Wondering what to eat in Amsterdam? In this article, we cover typical Dutch food in the capital of this interesting country. Generally speaking, the Dutch gastronomy is far from exciting unless you head over to the Michelin Star restaurants. During the winter, when temperatures drop towards zero degrees Celsius, the Dutch tend to eat much heavier, while during the summer, many families stuff their fridges with meat and enjoy a barbecue accompanied by an ice-cold craft beer. But cities like Amsterdam have more to offer than traditional food as countless different cultures came to the city along with their grandmothers’ recipes. In Amsterdam, you can find basically every gastronomy in the world. But that’s not what this article is about. This article is about what to eat in Amsterdam that you can’t find in other countries. 

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The best food in Amsterdam is:

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1. Stroopwafel


In this article about what to eat in Amsterdam, you will notice that the Dutch have some weird foods that not everyone is fond of. But there are delicious, popular treats that people all over the world simply love. One of these typical Dutch foods is the so-called Stroopwafel, which is a tin, pressed waffle with caramel filling in between. When flying KLM, a Dutch airline, you’ll always get treated with this type of cookie and when you’re living abroad and visiting the Netherlands, your Dutch colleagues will always ask you to bring this cookie back for them. You can find them in every supermarket, but these are not made freshly. For that, you must go to a specialist. One of the most famous ones can be found at the Albert Cuyp Market, a typical market where the people from Amsterdam get their fresh ingredients. But at this famous market, you can find all sorts of typical Dutch food as well as vendors that sell authentic and homemade specialities such as a huge variety of cheeses. What to so unique about the Stroopwafel vendor is that they serve huge Stroopwafels. Make sure to let the waffles cool down first before starting digging in as the caramel inside the waffle can be dangerously hot. The name of the vendor is Rudi's Original Stroopwafels Albert Cuyp Markt and a freshly baked, gigantic-sized waffle goes costs you EUR 5,00. The smaller ones, either original or dipped in chocolate sauce go for EUR 2,50 per piece. 
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What to eat in Amsterdam - Stroopwafel
 
What to eat in Amsterdam - Stroopwafel
 
What to eat in Amsterdam - Stroopwafel
The somewhat famous Stroopwafel at the Albert Cuyp Market. 

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2. Dutch Cheese


Dutch and cheese are two words that are simply inseparable. For centuries, the Dutch perfected their cheese-making skills and all over the world, the Gouda cheese is famously known. This young cheese is buttery and easy to get used to, even for those who are not common with eating cheeses. But it’s the older cheeses that are actually the more unique ones and worth trying in Amsterdam. Old cheese has a much stronger taste and not everyone who will visit Amsterdam will like old cheese. When you’re walking through the city, you will see many different cheese stores that sell an incredibly impressive variety of cheeses. From smoked cheeses to herby cheeses, there are so many unique flavours to discover and we encourage you to try the unusual ones as well. But when it comes to cheese in Amsterdam, there is one typical cheese that you should definitely try and that is Old Amsterdam. There are three stores in the city where you can buy all sorts of cheeses from this brand, but they also offer a cheese tasting with optional wine tasting as well. More information about that can be found on the official website of Old Amsterdam. Another great store with multiple branches in the city but also elsewhere in the country is Cheese & More by Henri Willig. Both of them sell their cheeses online, which can be useful if you want to send some cheese to your home country.
 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Cheese

What to eat in Amsterdam - Cheese

What to eat in Amsterdam - Cheese
The colourful collection of cheeses at Henri Willig.

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3. Bitterballen


The Dutch love to eat deep-fried snacks, especially when having a drink with friends and family, and the deep-frier often gets turned and one of the top choices for deep-fry is called Bitterballen. When you translate this Dutch word to the English language, you’ll notice that it’s called a so-called Bitter Balls. This might be confusing as Bitterballen itself, are far from bitter. The bitter refers to the alcoholic beverage you’re drinking as these deep-fried balls are savoury. The filling inside the breaded balls is usually made from beef, however, there are other popular variations to be found as well such as with Gouda Cheese and prawns. A regular-sized portion comes with six balls accompanied by sauces. Typically, you dip the balls into some spicy mustard. Bitterballen is a typical Dutch snack that the majority of tourists simply love. It’s savoury and is made from common ingredients. Whenever you go to a (local) bar in Amsterdam, they have this hearty dish on the menu. But if you go to a regular fries shop, they usually sell them as a snack as well which can be combined with typical Dutch fries. For both unusual and authentic Bitterballen, check out Bar Bitterbal as they serve some tasty creations!
 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Bitterbal

What to eat in Amsterdam - Bitterbal
A large variety of Bitterballen is available at Bar Bitterbal in Amsterdam.

