When I arrived in Holland I was determined to try all of the culinary delights that are on offer here. I knew that the Dutch were huge cheese fans, but their cuisine is far more diverse than that and I wanted to include Dutch food which I had never come across before in England.
When I tried raw herring for the first time I thought ‘What the hell is wrong with these people?’ But the Dutch absolutely love it. You can have it served with onions and gherkins, or just on it’s own and there are hundreds of stalls all over Amsterdam selling it. I’ve been told it’s an acquired taste and most people here grow up with it which explains why they love it so much. It’s definitely one of the most popular dishes here in Holland and you should definitely give it a try.
Instead of the potato version of the Croquette that we know and love in England, this is much tastier. In Holland a Kroket is deep fried beef ragout covered in breadcrumbs and is usually served with mustard. It can be found in most fast food shops and is the Dutch version of a Big Mac, and just as popular too.
The Dutch love potatoes, and in this typically winter dish they mash them up with different vegetables and put the gravy in a well in the centre of the dish. It’s served with rookworst which is a smoked sausage. Normally this is a dish you make at home, but it can be found in some of the restaurants in Amsterdam, and during the colder months there is a takeaway shop called stamppotje which specialises in stamppot. In summer it changes into an ice cream shop called ijscuypje!
If you have a sweet tooth, like I do these tiny versions of pancakes are an absolute must. They come served with cold butter and are dusted with icing sugar. You can get them on stalls in markets and you’ll usually get to watch the vendor make them in front of you which is an extra treat. You can buy them in the supermarket but it’s just not the same as having them freshly made.
The Dutch version of a doughnut without the jam, these doughballs are sold in winter months. They are microwaved and dusted with icing sugar and you can get them plain or with raisins in. The colder it gets, the more stalls selling these sweets pop up but as soon as the 1st January hits, the stalls all dissappear. Oliebollen are cheap, filling and warm and a bit naughty but that’s what makes them so good.