an egg.


For a small snack, I also love the so-called “Jodenkoeken”, famous shortbread cookies sold in a tin can are great. You get them pretty much anywhere and they are best for on the way food and for the urgent need for food which just seems to surprise you ever-so-often.

Boat and canal in Amsterdam
Boat and canal in Amsterdam

Maybe you have guessed what I am getting at already – grab a basket, grab a blanket and all of the above, maybe add some nice, refreshing drinks and have a picnic! For example, it is fantastic to get some bread with the fish and make tiny snacks out of it. And here comes the twist to the whole picnic thing: get a boat! Get on a boat and ride along the canals with your picnic! It is the best to enjoy a meal, especially on a sunny day, while floating on a boat! I mean if this is not inviting enough, I don’t know what would.

For me, food is one of the things I love most about Amsterdam, and there is an endless choice of bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, etc. to go to. I am more of a snacker, so my final suggestion for a trip to Amsterdam is the Upstairs Pancake House. It’s a dream for pancake lovers!

About the Author:

Flavio is a avid traveler whom has lived in many countries including France, England, Finland, Brazil and currently resides in the small town of Kreuzlingen on lake Bodensee.

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