As with most places, sampling the local fare constituted an important part of our trip to the Netherlands. Joining a structured food tour could’ve been an option but doing it on our own, added the thrill of discovering new places and allowed us to explore the city and try the food at the same time. Of course, we ran the risk of not finding anything good, but fortunately that didn’t happen!
First up, waffles. The aroma wafting from the stall at the Easter fair at Dam square was too much to resist!
How often can you get hot food from a vending machine?! The delicious croquet from the Febo vending machine served to balance the sweetness of the waffle very well.No trip to the Netherlands could be complete without a healthy portion of Vlaamse frites, we were told. We had ours with the ‘special sauce’ which was mayonnaise and a peanut-based curry sauce (it tasted like satay sauce)- they absolutely hit the spot!
To wash it all down, and because it is what we do (and love), Dutch beers were sampled. We visited Arendsnest, with 52 beers on tap, and Brouwerij ‘t IJ, with its iconic windmill. Both did not disappoint! Arendsnest had a wide variety of beers including a lot of darker and stronger beers, ‘old enough to drink’ boasted 21% ABV! Brouwerij ‘t IJ felt like a local watering hole with a very relaxed atmosphere, and had fewer, inexpensive beers on tap. Dutch pancakes constituted dinner one evening, and although they looked a lot less substantial than their American counterparts, they were delicious and quite filling. We had one with ham and cheese and one with apple strudel and ice cream.
Since it is the birthplace of the famous Gouda, we tried a number of flavoured and aged varieties, and preferring the sharp clean taste of the aged cheese, ended by buying half a kilo of 2 year old Dutch Gold! How long this lasts (how much self control we can exercise) remains to be seen….!
Of course, there was another waffle, this one fully indulgent, smothered in all the toppings possible- Nutella waffle with whipped cream, strawberries and more chocolate sauce! Needless to say, it was one of the best we’ve eaten, ever!
Walking around the Hague, we found the last two pieces of street food we’d read about, that added the finishing touches to our food tour.
Poffertjes, mini Dutch pancakes, with butter and powdered sugar, eaten hot during a drizzle, lent a wonderful warm fuzzy feeling that helped combat the cold very well! And of course, the herring. Eaten raw, with onions, under the awning of the shack to prevent being attached by the vicious sea gulls, it made for an interesting, one time only, experience! The smell lingered on my fingers for hours!
Finally, because Amsterdam is (in)famous for its special foods, no post about the local fare would be complete without a special mention!