Dutch food bucket list – 30 Foods you must try in the Netherlands
As you know I am Dutch and love to travel, but I am also a food lover! When I travel, I like to try new, local, and traditional dishes. I can imagine you, traveling to the Netherlands, trying your first haring or licorice candies… But do you know other Dutch foods that you must try in the Netherlands? As your local specialist, I am going to provide you with a Dutch food bucket list with more than 30 foods from the Netherlands that you should try when you visit our beautiful country! Enjoy!
For breakfast, we usually eat bread with something on top or yoghurt with muesli. There are several other things you can eat for breakfast;
Ontbijtkoek – Spiced cake
Another thing we sometimes eat for breakfast is ‘ontbijtkoek’. This is a spiced cake with cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and rye (which colors the cake light brown). I always put something on top of a slice, because otherwise I don’t like it. You can put a thick layer of butter on top (with a slice of cheese).. Hmm delicious!
Beschuit met muisjes – Biscuit rusk with sweet aniseeds
‘Muisjes’ are a traditional Dutch sandwich topping and are made of aniseeds with a sugared and colored outer layer. You can put them on your bread, but they also taste very well on a piece of ‘beschuit’ (biscuit rusk). They are either blue- or pinked- colored and we have the tradition to serve ‘beschuit met muisjes’ at the arrival of a baby. Pink ‘muisjes’ for girls, and the blue ones for the boys.
Usually we eat sandwiches or a salad as lunch, so a cold dish! Here are some things you can put on your bread or other foods you can eat for lunch;
Pindakaas met hagelslag – peanut butter with hagelslag
Peanut butter is a common thing, but ‘hagelslag’ is a bit rarer. ‘Hagelslag’ are chocolate sprinkles. You can get them in different kinds like, only pure- / milk- / white chocolate, or small / medium / big sprinkles or a mixture of these options. I personally like the mixture of white- and milk chocolate, medium sized haha.. First, you put some peanut butter on your bread and then you add some chocolate sprinkles on top of it. Also nice option for lunch.
Ossenworst – raw beef sausage
Cured meats are also an important aspect of traditional Dutch food culture. You can for example try ‘ossenworst’, a raw beef sausage. It is nice on bread, with some salt and pepper on top.
Filet Americain – Sandwich spread
This is a sandwich spread consisting of beef, seasonings, capers, onions, and some mayo and mustard that bind it all together…. You can put it on your bread with some chopped raw onions and egg on it.
Kaas – cheese
Dutch cheeses are famous around the world. We have many kinds and you can buy it everywhere! We have special cheese shops, but you can also buy many different kinds at a random supermarket. I can recommend you try ‘Edam’ cheese or ‘Gouda’ cheese, these are quite famous types. Dutch often eat a sandwich with cheese.
Appelstroop – Apple butter
Dutch love apples! ‘Appelstroop’ is a highly-concentrated form of apple sauce produced by cooking of apples with cider or water to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown. If you like sweet things, you can try this on your bread!
Rookworst – Smoked sausage
‘Rookworst’ is made of ground meat mixed with spices and salt. It is often served with ‘stamppot’ or you can buy it on a bun in a shop. The Dutch shop ‘Hema’ is famous for their own typical ‘rookworst’. You can buy it with a nice warm bun. You can also find the rookworsten in supermarkets and heat it at home. The ‘rookworsten’ of the brand ‘UNOX’ are really good.
Haring – Salted raw fish served with chopped onions
Have some fish for lunch! Tip your head back, grab the fish by the tail and bite upwards! Completely unglamorous, but definitely fun! Herring is available all year round, but the main season is between May and July. You can also eat herring in a bun (‘broodje haring’) or on bread made from rye. I personally like this better than only eating the fish.
Uitsmijter – Fried eggs
This is a dish with eggs. You can order it for lunch in a restaurant. It usually consists of two or three slices of bread, covered with ham and fried eggs.
Erwtensoep (of Snert) – Pea soup
In winter, we sometimes eat this soup for lunch or dinner. It is a heavy pea soup made from dried peas. The traditional one has pieces of rookworst in it. Sometimes there are vegetarian options as well, so don’t mind to ask. We usually serve it with rye bread and bacon. You can also buy the erwtensoep in the supermarket. Try to look for the erwtensoep of the brand Unox.
For dinner, we usually eat something like potatoes with vegetables and a piece of meat, but also ‘international’ dishes like a pasta, pizza, rice with something, or a vegetarian dish. We have quite a mixed cuisine, but do not use many spices. It is very unlikely that you will find a spicy Dutch dish.
Stamppot – Kind of stew
This is really a typical Dutch dish! It is a kind of stew with mashed potatoes and cabbage like; kale, sauerkraut, or endive. It is usually served with a juicy ‘rookworst’ (a smoked sausage) and some gravy. We usually eat ‘stamppot’ in winter.
Poffertjes – Mini pancakes
This is a popular meal in the Netherlands. ‘Poffertjes’ are like mini pancakes. It is a sweet pastry dish which mostly is eaten with powdered sugar. If you are a fan of pancakes, you should definitely try ‘poffertjes’ when you are visiting the Netherlands!
Kibbeling – Deep fried white fish
This white fish is battered and deep fried. It is delicious and usually served with a mayonnaise herb sauce and lemon. I sometimes eat it for dinner.
