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8 Things to Eat and Drink While in Amsterdam

If you are taking a trip to the Netherlands, chances are you will be visiting Amsterdam. It is the most visited city in the Netherlands for several reasons – one being the incredible food. There are so many great foods to try in Amsterdam to please any palate. In fact, in addition to Dutch food, you will find more international cuisine in Amsterdam because it is truly a melting pot of cultures. From the famous raw herring to international rijsttafel and to die for stroopwafels – there is a variety of food to try in Amsterdam that you cannot miss!

Furthermore, here is our list of things to eat, drink and try in Amsterdam!

 

Foodhallen

One place you cannot miss during your trip to Amsterdam is Foodhallen. It is an indoor food market that blew us away! Since there is so much food to try in Amsterdam, Foodhallen is almost your one stop shop. This indoor food market has around 20 respected street food vendors and kitchens stationed along the walls. In the center of the market is a full bar and seating is found sporadically throughout the building.

The restaurants serve almost anything you could think of: burgers, seafood, fancy hot dogs, sushi burritos, wood-fired pizzas, Greek meze, Vietnamese street food, bitterballen, pastries, frozen yogurt and more. It literally had something for everyone! So as briefly stated, you can find your international and dutch food in Amsterdam all under one roof.

Since Foodhallen is more like street food than a sit down restaurant, the portions are small, giving you a chance to enjoy more than one cuisine or restaurant. We loved this type of dining style as we wanted to be able to eat as much Dutch food in Amsterdam as possible. We had sushi burritos, hot dogs, bitterballen and beer. Everything was absolutely delicious!

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel translates to “rice table” in Dutch and though it is international cuisine, it’s a Dutch food in Amsterdam that you cannot miss. So what is rijsttafel? It is an elaborate meal which consists of many dishes served in small portions accompanied by rice – hence “rice table”. A typical rice table will include different textures, flavors and colors so guests will enjoy an array of different dishes in one sitting. With the exception of Foodhallen, this is the best way to find a lot of food to try in Amsterdam.

Popular dishes include: babi kecap (pork belly braised in sweet soy sauce), krupuk (shrimp crackers), lumpia (spring rolls), nasi kuning (Indonesian yellow rice), satay (thinly sliced meats), sayur lodeh (vegetable stew in coconut milk), opor ayam (chicken coconut curry), and more. As we said before and learned, rijsttafel is very popular and you can easily find it in Amsterdam.

We went to one of the best Indonesian restaurants, Blauw. To say we ate a lot would be an understatement. We had so much to eat that evening we cannot even remember everything we had, but some dishes that stood out to us that we do remember are: the spring rolls, shrimp crackers, vegetable stew, chicken coconut curry, and pork satay. It was all amazing and a great dining experience. Again, this dining experience is definitely a “food” to try in Amsterdam.

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picture credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/413979390723998879/

Brouwerij’t IJ

Honestly, skip the Heineken beer and facility and head over to Brouwerij’t IJ. It is one of many amazing craft breweries in Amsterdam. Brouwerij’t IJ is one of Amsterdam’s most famous independent breweries because of its well known beer. It also helps that they sit next to the De Gooyer windmill, the tallest windmill in Amsterdam.

We recommend you grab some of their craft beers, order their grilled sausage with mustard and find a seat on the patio with the city’s largest windmill as your view.  Or if it starts to rain on you, (like it did with us), grab a seat inside, it has a great vibe with empty beer bottles placed over the bar top and along the walls.

Bitterballen

Bitterballen is a popular food to try in Amsterdam. They are crispy, bite sized beef croquettes served hot with a side of mustard and are a favorite Dutch food in Amsterdam. The consistency of bitterballen is a soft meat ragout with a crispy deep fried bread crumb exterior. The best bitterballen in the city is at De Ballen Bar located inside the Foodhallen, but can also be found in the street at their food truck.

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In our bitterballen tasting we had some unique flavors such as: rund (traditional meat), thom-kha-kai (Thai coconut chicken), bouillabaise (fish stew), geitenkaas (goat cheese) and truffel (truffle). They were all delicious, but the truffle and goat cheese were our favorite.

