Most butcher shops sell Ossenworst (ox sausage), a delicacy which originates from the 17th century and is still loved today. It became popular when oxen were imported more from Denmark and Germany, and the spices - pepper, cloves, mace and nutmeg - hark back to the spice trading from the Dutch East Indies (modern-day Indonesia). Jewish immigrants brought a love of pickles, such as the Amsterdamse uien (Amsterdamse onions), cocktail onions pickled and tinted yellow. Of course there are the Dutch classics, too. Various cheeses, smoked sausages, fresh herring and croquettes are staples.
Restaurants serve up hearty pea soup (snert), crepe-style sweet or savoury pancakes (pannenkoeken), meat croquettes (kroketten), thick-cut fries (patat) and wholesome variations of meat and mashed potato dishes (stampot) are just a few examples of satisfying typical Dutch fare. Fresh seafood, such as herring, mussels and shrimp are available all year round. There is also a strong Indonesian influence in Dutch cooking, with Nasi Goreng and peanut sauce as common as deep-fried cod chunks (kibbeling) and mini sweet pancakes (poffertjes).
Fast food - from a wall
The Dutch also have their fair share of fast food. Apart from the international chains, there are plenty of deep-fried products to be found in ‘snack bars’ throughout the city. There are also ‘Febo’ snack bars where, after inserting some change, you can get your treat right out of the wall. Brown cafés and pubs normally serve up great sampling plates with mini meat-croquettes (bitterballen), or cubed Dutch cheese and liverwurst served with a strong mustard. All are best complimented with a pint of Dutch beer.
Plenty of choice
Whether you are looking for homey Dutch cuisine or a sample of the Netherlands' world-famous cheeses, read on for some more food for thought.