What to eat in the Netherlands?
Updated: May 30, 2022
Did you know Dutch people invented a variety of meals and desserts, besides beers? Let us deconstruct your cliché about Dutch culture today. The Netherlands has many lekker culinary experiences to offer that can satisfy all tastes. From fried food, cheeses, fishes, to waffles and special pancakes, everything is filling and warm to face their cold winters.
Discover with us:
Almost every restaurant in the Netherlands is selling this very popular Dutch delight. After one or too many beers, it’s the best to savor and soak up these 8% beers. The traditional one is made from a meat ragout covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. But they have a collection of different fillings including “Goulash kroket” with a ragout of beef peppers and spices, or even “Kaaskroket” with cheese. It’s crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft inside.
Fun fact: the first version of kroket we know was invented in France by Louis XIV’s chef. Historians found the recipe in a 1705 cookbook called “Le cuisinier royal et bourgeois”.
Gouda is made with cow’s milk. Presented in the form of a small wheel, it reveals a fruity taste under its orange color. It can be enjoyed young or old.
We know you would expect the Gouda cheese to come from the city of Gouda, but it is not the case. It is just traditionally bought and sold in Gouda. Back in the Middle Ages when towns earned the right to trade certain things, Gouda was the city that had the right to trade cheese.
Not a big fan of meat and willing to try something different? The Dutch created a dish based on fresh and raw fish: Hollandse Nieuwe. It is soaked in mild preserving liquid which can be mild vinegar, cider, wine, or tea. It also includes sugar, onions, spices, and herbs. We can find it in haringhandels, herring carts around the cities. You can order a “broodje haring” to have yours served with a small sandwich, pickles, and onions.
The best time to try this specialty is around May and July when the herring is the sweetest.
Frikandel and chips
Frikandel is unique in the world. It’s a deep-fried sausage of beef, pork, and chicken. They mix the three types of meat with spices, nutmeg, onion powder, and seasoning. They are then boiled and fried to give them a delicious crispy exterior. It’s usually served on its own or in a sandwich called “broodje”. We advise you to eat it with the famous curry ketchup, mayonnaise, and raw onion.
Gerookte paling is a traditional fish dish. In the past, the smoked eel was a staple in the country. You can taste it served on a bun or as a cracker and consumed as a snack.
If you are looking for a cake filled with history and cultural mixes, it’s Spekkoek. Literally, it means “bacon cake” because of its structure made up of two-colored layers and reminds of bacon. This result is obtained by using two different colored pastes (one flavored with spices, the other not) alternately superimposed. Originating from Holland and Indonesia, this multi-layered cake was invented during the colonization. Be careful, it can be quite expensive, but you won’t regret it!
The must-have dessert you should try is stroopwafel. Two thin waffles stuck together with a layer of sweet syrup: a real treat. It’s buttery, crisp, and spiced with a hint of cinnamon. The syrup is usually caramel, but it could be chocolate, honey, or maple. Unlike Gouda cheese, stroopwafel was created in the city of Gouda. You can easily buy one at a street market or bakery. Why are you waiting to try?
Dutch mini pancakes topped with butter and powdered sugar. These fluffy pastries can be bought on a street corner stall or in pancake restaurants. They are particularly popular during holidays and festivals.
This Dutch New Year’s tradition is also known as Dutch Doughnuts. It’s deep-fried fluffy bread filled or not with raisins in the shape of balls. Made with simple ingredients such as flour, eggs, apple, milk, and yeast. It generally costs around 1 euro per piece.
How can we end this article about what to eat in the Netherlands, if we don’t mention what to drink with it?
On average, the Dutch drink 77 liters of beer per person per year. And around 95% of the beer consumed in the Netherlands can be described as pale lager, which is a light type of beer aged at low temperatures from 6 weeks to 6 months. The market is dominated by big brands such as Heineken, Amstel, Bavaria, and Grolsch.
Initially, jenever was used as a medication against the plague and other medieval diseases. It is a spirit drink made from juniper berries and grains.
Did you know that you can go to any bar and ask for a “headbutt”? The barman will serve you a glass of jenever and a glass of beer at the same time. You must chug the jenever and cool the burn in your throat with the beer. We warn you: this mix can get to your head easily!
We hope you enjoyed this article and that it didn’t make you too hungry!
Don't hesitate to like and share it! And if you are planning a trip there, you can also check our other articles like what to visit in Amsterdam, or what to visit in Maastricht.
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