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The thriving city of Amsterdam is a foodie's paradise, with a huge variety of quintessentially Dutch dishes on offer. If you're planning a trip to Amsterdam be sure to make a list of your must-try dishes to tick off as you explore this iconic European city.

What is traditional Dutch food?

Traditional Dutch cuisine is known for being relatively simple, rustic and hearty, and featuring high levels of carbohydrates and fats. The Netherlands is located in the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta where fertile land and seas have given rise to fishing and farming. Traditional Dutch meals comprise of plenty of vegetables, potatoes, pork, beef, dairy, herring and cod.

Since the 20th century, Dutch cuisine has been influenced by the country's colonisation of Indonesia and tastes have become more cosmopolitan. In major Dutch cities such as Amsterdam, you are likely to find a range of international cuisines and refined, modern takes on traditional dishes.

What foods are famous in Amsterdam?

There are several key dishes that are synonymous with Amsterdam that must be sampled during a visit to the city. To make sure you taste them all, consider booking a tabl. food tour to visit the city's best restaurants, food markets, and street vendors.

Classic Dutch main meals

Snert

Snert is a thick green stew that contains pork, split peas, celery, leeks and onions. It makes for a brilliant lunch dish on a cold day, and you can often find it served up by street vendors in winter.

Stamppot

This traditional, filling dish is perfect for a winter's night. Reminiscent of bubble and squeak, stamppot consists of mashed potatoes and various vegetables, with cabbage, kale, carrot and onion being most common. A sausage is usually served on the side.

Pancakes

Dutch pancakes are very similar to crepes. They're thin, a little crispy around the edges, and smothered with sweet or savoury toppings such as bacon, ham, cheese, fresh fruit, chocolate sauce, banana, and whipped cream.

Kibbeling

Kibbeling is battered and deep-fried chunks of white fish, usually cod, served with a herb and lemon mayonnaise-based sauce. You can find this dish in plenty of restaurants, but the best kibbeling is found freshly fried from food trucks and street market vendors.

Indonesian Rijsttafel

Indonesian cuisine has greatly influenced Amsterdam's food scene. The best way to experience Indish-Dutch is to order a rice table (rijsttafel) at an Indonesian restaurant where you'll be served a variety of small dishes to sample.

Popular Dutch Snacks

Ontbijtkoek

The direct translation of ontbijtkoek is 'breakfast cake', but this robust ginger loaf makes for a filling snack any time of day. Cut it into generous slices and slather with butter.

Vending machine Kroketen and Frikandellen

These two satisfying snacks can be found in FEBO hot vending machine stations which are dotted all over Amsterdam. Kroketten are crispy potato croquettes, and frikandellen are sausage-like meat snacks flavoured with allspice, onion and nutmeg.

Raw herring

You'll see herring carts (haringhandels) all over Amsterdam which serve up fresh raw herring with pickles and onions. May to July is the best season to eat it since the herring is beautifully sweet at this time of year.

Frites

You can get fries all over the world, but there's nothing quite like Dutch fries. They are thick cut and slathered with a combination of sauces and toppings. The two favourites are 'patatje oorlog' which has satay sauce, mayo and onions, and 'patat speciaal' which is topped with curried ketchup, mayo and onions.

Bitterballen

These deliciously crispy deep-fried meatballs are served with mustard for dipping. You'll commonly find them in pubs and bars to eat alongside a few beers.

Delicious Dutch desserts and sweets

Poffertjes

These miniature pancakes are made from a yeast-based batter and are usually served hot and slathered in butter and powdered sugar. You'll find them in pancake houses or from street vendors.

Liquorice

You can't go to the Netherlands without trying Dutch liquorice but be warned that it's an acquired taste. It has a very strong, salty flavour unlike any other liquorice in the world.

Oliebollen

These moreish deep-fried sweet dumplings can be found in Amsterdam around New Year's Eve. They're a lot like doughnuts; sometimes they contain pieces of fruit and they're always dusted in icing sugar for a sweet finish.

Appeltaart

Deep dish Dutch apple pie is jam-packed with hearty chunks of fruit and has a deliciously crumbly crust that is totally unlike your typical American or British apple pie. You'll find appeltaart all over Amsterdam, often served with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Stroopwafel

This is a pair of thin, crispy waffles stuck together with a sweet, cinnamon-flavoured caramel filling. They're the perfect snack to have with a cup of tea or coffee, and the traditional way to eat them is to place one over the top of your hot drink for a couple of minutes to let the caramel soften and become gooey before you dig in.

What alcohol do Dutch people drink?

The Netherlands is known for its beer, with the three biggest breweries being Heineken, Bavaria and Grolsch. However, beer enthusiasts should be sure to check out the city's community of small, independent breweries which are producing a delicious variety of lagers, white beer and ales. The best way to find them is to book a drink experience or pub tour of Amsterdam, where you'll be shown around the city's best bars and distilleries.

Jenever is also an essential drink to try when you visit Amsterdam. This is a spirit flavoured with juniper berries which is frequently compared to gin. Although the two drinks are distinctly different in terms of ingredients and distillation. A great way to learn about jenever is to visit a distillery and see how it's made first-hand.

Going Dutch in Amsterdam

If you're thinking of going Dutch in the Netherlands, book your food and drink tours in Amsterdam with tabl.com. Where you'll find a range of food experiences, wine and distillery tours, pub crawls and much more besides.

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