Traditional Dutch Food: What Everyone Ought to Try in the Netherlands

Planning a holiday in Holland? Food sampling is one of the fun parts of travelling. Getting to try out the local flavours is always a top to-do on any journey and the Netherlands’ traditional dishes are a must for your trip.

Include this mix of Dutch savouries and sweets into your holiday check list and embark on a rich adventure of flavours, emotions and memories.

Originally, food from Holland is considerably high in carbohydrates with a variety of potato, bread and meat dishes. On the other hand, the cuisine is rich in sea food, as well as sweet fruity desserts.

Stamppot – Potato Mash and Sausages

This hearty and comforting dish is commonly served in autumn and winter. Potato mash is traditionally mixed with other cooked vegetables, such as carrots, kale, endives, or onions which add extra smoothness and flavour to it. In some occasions, bacon goes into the mash as well as vegetables. To complete the dish, smoked sausages or meat stew are usually served alongside the mash. For extra pleasure, pour some gravy over you stamppot…Delicious!

plate of potato mash, sausage and onions
Flickr: rhodes

Hollandse Nieuwe Haring – Raw Herrings

Some might think of raw herrings as a Dutch version of sashimi.  Hollandse nieuwe haring is an alternative fast food in Netherlands. It’s best enjoyed alone. Grab the herring by the tail, lift it up in the air, throw your head back and start biting into it upwards. For a less complicated option you can also combine it with chopped raw onions and gherkins (pickled cucumbers) in a soft white bun to make up a sandwich called broodje haring.

two men eating raw herrings
Flickr: cheeseslave

Cheese – Kaas

Say cheeeeeseee… Yes, Netherlands as a country is famous for its vast array of hard or semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk. There are a vast number of different shapes, tastes and colours, but the most popular types include Edammer, Goudse, and Leidse cheeses. Traditionally, Dutch cheese is made with various herbs and spices; cloves, caraway seeds, nettle and cumin are among commonly used ones. Have your cheese for breakfast with a soft, airy bread and tasty fruit jam. To enhance the experience and learn more about cheese production, visit one of the many Dutch cheese farms or a cheese market usually held in summer.

cheese wheels at Gauda market
Flickr: bertknot

Stroopwafel – Caramel Waffles

Try these fragrant Dutch biscuits for an unusual sweet snack or eat alongside a cup of tea or coffee. They are usually made with cinnamon and have a heavenly layer of caramel syrup in the middle. The trick is to put one of them onto a rim of you tea or coffee cup, allowing the steam from the beverage to soften the wafer and melt the caramel. After a long, worthwhile minute of waiting the stroopwafel will reward you with its gooeyness and a burst of warming spices. Try dipping it into your drink, if waiting is not an option. Either way, the result is the same: several waffles in your tummy and a couple of packets of them in your luggage to take back home.

broken waffle with gooey caramel
Flickr – FoodishFetish

Limburgse Vlaai – Fruit Pie

Another tasty treat from the Dutch confectionary department is limburgse vlaai. Taking its origin from South of Netherlands, this sweet pie is made with a light, crunchy pastry and filled with fruits or berries. Apples, apricots, cherries or plums as well as strawberries and rhubarb are usually used and altogether the fruits blend to create a delicious tart with a thin crust and lots of fruity filling. You might also come across the savoury version of the vlaai made with meat and vegetables, which is just as delicious.

plaited blueberry pie
Flickr – andrewmalone

Oliebollen – Doughnuts

If you happen to visit the Netherlands over the New Year’s Celebration, then make sure to tuck into an Oliebollen. These are like doughnuts, but much better.  Made from yeast dough, oliebollen usually include glacé fruits, raisins or sultanas, and pieces of apple. After being deep-fried, these balls of deliciousness are dusted with icing sugar to make up truly festive sweets.  Finding them at street markets would be easy – just follow the sweet aroma of sugar and hot oil.

dusted with sugar Dutch doughnuts
Flickr: Charleston’s TheDigitel

Whatever your choice falls on, just remember to enjoy yourself and be adventurous. Don’t be afraid to try new flavours and textures while you’re away, however, we can’t promise that your routine meals at home will still be as appetizing on your return, so remember to bring back a goodie-bag to continue the Dutch food experience.