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4. Pannenkoeken


Dutch pancakes, which are called Pannenkoeken, a much thinner than American pancakes, but still thicker than French crepes. With an abundance of milk, butter and flour thanks to the excellent farmland in the Netherlands, the Dutch love to eat products made from these ingredients. Typically, the Dutch eat bread twice a day, something most foreigners cannot wrap their heads around. And every now and then, a savoury or a sweet pancake is a warm welcome to their somewhat monotone diet. Throughout the country, even in smaller towns, you can find so-called pancake houses where they serve a variety of traditional pancakes. For a hearty tone, the pancakes are topped with bacon and mushroom while for the sweet teeth among us, strawberries or chocolate are all-time favourites. In Amsterdam, you can find several pancake specialists where you can enjoy a traditional Dutch pancake.
 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Pancakes
Two typical, hearty Dutch pancakes: Apple with Bacon and Mushroom with Cheese.

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5. Haring


As mentioned earlier, the Dutch have quite some weird foods that they love to eat. One of them is Haring, which is Dutch for herring. During the herring season, you can get this raw, fatty fish at every fish seller in the country. The typical way of eating herring is simply to dip it into a finely chopped raw onion. You hold the raw herring by its tail and you lift your head up and let the fish “glide” into your mouth. The briny, salty and fat fish is a true delicacy for the Dutch and for many tourists, this healthy snack is too adventurous. You can, however, order it on a sandwich, which makes it slightly less unusual. But if you’re a seafood lover and you want to try something unique and in my opinion, delicious, then eating a traditional herring with onions is the way to go. Throughout the city, you can find several food carts that sell herring. 

Note: eating raw fish might sound unhealthy, but by law, all the herring must be frozen first to kill potentially harmful bacteria and parasites. In combination with the strict regulation by Dutch food organizations, it’s considered perfectly safe to consume raw herring.

 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Haring
Haring is typically served with raw onion and a pickle. 
 
What to eat in Amsterdam - Herring
Dutch herring, cleaned and prepared, ready to eat.

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6. Stamppot


The Dutch gastronomy isn’t as exciting as other European cuisines. Yes, the quality of the ingredients are of excellent quality, however, the lack of herbs and spices being used in the daily diet of most Dutch people makes the food a bit dull. But some dishes are so classic that you must try them when you’re a food lover. Besides, with a good gravy, dishes can get plenty of flavours too. We cannot think of anything more Dutch than Stamppot. Stamppot is a mix of potatoes and one or several vegetables. The difference between Stamppot and Hutspot, both typical Dutch dishes, is that Stammpot is mixed and mushed, while Hutspot is mixed and tossed until both the potatoes and the vegetables are one mixture. By adding butter and often milk, the mixture of veggies and potatoes become more creamy. On top of the mixture goes a piece of tasty meat or smoked sausage accompanied by a deep-brown gravy. Commonly used vegetables for this dinner dish are endive, kale and carrot. Especially in the colder winter months, this somewhat heavy dish is a very warm welcome. One of the best places to get authentic Dutch food that serves Stamppot is the restaurant De Blauwe Hollander
 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Stamppot
What to eat in Amsterdam? Stamppot at de Blauwe Hollander.

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7. Aardbei & other handpicked fruits


The Netherlands is home to fantastic farmers and fruit growers. In fact, people all over the world visit the Netherlands to learn from these specialists how well they can grow crops on such a small land while delivering excellent quality cultivation. But even inside the city itself, you can find greenhouses and fruit gardens where visitors can pick their own fruits. The fruit is weighed and paired after picking, a kilogram of different fruits costs around EUR 10,00. Aside from this somewhat cool experience in Amsterdam, you can find Aardbeien (Strawberries) throughout the city in the form of ice cream, as toppings on your pancakes and in many desserts. Unfortunately, a strawberry specialist that serves all sorts of interesting strawberry dishes has closed its doors. The Fruittuin van West (‘Fruit Garden of West’) is your best bet if you want to pick your own fruits. Similar farms include Moestuinvereniging Proefeiland (‘Proefeiland Kitchen Garden Association’) and Stadsboerderij Osdorp (‘Osdorp Urban Farm’). For more of these farms, check out the article on IAmsterdam.com.

Note: these fruit gardens are only open during the harvesting season. 
 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Fruit
Handpicked fruits at a self-harvest farm.
 
What to eat in Amsterdam - Fruit
It's not only the handpicked fruits that are beautiful.

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8. Broodje Gehaktbal


A “Broodje Gehaktbal” is nothing else than a Dutch Meatball Sandwich. But, we must admit, the quality of this classic Dutch dish varies enormously. Traditionally, you eat the meatball, which is covered in a bit of gravy, on a Dutch white bun with a bit of butter. However, nowadays, you can find the less traditional versions of the meatball sandwich that has much more flavour. And for me personally, the sandwich is as important as the meatball itself and when you’re using artisanal bread instead of a simple white but you get more flavour to your sandwich. One of the best versions can be found at a delicacy shop called Koopman, located on the Elandsgracht right behind the Nine Streets. For a more traditional approach, visit one of the many lunchrooms in Amsterdam, for example, Lunchroom "Hannibal", which offers a huge variety of typical Dutch food. 
 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Broodje Bal
The classic version of Broodje Bal at Lunchroom "Hannibal"

