A first-timers guide to quintessential Dutch foods to try in Amsterdam

Welcome to your first-timer’s guide to quintessential Dutch foods to try in Amsterdam. Why label it a first-timer’s guide? Well, I find that many blogs overwhelm you with options and when it’s your first time to the city and you’re visiting for a short time, you don’t need a million things to try. So, this is the post for you if it’s your first time in this amazing city and you want to know exactly which foods to try in Amsterdam.

Jessica with fries

There will soon be a local’s guide on food in Amsterdam which will dive a bit deeper into the city and the culture because this is definitely not all there is to Dutch food. This list is perfect to dip your toes into Dutch snacks and treats. Keep in mind, you may not love everything, but it’s worth a shot. So, if you’re nervous about something, share it with someone else!

Do you have a sweet tooth? Then you should definitely check out our sweet foods to try in Amsterdam post. It’s all the wonderful sweet treats I’ve found in the city with a bit of an international flair.

Now, on to the basics to learn which Dutch foods to try. Who’s excited?!



Street foods to try in Amsterdam

These are the foods that you’ll most likely find at the many markets in Amsterdam, but they’ll pop up at festivals, too. Since they are all so popular, there are plenty of shops to try them in as well. I have listed a few places where you can get these Dutch treats, and I’ll leave a Google Map at the bottom so you have easy access to the spots!
Herring

This might be the most stereotypical Dutch food you think of. Herring is fish and while you’ll often hear “raw herring” it’s usually soused herring. That means it’s been in a preserving liquid, so it’s not quite raw. Don’t get scared away! It does have a bit of a strong taste, but it’s not too bad. Be sure to add some onions and pickles to each bite if you’re new to the herring game. All of those flavors together are a power punch of awesomeness! The more you eat, the better it gets.

Where to find herring in Amsterdam

  • Frens Haringhandel, Koningsplein, 1017 BR Amsterdam
  • Stubbe’s Haring, Singel, 1013 GA Amsterdam

Check out our 3-day itinerary for Amsterdam (from us as locals!)


Fries in Amsterdam

Fries

My favorite! I’m a sucker for fries. That includes most all kinds of fries. But living in Amsterdam has ruined me! Now, I only truly love Flemish fries. Yep…the fries you find in Amsterdam are actually Belgian, from the Flanders region. These are double-fried, perfectly cut with a fluffy inside and crispy outside.

If you want to be really traditional, get oorlog fries or “war fries”. This topping consists of mayonnaise, satay sauce, and onions. I stick with just mayo around here. Only with sweet potato fries do I eat ketchup anymore (or if I’m in the US because the mayo there is yuck!).

Where to find fries in Amsterdam

  • Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx, Voetboogstraat 33, 1012 XK Amsterdam
  • Chipsy King, Spuistraat 297, 1012 VS Amsterdam
  • Manneken Pis, Damrak 41, 1012 LK Amsterdam

Dutch Kibbeling

Kibbeling

Get your fish in a different way! Try kibbeling for something a little tamer. It’s just battered and fried chunks of fish. Traditionally, it’s cod, but you can always ask before buying if you’re interested. It’s served with either tartar sauce or a garlic mayonnaise sauce. This is eaten as a snack while browsing the market, or as a quick lunch.

Where to find kibbeling in Amsterdam

  • Fishmongers Albert Cuyp, Albert Cuypstraat 155, 1073 BC Amsterdam
  • Vishandel Centrum, Haarlemmerdijk 4, 1013 JC Amsterdam
  • Various markets throughout the city (Waterlooplein, Dappermarkt, Ten Katemarkt)

Stroopwafel

Stroopwafels

Mmmmhhhmmm. Yaaaaaasssss. I love a good fresh stroopwafel. You can buy them in packages at the grocery store, but the best way to try one is at the Albert Cuyp market. Head to the place that says “original” and wait in line. It won’t take long. But it will be well worth the wait.

This is a very thin waffle expertly sliced in half lengthwise with a syrup slathered in between. It’s not maple syrup, but it’s delicious anyway. Hold it level while it’s hot or all the syrup will ooze out the bottom. Let it cool ever so slightly and then bite all the way through so you aren’t pulling syrup strings everywhere. Seriously, one of my favorite bites of Amsterdam.

Where to find stroopwafels in Amsterdam

  • Original Stroopwafels, Albert Cuypstraat t/o 182, Stand 134, 1073 BL Amsterdam
  • Lanskroon Bakery stroopwafels, Singel 385, 1016 BC Amsterdam
  • van Wonderen Stroopwafels, various locations throughout Amsterdam

poffertjes

Poffertjes

These are tiny Dutch pancakes. These are what we called growing up, half-dollar sized pancakes. Did anyone else love tiny pancakes when they were younger? Poffertjes remind me more of fluffy American pancakes in a smaller size. Get them fresh at a festival, or street market and they are just the best! They will always be topped with butter and powdered sugar, so you’ll likely get a dusting of white powder on you. But, it’s worth it.

