Eating Dutch Style: Herring, Fries and Pancakes

As we began planning for an adventure in the Netherlands, we wondered what we’d be eating. This is an easy question to answer when traveling to Italy or France, but we weren’t sure what types of food to expect.

I found articles with the following titles:

  • Top Ten Dutch Foods
  • 15 Foods to Try in Amsterdam
  • 10 Dutch Foods You Have to Try Once
  • Amsterdam Local Food and Travel Guide

And while we didn’t try everything on these lists, we tasted many of the foods called Dutch classics.


I wasn’t brave enough to gulp down a pickled herring. I thought it looked much more like bait than lunch. However, I’m pleased to say that John gave it a try. Fins, tail and bones intact, he was not deterred. He said it would have been much easier to stomach if he wasn’t waiting for me to take pictures, but there’s no chance he’ll eat it again.


‘Friet’, ‘Frites’, ‘Patat’ or ‘Vlaamse frieten’…whatever you call them, these Dutch fries were easy to eat. Served in a paper cone, these fries are thick cut and served with a variety of sauces with mayonnaise the most common sauce. Curry ketchup and peanut sauce are other popular sauces. We waited in line at VleminckX, known for serving the best fries in Amsterdam.image

Another food that appears on every list of must eats: Dutch pancakes. Yes, those are pizza sized pancakes. The thin pancakes are cooked with fruits, meats or cheese. We tried the ham and cheese pancake and the apple pancake. And then we couldn’t pass up the poffertjes. They look like mini pancakes but are much lighter and are served with butter and powdered sugar…yummy!image

Of course, we also ate Dutch apple pie, chocolates and lots of cheese (kaas). We ate stroopwafles, which were delicious cookies and drop, a Dutch licorice, but there are so many candies I like better than drop. We tried the hagelslag, basically sprinkles, but we didn’t realize they were supposed to be a sandwich filling so we just tried a few sprinkled on bread at breakfast. And one of our favorite meals: Indonesian Rijstaffel. A rijsttafel  or rice table gives diners a true Indish-Dutch experience. The Dutch colonization of the Spice Islands resulted in this Indonesian culinary influence.

I’m disappointed that we never ate at a restaurant that sold kibbeling, battered and fried fish from the North Sea or snert, a thick split pea soup served in the winter. I know April is not a winter month, but when the temperature is in the 40s and there’s sleet, I think it’s time to make an exception and prepare some snert.

Without a doubt, the biggest surprise was drinking the BEST orange juice ever served at our hotel in Delph. Truly, fresh squeezed orange juice…we need to do much better in Florida, a state known for oranges!

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