Dutch cuisine is not particularly famous, unlike the French or Italian kitchen. Therefore, you may not know what to expect. Staying in the Netherlands, there are a few things you cannot (and should not) avoid trying.
- You either love or hate it: Dutch sandwiches (broodjes or boterhammen). A very essential part of Dutch cuisine is their sliced bread, often topped with cheese or meat. You will not be able to miss them on a working day, as your colleagues will probably bring their own sandwiches in a lunchbox.
- Then there is the national love affair of fried food, which is enjoyed frequently and without guilt. The epicentre of Dutch fried food is the snack bar, where chips (patat or friet) with mayonnaise and a kroket (a mash-up of meat products) can be purchased. Or try any of the other deep fried delicacies such as the frikandel (a sausage made out of all kinds of meat), kaassouflé (a deep fried cheese soufflé) and the bamischijf (a fried snack filled with noodles).
- The chilly winters in the Netherlands also come with certain dishes that will make the cold a little bit more bearable. Think of hutspot (potato, carrot and onion mash usually with meat on the side), stamppot (potato mash and ingredients like kale, endive, cabbage or sauerkraut often served with a smoked sausage on the side) and snert (pea soup filled with pieces of sausage).
- A real treat for kids and adults alike are the beloved poffertjes: small, puffy pancakes served with butter and powdered sugar.
- If you live in The Hague region, haring (herring) is definitely something you might come across. One of The Hague’s biggest street festivals revolves around this fish: Vlaggetjesdag in Scheveningen. Haring is eaten raw, often accompanied by finely chopped onions (uitjes). It is served with bread (broodje haring), from a paper plate with a little toothpick or can be eaten as a whole, hung from the tail as you take small bites.
The Dutch love their breads. The first meal of their day already is proof of that: Dutch breakfast consists of fresh, sliced bread topped with anything you like (from cheese and meat to anything with chocolate), yoghurt with fruit or croissants. Popular drinks during breakfast are orange juice (jus d’orange) or milk.
If you thought that the Dutch already had enough bread for the day during their breakfast, you are wrong. Lunch is quite similar to breakfast and therefore also consist of sliced breads with any topping. Soup or a small salad can be eaten on the side.
Everyone in the Netherlands has eaten it at any point of their life: an AVG’tje. An AVG’tje stands for aardappel (potato), vlees (meat) and groenten (vegetables). The Dutch love to make this for dinner, three to five days a week. Also, pasta and rice are big favourites when it comes to Dutch evening meals. To accompany the meals, the Dutch usually stick to water or soft drinks. And after dinner, vla (Dutch custard), yoghurt or ice cream can be served as a dessert.
One of the perks of being a country with many ethnicities is having a great choice of different foods. Indonesian, Chinese, Turkish, Moroccan, Surinam, Italian, Mexican or Indian food: name it and you can probably get it here. This diversity can be seen at the variety of restaurants, but also at the product range at supermarkets. So, no need to worry if you miss the food at your home country. There is a big chance you may just buy it in a supermarket here.
Doing groceries in a new country can be a very exciting thing with all the different food you have never seen before. In the Netherlands, there is a variety of supermarkets, for example Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Hoogvliet (in South-Holland), Aldi and Lidl. There are the big and small chains of supermarkets, but you can also get food at ethnic or specialist supermarkets. Or visit one of the groceries or bakeries. And if you love bargains, definitely visit the Haagse Markt (The Hague Market).