Where to find poffertjes in Amsterdam

  • Poffertjes Albert Cuyp, Albert Cuypstraat 161, 1073 BD Amsterdam
  • De Carrousel, H.M. van Randwijkplantsoen 1, 1017 ZW Amsterdam
  • Pancakes Amsterdam Negen Straatjes, Berenstraat 38, 1016 GH Amsterdam
  • Various markets and festivals


Bar and cafe foods to try

Now we’re getting into regular restaurant favorites. While it’s totally possible you’ll see one of these at a market or festival, it’s not where you’d normally see them. Food trucks are always coming up with something new, so you never know what they hold! Time to duck inside for these Dutch favorites.


Bitterballen

Bitterballen

Quintessential bar food. Bitterballen goes with your after-work drinks. While you may not be working and feel the need to go out for a drink, you might still want a traditional Dutch beer. When you get that Heineken, Grolsch, Amstel or other local beer, be sure to order yourself some bitterballen. This is a deep-fried ragu that you dip in mustard. Be careful! They typically come out hot! Take a small bite and let the steam come out before digging in.

Where to find bitterballen in Amsterdam

  • Pigs & Punch, Utrechtsestraat 30a, 1017 VN Amsterdam
  • Grand Café Krasnapolsky, Dam 9, 1012 JS Amsterdam
  • Foodhallen, Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam
  • Any bar in Amsterdam

Dutch cheese

Cheese

Dutch and cheese go together like…the Dutch and cheese. It’s a classic association! You probably know Gouda cheese (though when in Amsterdam, you’ll learn how to say it the Dutch way!). Edam cheese is also super popular around the world. In the Amsterdam region, you can not only taste cheese but visit a cheese museum and see many different cheese markets. It’s a really important part of the culture and history in the Netherlands.

When in a bar, you can typically get a cheese plate as a snack food. In nicer restaurants, you’ll likely find a cheese plate as dessert. Cheese is everywhere! You might even find specialty dishes designed around cheese. Just ask. These places I listed are places to taste different local cheeses, but also keep a lookout in restaurants.

Where to find cheese in Amsterdam

  • Kaasland Haarlemmerdijk, Haarlemmerdijk 1, 1013 JZ Amsterdam
  • Reypenaer Proeflokaal, Singel 182, 1015 AJ Amsterdam

Appeltaart

Appeltaart

Called appeltaart here, the Dutch apple pie is a bit different than the American version. It has a streusel topping, tends to be taller than the American version, and will probably have raisins in it. Unless you don’t like whipped cream, I’ll always suggest you get whipped cream on the side. Yumminess galore!!

While visitors will seek out apple pie to try, around here, it’s either a dessert, celebratory pie, or a snack when you’re running around or having a bike ride. What I’m saying is, there’s no bad time for pie. But if you are looking to get into the countryside, you can have pie with a great view!

Where to find appeltaart in Amsterdam

  • Het Papeneiland, Prinsengracht 2, 1015 DV Amsterdam
  • De Koffieschenkerij, Oudekerksplein 27, 1012 GX Amsterdam
  • Winkel 43, Noordermarkt 43, 1015 NA Amsterdam
  • For apple pie to go: Patisserie Holtkamp, Vijzelgracht 15, 1017 HM Amsterdam

Pannenkoeken

Pannenkoeken

The almighty Dutch pancake. Another favorite. And it’s in this moment that I’m realizing how many favorites I really have. You can go sweet or savory here, although my favorite is apples and cinnamon or strawberries and cream. These babies are as big as, or bigger than, a plate and thin like a crepe while being springy. The texture is the best part, but the fact that you can get so many kinds means there is something for everyone!

This is a meal in itself for most people. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s a snack. On a good day, I finish an entire pancake…most days I cannot even when pushing myself.

Where to find pannenkoeken in Amsterdam

  • Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs, Grimburgwal 2, 1012 GA Amsterdam
  • The Pancake Bakery, Prinsengracht 191, 1015 DS Amsterdam Pancakes
  • Amsterdam Negen Straatjes, Berenstraat 38, 1016 GH Amsterdam


I think that’s enough for now. It’s at least enough to get you started and have a solid introduction to the Dutch foods and snacks we eat here in Amsterdam. If you’ve been to Amsterdam before, what was your favorite snack? If I absolutely had to pick one to eat forever, it would have to be fries. I have a problem. I just love fries so much!

Wishing you joy and travels!


Ready to take the trip?

Here’s your toolkit full of links so you don’t have to go searching!

Best Amsterdam souvenirs + where to buy souvenirs in Amsterdam (Advice from a local)
Things to do for a perfect weekend trip to Amsterdam (from a local) – A three-day itinerary
Can you drink Amsterdam tap water?
The Expat’s Guide: Saving money while living in Amsterdam
21 Helpful Amsterdam tips from a local
Where to find the best desserts in Amsterdam

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