• Rachel Shoemaker

Amsterdam's Best Bites

Having just returned from spending time in and around Amsterdam, I feel as though I have to share some of the good eats to be had in and around town. One thing that you might find surprising is that some of the very best food in Amsterdam is...Indonesian? That's right! Indonesia was a Dutch colony so their food is now everywhere in Amsterdam. The Dutch have, however, put their own spin on Indonesian food and as such Amsterdam is home to a unique type of Indonesian food which of course, we just had to try! Check out our list of the 9 best foods to try while in town!

Haring might seem unusual at first glance but I can assure you it is delicious! This pickled herring is a favorite of the Dutch and they eat quite a lot of it. You will find stands all over the city that sell nothing else! It usually comes with chopped onions and pickles or gherkins. If you're feeling a bit nervous ask for your herring in a sandwich called broodje haring. (Pro tip: The very best herring is caught between May and July so if you are visiting in the summer you just HAVE to try it!)

Bitterballen is another classic Dutch snack. You can order a little plate of these at every café and bar in town. Crunchy on the outside, soft (and piping hot!) on the inside, bitterballen traditionally come with a side of mustard. The soft interior is a mixture of beef, beef broth, and spices. If you're smart, you will cut these open and let them cool. If you're like me, you will forget and just eat the whole thing so make sure to have a cold drink at hand!

Patat or as you might call them - fries - are enormously popular. There are vendors all over the city who will make them fresh for you! Part of what makes these fries so unusual is the different sauces. Please don't get them with ketchup! Instead try it with mayonnaise, the local favorite, or one of the many other popular toppings from curry to peanut sauce or even chopped onions.

Poffertjes are pretty much mini pancakes and the Dutch are obsessed. You find them everywhere and they are so good! Topped with the typical butter and powdered sugar or even some Nutella, you really can't go wrong with these. Always make sure you get them from a vendor who makes them fresh like in the picture below! Definitely the best way to enjoy them!

Kibbeling we stumbled upon pretty much by accident in the charming fishing village called Hoorn, not far outside the city. We walked past a fish stand and everyone outside was eating big plates of fried fish that looked and smelled simply wonderful. We poked our heads inside the shop and they had a huge menu on the wall that fortunately had pictures! So we pointed at the dish that most closely resembled what everyone was eating outside and the dish was called kibbeling. It. was. SO. GOOD. After doing a little research later, however, we discovered that kibbeling isn't a type of fish as much as it is a dish made with whatever fish is on hand. So my top tip? Go to a good place to get kibbeling - you certainly don't want to eat 'whatever fish is on hand' at any place other than somewhere that has a line of locals out the door!

Pannenkoeken are...pancakes! The Dutch love them just as much as the mini poffertjes. They are larger and thinner than American pancakes and you really will find pancake restaurants all around town! Try to avoid the touristy spots though and head away from the ones immediately around Dam Square. Make sure you try them with the local Dutch Syrup - much thicker and darker than maple syrup. You will also see that the locals like theirs with lots of toppings - so give something new a try! I know you will love it.

Stroopwafels might be one of my favorite things to snack on in the Netherlands! These round wafers with a sweet filling are completely addicting! You will find these often served with a coffee and the locals let theirs sit on top of the coffee cup for a minute to warm them up. Nothing like the scent of caramel or cinnamon to get your morning started! You will also see that there are specialty stroopwafel bakeries around town but I have to say that some of my favorite come from the local grocery!

Rijsttafel (aka rice table) is enormously popular with locals and tourists alike. Make sure you set aside a night for rijstttafel when you are REALLY hungry because even a small rice table is a feast! Usually these come with a few large bowls of different kinds of rice, and anywhere from 10 to 25 (or more)mini dishes! It is pretty much a thorough overview of the best in Indonesian cooking. There is no set list of dishes that you will receive - it is all down to the chef's own interpretation of what should be included. All I have to say is that it is really, really good and definitely worth a try!

So are you getting hungry? Ready to take your own trip to Amsterdam? I would love to help! Call (610) 880-7381 or email today to get started!

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