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Stroopwafels

Stroopwafels are the number one food to try in Amsterdam!!! They were one of our favorite things we ate during our entire trip to Europe. We loved them so much we bought some in Amsterdam to take home with us and it did not take long for us to devour them once we were back in the states. A stroopwafel is essentially a waffle sliced very thin into two pieces and then sandwiched together between a sweet caramel syrup. The result is heavenly.

Stroopwafels can be purchased at stores packaged together, but nothing beats fresh stroopwafels. You can find fresh stroopwafels near the flower market at De Goudse Wafelbakker. Stroopwafels are not only better fresh, but it is also fun to watch the chef prepare the stroopwafels in front of you!

Watching him slice the already thin waffle into two thinner pieces was incredible. Then we watched him spread the luscious caramel in between them and we about fainted. Seriously these are to die for and hands down our favorite Dutch food in Amsterdam. Please buy one and see for yourself.

Pannekoek

Pannekoek or Dutch pancake is another great food to try in Amsterdam. They are simply the best pancakes in the entire world! A traditional Dutch pancake is not to be confused with a Dutch baby pancake. A traditional Dutch pancake is a large, but thin pancake (not as thin as crepes) with the option of apples, bacon, cheese or a combination of them incorporated in the batter.

Today, people can find more renditions of the pannekoek in both sweet and savory forms. The flavor possibilities are endless leading to some very creative pancakes. We enjoyed our pancakes at Pancakes! Amsterdam and regardless of it being a small restaurant, it is a very popular one and for a good reason!

Though Dutch pancakes are much thinner than ones we eat in the United States they had so much flavor and satisfied our stomachs rather than upsetting them because we ate too much. The combination of apple and bacon within the pancakes were incredible, a balance of sweet and salty. We did not even need to pour syrup on our pancakes they were naturally delicious on their own. You may have to wait awhile, but trust us it is totally worth the wait to eat at Pancakes! Amsterdam!

Poffertjes

Poffertjes are small, fluffy pancakes of joy covered in butter and powdered sugar! They are a popular treat in the Netherlands and we enjoyed them at Pancakes! Amsterdam. They are soft, spongy and sweet pancakes that are perfect alongside a cup of coffee. Though we recommend getting your poffertjes at Pancakes! Amsterdam we are sure you can find them at any pancake restaurant in Amsterdam.

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Raw Herring

Ahh raw herring, the ultimate Dutch food in Amsterdam that you must include in your Netherlands itinerary! Yes, we took the plunge and ate raw herring as we were told this is the one food to try in Amsterdam. We tried it on our last day, so we wouldn’t ruin our appetite in the beginning of our trip. Turns out, raw herring is not bad at all.

Raw herring is a very popular delicacy in Amsterdam. In fact, the Dutch have been enjoying raw herring for the last 600 years! Raw herring is technically not raw, it is soused, meaning it is laid in salt for a couple of days to ripen. It is said that it is best eaten by holding it by the tail and eating it upside down. However, when you order raw herring you will generally find it cut into pieces served with onions and pickles – this is how we ate ours. Eating raw herring was more about conquering our mind because let’s face it, this is something a lot of cultures (*cough* Americans), are not used to seeing or eating. Nevertheless, it is one food you must try in Amsterdam.

It took a lot of will to get us over the mind and take our first bite. Surprisingly, it was not bad. If you enjoy sushi, this is not that far off. The raw herring is actually a bigger fish than we imagined and pretty meaty. It had a soft texture, but also had quite the bite to it. It was not bad on its own, but with the pickles and onions it was actually pretty good! Take the leap and try one for yourself. It is unqustionably a Dutch food in Amsterdam you should try before you leave.

Raw herring can be found in fish stands by the canals.

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Which Dutch food in Amsterdam has your mouth watering from this list? Have you had any of these Dutch foods or beer before? Are you ready to find these food to try in Amsterdam? We want to know!

