A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Let’s face it, Dutch cuisine is… boring. Being so used to Asian (Korean and Japanese) supermarkets with a wonderful array of pre-cooked food, I was actually quite shocked when I first got here. I though I could be lazy a little bit and live on the supermarket for the first week or so. Sadly, my first meal was stamppot and rookworst and I soon got my ass to cook. Beside that, deciding where to take your visiting friends or relatives to eat in Leiden is really a difficult task, I know many people who always end up choosing Oudt Leyden. I mean, what other Dutch food can we introduce to people?!
But anyways, I still find Dutch cuisine interesting in the sense that they have their own version of many things you’ve seen in other places. They are the same, but also very different, very “Dutch.” If anything, Dutch people are surely known for their innovations. 🙂
Yes it’s a kind of waffle, yet very different from the typical Belgian one since it’s 2 layers of flat cookies holding caramel syrup in the middle. You can find it almost everywhere on the streets, especially in any kind of fair (like the Saturday market in Leiden) where they make fresh stroopwafle. I personally don’t have a sweet tooth so it’s not my thing but a lot of my friends are really crazy for it. Eat it the Dutch way by putting it on top of your tea or coffee cup to let the steam soften the waffle and warm up the syrup filling.
Mini pancakes! Probably my most favorite, I even consider stocking some when I go back to my home country because they have these conveniently packed pre-cooked poffertjes in the supermarket. Oh the pleasure of watching those tiny, fluffy sponges of cakes being flipped one after another. Have 10, or even 20 pieces at a time (trust me you will still want more) and sprinkle a lot of powdered sugar! Of course don’t forget the butter, and I sometimes eat them with blueberry. You think pancake is a breakfast dish but for Dutch people it’s more like a street snack which you can eat anytime during the day.
If poffertjes is mini version of American-style pancakes then pannekoeken is more like a huge French pancake – very thing and its diameter can go up to 30 centimeters. Like the French one you can eat it in savory ways or as a dessert, the best flavor in my opinion is apple and bacon. It’s really huge, so for (small) people like me one portion is enough for dinner! If you go to Oudt Leyden they serve the pannekoeken in special Delfware, which makes the experience very Dutch and that’s why I always take people there when they visit me 🙂 And I really really love their syrup!
Like many other European countries, the Netherlands also has this coffeehouse culture – people (usually men in the past) go to coffeehouses to have a chat about various things while enjoying a cup of warm beverage. There are not that many types of coffee here, the most popular one is probably koffie verkeerd – simply cafe au lait. Interestingly, the word literally means “wrong coffee” which I learn is because the portion of milk and coffee is like half and half. You will always be served with a cookie next to your coffee cup. Rumor has it that Dutch people are so stingy they only want to give you 1 piece of cookie. 😛
If you have tried it you probably have a love-hate relationship with it. I mean, it’s mashed potatoes plus 1 type of vegetables, and sometimes the one they put it doesn’t go well at all… The green one with spinach is quite ok for me though, not the white one with turnip. But again, you can’t get any more Dutch with a dish of stamppot and rookworst (smoked sausage). It’s a joke but it’s almost true that the Dutch only eat sandwiches during the day and stamppot for dinner 😛