Patatje oorlog – French fries with hot peanut sauce and mayonnaise
We eat a lot of ‘french’ fries, also called ‘patat’, ‘friet’ or ‘frietjes’, and you can add a lot of different toppings on it, such as mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, curry or peanut sauce. A famous combination of toppings is: mayonnaise and peanut sauce, and is called a ‘patatje oorlog’ in Dutch. This literally translates to ‘fries war’. It is tasty, but it does not look that way. Another famous choice is; mayonnaise, curry, and raw chopped onions. We call this ‘patatje speciaal’, which is literally called ‘fries special’.
Kroket – Croquette
This one you can also order at the snack bar! It is a savoury meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef, but you can also order it with a mixture of pork, peanut sauce, vegetable, potato or shrimps. You can also buy these at the supermarket (freezer compartment).
Frikandel speciaal – Meat sausage ‘special’
You should order this with your ‘patatje oorlog’! It is a long, thin, skinless, meat sausage. I usually order a ‘frikandel speciaal’, which is served with curry ketchup, mayonnaise, and chopped raw onions. You eat this sausage warm.
Pannenkoeken – Pancakes
‘Pannenkoeken’ are quite common around the world, but we have restaurants that are fully specialized in preparing the most delicious pancakes you will ever taste. Here in the Netherlands, we eat them for dinner and they are slightly bigger and thicker than in other countries. You can order sweet pancakes, but also pancakes with fruits, vegetables, meat, or fish. On the photo below you see a Dutch pancake with bacon and syrup.
Appeltaart – Apple pie
We eat it on birthdays, as a dessert or on a random day with your family. You can order ‘appeltaart’ almost every restaurant apple pie as a dessert, but also as a pie next to your coffee. At every place, the pie will taste different, because there are many family recipes still alive. I always bake apple pie with dough, apples, pineapple, and rosins.
Vla – custard-pudding
Many Dutch eat ‘vla’ as a dessert. It is a kind of custard-pudding, made of milk, eggs, and corn-starch. We have many kind of flavours, like chocolate, caramel, vanilla, or banana. You can buy it in cartons in a supermarket and eat it with some whipped cream on top. You can usually not order this in a restaurant.
Bitterballen – Deep fried croquette balls
Another typical Dutch dish! You can compare it with a croquette. It is a savory meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef or veal, beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper, resulting in a thick roux. We eat it a lot as a snack, combined with a glass of wine or beer.
Vlammetjes – Deep fried spicy beef
These are just like ‘bitterballen’, also deep fried. It is a spicy ground beef mixture, that is deep fried, and served with sweet chilli sauce.
Oliebollen – Deep fried sweet dumplings
This a typical traditional dish! Everybody is eating it when we celebrate New Year’s Eve. It are deep fried sweet dumplings dusted with powdered sugar.
Appelflappen – Apple fritters
For the ones who don’t like ‘oliebollen’, you can have an ‘appelflap’ during New Year’s Eve. They are usually baked in a triangular shape and consists of buttery flaked pastry, fresh apples, and sweet currants and raisins.
Amsterdamse uien – Pickled onions from Amsterdam
‘Amsterdamse uien’ are onions pickled with turmeric and saffron to give them the yellow color. You can eat them well with your ‘stamppot’.
‘Pepermunt’ candies are chalky mint candies typically in the shape of a large coin. The ingredients comprise of peppermint oil, sugar and binders.
Drop – hard licorice candies
Dutch people love ‘drop’. We have more than 80 typical kinds of licorice available to choose from; salty-, sweet-, or fruit- flavors or hard- or soft licorice. I personally like the soft and sweet licorice the most!
Speculaas – Dutch cookie
This a typical Dutch cookie prepared with ‘speculaaskruiden’, consisting of cinnamon, mace, cloves, ginger, pepper, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, and anise seeds. We eat a lot of ‘speculaas’ during ‘Sinterklaas’, a Dutch traditional celebration. We have many kinds and shapes of ‘speculaas’, for instance filled with almond paste or in the shape of a windmill.
Pepernoten – Dutch cookie
‘Pepernoten’ are Dutch cookie-like kind of confectionery. You can only buy them around December, because we eat them typically during ‘Sinterklaas’, a Dutch traditional celebration. There are many kinds. I personally love the once covered in white chocolate.
Tompoes – Dutch pastry
The ‘tompoes’ is a Dutch pastry usually served with coffee or tea at birthdays or at a national celebration day. It consists of two crispy layers of puff pastry filled with custard-like pastry cream and the top layer is topped with sweet pink icing. On our king’s birthday, everything in the Netherlands is orange, and so is the sweet icing.
Chocoladeletters – Chocolate
The ‘chocoladeletter’ is a Dutch candy made of chocolate in the form of a letter. It is only sold around the time of ‘Sinterklaas’, a Dutch traditional celebration. The ‘chocoladeletters’ are available for every letter and in many flavors, for instance; white, milk or dark chocolate.
Stroopwafels – Syrup waffles
This is our most famous pastry dish. It consists of two thin layers of baked dough that is filled with caramel syrup in the middle. You can eat them cold, but I like to put a ‘stroopwafel’ on a cup of coffee, so the heat of my coffee melts the syrup a bit! Hmm delicious! Nowadays, you can also buy the stroopwafels with different topics. How about a stroopwafel with chocolate, oreo, or nuts?!
What is your favorite Dutch food? Is anything missing from this list?