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Netherlands Food

I attended Rick's Monday Nights Zoom show on The Netherlands: Beyond Amsterdam last night (Oct. 4, 2021), and he answered about food choices there after a participant's question about it. He said that pretty much herring and Indian food were what was available. Three years ago, I was in Amsterdam and ate several meals of the local cuisine: pancakes (pannenkoek - with a variety of savory fillings) and stews (stampot), which were excellent! Perhaps these aren't available outside of Amsterdam, but I bet they are. As he suggests, do your research before you go and then look for the opportunities that appeal to you.

Posted by
8975 posts

He said that pretty much herring and Indian food were what was available.

You probably misheard him. He was referring to
Indonesian food; not Indian. Its by far the most popular cuisine in Holland.

Posted by
3 posts

You are correct - he did say Indonesian food and there is a difference! Thank you for clarifying.

Posted by
461 posts

Out of curiosity, I watched the show too. 4:00 a.m. Amsterdam time. Now there's dedication.

The food scene in Amsterdam has changed radically over the years. There are lots of wonderful restaurants, Indonesian, yes, but also Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, burger joints, pizzas, sushi ( made on site at some of the larger groceries), vegetarian, Italian. Just go wander the Foodhallen and sample. Or pull up Google Maps and look at the choices. There are a few "Traditional" Dutch restaurants. I've never been. That is pretty heavy food for me.

Honestly, I think herring is more of a street food. Little vendors on the street corners. Speaking of street food...Kibbling is just about the best thing. Lightly breaded and deep fried cod. All white meat. Now I'm getting hungry. I'd better stop.

I wouldn't call Steve a liar (never!), but I rather doubt he heads straight for a rijsttaffel as soon as he hits town. That's a lot of food. Fun to do once. Kind of a tourist thing. Maybe Steve had a little too much Jenever and misremembered. ;-)

Posted by
4325 posts

I stayed with a family in a small village of The Netherlands in the 70’s. My husband & I stayed with their daughter’s family for our 25th anniversary in 2003. I noticed an expansion in the variety of food cuisine available in the local restaurants and served at home. Most dishes weren’t spicy, but it definitely wasn’t “herring and Indian (Indonesian) food” only.

A funny story about the non-spicy: they stopped at a Chinese restaurant one evening to pick up some food to go. When we sat down at their table at home, they passed around the containers of food. There also was a flat piece of probably rice that looked like a flat rectangular piece of styrofoam. Dan & I don’t speak Dutch, but we could tell they all really liked that item. There was also a tiny container of diced hot red peppers. Dan eyed that, and motioned that he would share. They looked wide-eyed at him. Dan & I divided it in half (I cook with it at home), and suddenly there was a room full of people all talking in Dutch at once! No translation needed! LOL!

Posted by
3235 posts

While visiting Amsterdam in 2019 we enjoyed several restaurants in the neighborhood. Our B&B host recommended a couple Italian, French and Indonesian cuisine. We were able to order a “sample plate of Rijsttaffel” dishes rather than the usual quantities. We were pleased with all the restaurant recommendations.

Posted by
5766 posts

I think you can assume a bit of hyperbole to make a point. I love Amsterdam, go through there every time I can work it in, but food is a bit frustrating there. Ask most people about "Dutch" food, and you get a blank stare, yeah there are many dishes, but especially to Midwest Americans, it is just so everyday "meat and potatoes", none of the allure of Italian or Spanish food, not the variety of German food (though many of the same elements), or the renown, deserved or not, of French food. What does stand out is the Indonesian food, and a number of "street" type foods, which I love, hence Rick's point. Amsterdam is one city I do find myself having Italian, other cuisines, or some type of fusion fare...much like London. I typically do not do that (well, the Italian, yeah) in Rome or Madrid.

Posted by
305 posts

In 2006, my husband, early 20s sons and I stayed two nights in Delft. The first night we ate at a French restaurant directly across from the hotel on the canal. The crepes suzette were memorable! The next day we took a day trip into Amsterdam and had lunch at an Italian restaurant. It's not that we were avoiding Dutch food, we were jet lagged and ate where it was convenient. There was a variety of fare and it was all very good. That night, due to fatigue, we ordered Dominoes and ate it at the hotel while watching a World Cup game! I'm assuming that 15 years later, you won't be disappointed.

Posted by
958 posts

I recall eating some fantastic pea soup in Amsterdam and possibly some steak tartare - it was soooo good. Remember, Rick is the person who about a year ago admitted he never cooked in his kitchen so maybe he has never looked for recipes from the countries he visits??

Posted by
4935 posts

We've been to the Netherlands 4 times: thrice on RS tours and once on our own, and we've never had a bad meal. Each of the RS tours (BOE twice; Belgium and the Netherlands once) had one Indonesian meal. We've had herring, eel, pannenkoek, stamppot, stoemp, wonderful cheeses, and of course, frites. We have also had some of the best Italian food we've ever had, Spanish tapas, and French influenced dishes. I'd say Dutch food is definitely cosmopolitan, and delicious.

Posted by
4935 posts

We just watch the Netherlands segment of Monday night travel. Rick said colonial food and seafood would be his recommendations.

We also had great Greek food in Amsterdam, perhaps the best Greek food we've ever had. Now, I must say, we've never been to Greece. But I repeat: we've never had a bad meal in the Netherlands, and some of them were outstanding.

More information on request.

Posted by
1117 posts

We've been to the Netherlands on numerous short trips, and I'll have to admit that I wasn't all that impressed with the food. Maybe we were just out of luck or didn't find the right places. Or possibly the food culture is just so similar to our own that we didn't recognize the specialties.

We usually try to eat local and not go to that standard pizza restaurant or shawarma fast food place, but it was really difficult to find something genuinely Dutch. I remember that one time, we eventually found some Poffertjes (miniature pancakes). Well, and herring, of course, but only in season.

One nice experience was a "pancake ship", a restaurant on a boat that specialized in pancakes. I can't quite remember where that was, I think it was Groningen.

Posted by
27401 posts

anna, didn't you come across any of the inexpensive, local and genuine venues known as «eetlokaal»?

Posted by
1117 posts

No, I guess that was one of the places we didn't find. :-(

Posted by
27401 posts

little neighbourhood places for locals. Not a brand name but a style of eating establishment....

Posted by
1117 posts

I know, my reply was unclear. I should have said "one of the kinds of places we didn't find". Or maybe the ones we did find looked so uninviting from the outside that we didn't try.

Posted by
23 posts

I love the idea of a sample of the Rijsttafel, rather than so much food. Does anyone know where we could get a small sampling, such as what Janis mentioned?

Posted by
848 posts

I stayed in DePijp and had so many food options there from other cultures and countries as well as Dutch foods. The couple who owned the Airbnb I stayed at (I rented a room there) gave me great recommendations for places to eat. I still remember the wonderful Turkish pide at a litte place around the corner. One night they brought takeout home from an Indonesian place and we all sat around eating and drinking wine. I ate very well there!