A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
All my friends from Turkey ask me what does the traditional Dutch cuisine look like since I moved to the Netherlands because, you know, food is very important for Turkish people… Usually, I struggle to answer this question as the Dutch cuisine is not as famous as other cuisines and it is really hard to identify dishes that form the Dutch cuisine. In this blog, however, I would like to introduce some Dutch foods, apart from Stoopwaffles that everyone knows, you need to try during your stay in the Netherlands, and maybe promote them oversees later on. (Well, I know the latter is a bit ambitious but anyway)
First and foremost, I would like to mention the most Dutch snack you can ever name: the bitterballen! These are small crunchy deep-fried meatballs filled with a savory filling usually made of beef broth, flour, herbs and butter. Bitterballen is the perfect snack for drinks and you can order them, more or less, in every Dutch bar and restaurant. Although it is super tasty, be careful, the filling is very hot! So, mind your bites!
Here is your perfect guilty pleasure! It is prepared by grilling döner meat, usually topped with cheese, on a layer of French fries a layer and adding a layer of lettuce, onions, tomatoes and cucumber dressed with several sauces as garlic and hot sauces become the most prominent. I have heard many urban legends on how the dish was first created but I am still not sure which one is the most reliable. The legend goes, however, as it was invented in a hairdresser saloon since the word Kapsaloon also corresponds to hairdresser salon in Dutch.
Stamppot is a very traditional 6 or 7 o’clock winter meal for Dutch people. This savoury dish consists of mashed potatoes and other mashed vegetables, usually carrots or kale, alongside with a smoked sausage called rookworst. Although it does not seem very ‘sophisticated’ it is very tasty and substantial indeed!
Pannnekoeken and Poffertjes
If you like pancakes, you are in the right territories! Dutch people LOVE pancakes and they are really good at making them. However, do not expect the American pancakes here in the Netherlands. Dutch pancakes are usually larger and thinner than American pancakes, and definitely is not the same as French creps as creps are thinner than Dutch pancakes.
As I would classify them under pancakes, on the other hand, poffertjes are small and, as you can guess by the pronunciation of the word, fluffy pancakes that usually served with sugar (powder) and butter. You can easily find poffertjes in markets, especially during winter times, and spot them with the little Dutch flag sticks on them!
A small touristic tip for pancake lovers: You should see the interior of the pancake store called Dutch Pancake Masters in Amsterdam. Not only their pancakes are really nice, the interior of the restaurant has been designed with famous Dutch paintings and the pancakes are served on palettes!
Have you ever tried Dutch cuisine? Which one of the Dutch food is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!