Experience Dutch gezelligheid—a spirit of conviviality, cosiness, and fun—through the gastronomic landscape of Netherlands’ capital,
a melting pot of cuisines from around the world.
By SHIKHA SHAH
Amsterdam may be renowned for its thriving nightlife, but its multicultural culinary scene deserves a standing ovation of its own. From vending machines packed with fresh, deep-fried Dutch snacks and market stands serving up delightful treats, to world cuisine served at beautiful canal-side bars and cafés, this vibrant city is a veritable dream come true for a foodie. Check out our picks of the top six, not-to-be-missed dishes and where to try them.
Originating in the 18th century in Gouda, a Dutch city, stroopwafels are chewy, caramel-oozing, wafer-thin discs with a distinct checked pattern. The traditional way to eat this sweet delight is to place it on top of a cup of steaming hot coffee, tea, or chocolate. As the waffle heats up, the syrup within melts, making the disc soft on one side and slightly crispy on the other. Yum! A stroll through Albert Cuypmarkt, in the hip De Pijp neighbourhood, unleashes the delicious aroma of these goodies, wafting through the air like a treat from the heavens.
Try it at: The famed Rudi’s Original Stroopwafels. Don’t miss their cinnamon-spiced waffles, perfect with freshly brewed black coffee.
A Dutch version of the classic French croquette, this crispy goodie is made of meat ragout (stew), seafood, cheese, and vegetables—all mashed, rolled, covered in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried until golden brown. Hugely popular, it’s found on the menus of several restaurants and snack bars in Amsterdam. Even McDonald’s has its own version—the McKroket! Kroket tastes best when paired with bread, mustard, pickled onions, and chilled beer.
Try it at: FEBO, a fast-food chain popular for its vending machines serving fresh kroket. No piece is older than 20 minutes!
A by-product of the Dutch colonisation of Indonesia, rijsttafel is two words—rijst (rice) and tafel (table)—stitched together. Essentially,
it’s a feast comprising assorted small plates—from eight to 40—offering authentically Indonesian and flavourful meat preparations, vegetables, satay, spicy sambals, pickled dishes, tempeh, and steamed white rice. The concept of rijsttafel was invented by Dutch colonists to show off the culinary wealth of their colonial empire. Be sure to show up hungry for this one!
Try it at: Toko Ramee, one of the oldest tokos (Indonesian eatery) in the city, or Sari Citra—both are on Ferdinand Bolstraat Street.
THE FAMOUS VAN STAPELE COOKIE
Crumbly, warm, and gooey, this popular cookie is made of dark chocolate dough with a delicious white chocolate filling. Crisp
on the outside, with a soft centre, the melt-in- your-mouth cookie
was born in 2013 in the kitchen of Vera van Stapele, who later
opened a cosy cookie shop to share her invention with the world. Today, there is no dearth of people queuing up outside her shop
for what is arguably the ‘best cookie in the city’!
Try it at: Van Stapele Koekmakerij, located down a little cobbled
alley off Spui Square.
This speciality fish is a signature snack among the Dutch and an acquired taste for the rest. It’s not uncommon to see tourists holding their noses as they walk past a haringkar (roadside herring cart). Traditionally, the fish is eaten by grabbing it by the tail, throwing one’s head back, and gently lowering it into the mouth. Today, it is often cut into bite-sized pieces, topped with diced onions, and sliced pickles, and served on a paper plate.
Try it at: Volendammer Vishandel J.C.M. Koning.
This delectable treat, known as ‘war fries’, are hand-cut chips, partly cooked before a second deep-fry gives them a golden colour and crisp texture—a tourist’s perfect companion during sightseeing jaunts! The fries come with an array of toppings: mayonnaise, peanut satay sauce, ketchup, and more. Why are they called ‘war fries’? Because their chaotic look resembles a battlefield with different flavours at war with one another!
Try it at: Sonny Falafel in the De Pijp district. Their Bombay Special sauce is a must-try!
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