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23 COMMENTS

  • ourboomerblog

    Your article made us each gain 5 lbs. just reading. The food looks so delicious, and you describe stroopwafles perfectly. Your visit looks like a foodies dream come true. Great piece.

    • OurSweetAdventures

      Haha our next post about biking in Amsterdam might help you lose that 5 lbs. Thank you for your kind words!

  • Recovering Hippie

    I’ve never thought of Amsterdam as a culinary city, but this post has wet my appetite to visit. The Poffertjes actually made my mouth water!! Yum!

  • The ‘rice table’ looks AMAzing!!! Love Indonesian food I’d almost certainly stick to the intl stuff in Amsterdam as their local traditions aren’t as much up my alley food-wise but always good to try a few of those too. I can do the Dutch cheese for sure…:)

    • OurSweetAdventures

      The rice table really was amazing. We were excited to learn that our new hometown, Washington D.C. had a rice table restaurant…only to find it closed 🙁 We love cheese, but ran out of time to enjoy some authentic Dutch cheese. We plan to go back so we will have it next time!

  • Tracy (lifeofkuhl)

    What an interesting array of foods. The Pannekoek looks amazing…anything with Bacon right?! I think local FOOD IS ONE OF MY MOST FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT TRAVEL. THANKS FOR SHARING. OPPS CAP LOOKS LOL I got a little excited looking at all the pictures 🙂

    • OurSweetAdventures

      Haha we love the excitement! Local foods is one of our favorite things about traveling too. We enjoy sharing what we eat during our travels with our readers such as yourself! Thank you for reading 🙂

  • Ariane

    Yummy article! I loved the Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam! Absolute fabulous cuisine!

  • Carola

    Never been to Amsterdam. But dang! – They can do much more than fritten, can’t they 🙂

  • Lydia@LifeUntraveled

    I would head straight to the Foodhallen where I could pick and choose from all the wonderful variety of foods! Not sure I would try the raw herring but like you said sushi is also raw fish and I do like it so maybe I would be surprised.

    • OurSweetAdventures

      I think you will find yourself surprised like we were. I think we would head straight to the Foodhallen the next time we visit too. It was awesome!

  • 8duffels2mutts

    I definitely expected the herring to be tiny little fish…like I have seen pickled and jarred. It is so interesting how our culture influences even our visual expectations. Same thing happened to us here in Ecuador when we tried Sardines…they were NOT tiny little fish in a can at all! And not nearly as gross as imagined. Happy Eating!!

    • OurSweetAdventures

      Really? I believe its because other countries receive their food so fresh and always locally sourced. They also probably do not put chemicals in their food. I really miss eating abroad. We will be sure to try sardines if we ever make it to Ecuador!

      • 8duffels2mutts

        I think it’s most popular in the coastal regions, we were surprised to know that there are so many different ways for it to be made. We even went to a Sardine Festival! Fun Stuff 🙂

  • travelscoutadventure

    Mmm… delicious all of it! I’m going to save this for sure. You had me at foodhallen. Not sure how I feel about herring but Ill give it a go once!!

  • ellisveen

    Don’t forget to try pea soup too, or erwtensoep. And I know this is difficult to find in a restaurant in Amsterdam, but Hollands national dish is stamppot. basically just vegetables mashed together with potatoes and meat. i know this does not sound very exciting, but some are absolutely delicious. And if you like bitterballen, you will like a kroket as well. You can find them in any snackbar.

    • OurSweetAdventures

      Aww this is great info! We want to go back to the Netherlands for Tulip Season one year so we will keep these foods in mind for next time. Thank you so much for the helpful tips. We sure love food 🙂

  • Alexandra Wrigley

    I’ve visited Amsterdam 5 times and can’t believe I’ve not tried them! Really want to try stroopwaffels. Man I feel cheated, I’m going to have to go back. What was your favourite food out of them all?

  • oursweetadventures
    AUTHOR

    You will definitely need to go back because the stroopwafels are AMAZING!!! Those are are favorite but the pancakes are also fantastic.

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