One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to try new foods. Okay, okay: that is my favorite activity! Amsterdam has a vibrant food culture, and many dishes you can’t get anywhere else. Make your list for what to eat in Amsterdam.
(Warning: this list is going to contain a lot of carbs). We’re not big on waffles in the US, but Europe is. In contrast to the thicker, cakelike waffles you’ll find in Belgium, the stroopwafel (syrup waffle) is a flat, thin, crunchy thing. In fact, it’s two waffles in one, stuck together with delicious sticky syrup.
Where to buy: While you can buy packaged stroopwafels in the grocery store, I recommend instead finding a street stand or bakery that sells them for the authentic (and fresh) experience.
What they’re good with: Coffee or tea. Dip them!
I’m a big fan of trying cheese all around the globe, and nowhere is gouda as good-a (get it?) as it is in Holland, where it was invented. You’ll find much more variety than back home, with everything from a young to very aged gouda available.
Where to buy: Again, you can buy gouda at the grocery (and it’ll be better than the fancy shops back home) but it’s better at a cheese shop.
What it’s good with: Um, finger? A good hearty slab of bread can’t hurt. Throw some meat on there, too.
In case that stroopwafel didn’t satisfy you, try a small fluffy pancake called poffertje. They are made with buckwheat flour and yeast, and are prepared in a special pan designed to puff up the cakes.
Where to buy: These are seasonal, and you can find them in outdoor markets and stalls during the fall and winter.
What it’s good with: Try them with powdered sugar and butter, or get wild and add syrup, whipped cream, or fruit.
Indonesia and Holland have always had a strong relationship, and it shows in the Indonesian restaurants around Amsterdam. One not-to-miss dish is rijsttafel, rice served with many small spiced meat and vegetable dishes. They’re meant to share, so you can try them all.
Where to buy: There are ample Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam. One to try is Kantjil & de Tijger near the Spui.
What it’s good with: Friends! You wouldn’t order this dish on your own; it’s too much food and too expensive to do so (usually around €20-30 per person).
You think you know pancakes? Think again. Until you’ve tried a Dutch pannenkoeken, you haven’t had a pancake. These suckers are huge: bigger than your plate, and flat. A popular version has apple sliced baked in, but you can also get them with other fruit, jams, or just plain.
Where to buy: There are several restaurants around town specializing in pannenkoeken.
What it’s good with: Try them with powdered sugar or syrup.