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9. Kibbeling


For those whose taste buds didn’t get excited when we recommend Herring, there is a treat at every fish seller that makes every fish lover’s heart pumps faster. That dish is called Kibbeling, which is battered, deep-fried codfish. Keep in mind, always ask the vendor if the Kibbeling is made from codfish and not a cheaper replacement, something that often happens. Yes, you do pay the premium price but Kibbeling made of codfish is incredibly tasty. The cherry on the cake is the sauce, which is remoulade sauce, the Dutch version of the ravigotte sauce. Kibbeling is the ultimate street food and in the city centre, it’s pretty easy to find a food truck selling this tasty food that looks a bit like Fish and Chips without the chips. 
 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Kibbeling
What to eat in Amsterdam? Kibbeling!

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10. Kapsalon


This fast-food dish has a unique story. First of all, this dish is not from Amsterdam, even though some claim it to be. In fact, it originates from Rotterdam, the harbour city south of Amsterdam. There was a barber who, during the weekends, was incredibly busy helping the customers. Because he had limited time, he needed to eat something easy and fast. The neighbours of his owned a kebab shop. The barber asked during these busy days to come up with a dish that he typically liked: kebab with fries, topped with some cheese and lettuce. The kebab shop did not have this combination on their menu, so to make things easy for the staff, they called this dish a “kapsalon”, which means Hairdresser in Dutch. Whenever the staff of the kebab shop got this order, they knew exactly how to make it. Then, other customers from the kebab shop were curious about this combination as it smelled delicious. And after so many satisfying customers, the kebab shop placed the dish on the menu and the rest is history. Nowadays, you can order it even in Berlin and yes, it’s called a “kapsalon” as well.

So, why do we recommend this dish that actually originates from Rotterdam? Well, most tourists won’t visit Rotterdam, even though it’s worth the visit. Secondly, it’s such an iconic fast-food dish with such a unique background story. One of the best versions can be found at Eethuis Sinbad, however, it’s a bit outside the touristic centre of the city.
 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Kapsalon
Invented in Rotterdam, widely available in Amsterdam.


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11. Patatje (Oorlog)


Patat, or French Fries, do not originate from the Netherlands, however, it’s an incredibly popular snack. The Dutch often visit the local snack bar where these tasty fries are eaten with all sorts of snacks, including the earlier recommended bitterballen. The quality of the fries is identical to the ones you get in Belgium, but the difference is mainly in the mayonnaise. Yes, that’s right. Dutch people love to eat their fries with mayonnaise and while the Belgium version of mayonnaise is high in acidity, the Dutch mayonnaise is more neutral and mainly creamy. But there is one combination even the Belgians would say no to, and that is the so-called Patatje Oorlog. When translated, a Patatje Oorlog means French Fries War. That what you get on a plate actually looks like a war, or even like a disaster, but it sure is tasty. 

This is actually the main reason why it’s called “War”, it looks like a disaster. It has nothing to do with Dutch colonial history. Yes, the fries are served with a typical peanut sauce called Satay Sauce, which comes from Indonesia and Malaysia, but the reason why people called it a Patatje Oorlog was just because of the slang. Aside from peanut sauce, the fries are covered in mayonnaise and a finely chopped raw onion. In the southern parts of the Netherlands, they add typical Dutch curry sauce to it. If this all sounds too much for you, you can order the type of fries you want at every snack bar in the city just to enjoy how delicious Dutch fries are. Two impressive fries vendors we recommend you to visit inside Amsterdam’s centre are Fabel Friet and Heertje Friet. If you want to try typical Belgian fries, then try one of the following two fries specialists: Vlaams Friteshuis Vlemincks and Manneken Pis Damrak
 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Fries
 
What to eat in Amsterdam - Fries
 
What to eat in Amsterdam - Fries
Incredibly tasty fries at Fabel Friet with all sorts of toppings.

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12. Amsterdam’s tastiest cookie.


When wondering what to eat in Amsterdam, there are some unique restaurants and shops that are too good not to recommend. One of them is Van Stapele Koekmakerij, which is located in the popular area of The Nine Streets. This iconic area with that typical architecture from the Dutch Golden Age is home to many unique boutique shops and cool restaurants. One shop, Van Stapele, sells cookies. These cookies, made with Valrhona Chocolate, dark chocolate dough and white chocolate filling are so incredibly popular, that you always have to wait in line. There is even a maximum of how many cookies you can buy and the shop closes once they sold out their famous cookies. But, it’s all worth it. A single cookie costs EUR 2,00. One carton box of cookies costs you EUR 10,00 and you will get six cookies for it. But, they also sell a traditional tin cookie box, which is quite a souvenir! More information about that can be found on the official website of Van Stepele Koekmakerij.

 

What to eat in Amsterdam - Cookie
Amsterdam's tastiest cookie at Van Stepele.
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