The best way to get to know a city, country or culture is through it’s food, right? We spent a few hours getting to know Dutch food as part of a walking tour with Eating Amsterdam. What better way to gain an understanding of the Dutch than through their food.
Dutch food isn’t a cuisine I knew ANYTHING about. Nor did it seem that anyone else on our food tour knew anything about it. At the beginning of the tour, our lovely and knowledgable guide Evelyn began by asking each of the dozen tour participants what foods we knew of from Holland. The response, a resounding silence. I guess that’s why we were all there then! To learn, eat and appreciate Dutch food.
Our walking tour took place in the Jordaan neighbourhood of Amsterdam. An area that was once reserved for the working class but is now full of artists, boutiques and local food businesses.
We couldn’t have been more surprised with how delicious, interesting and unique the Dutch food was. In fact, we loved it! But enough talk, I want to show you what we ate!
Our walking tour started in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam just west of the city centre. A lovely walkable neighbourhood full of canals, bikes, house boats, spring tulips and scenes like this. Just what you’d expect from Amsterdam.
First up, poffertjes. These tiny, fluffy pancakes were served with golden syrup, powdered sugar and a dollop of creamy butter. They were delicious!
Next up, we visited a local butcher to sample some meatballs and salami. Served with mustard.
A lesson in Dutch colonial history followed with a trip to a Suriname-Indonesian eatery. We ate a spicy Surinamese chicken sandwich, which was almost like a very soft sausage meat. It was incredibly good! Everyone in our group raved about this dish. After the sandwich we were served a fried plantain with a spicy Indonesian peanut satay sauce.
Next up, we headed over the a local fishmonger to sample some of his wares. Pickled herring was first, served along side finely diced onions and pickles. I really enjoyed this one, but I’m a seafood lover. Quite a few of our group weren’t as enamoured with the pickled herring as I was but it’s so traditional to this part of the world you have to give it a go. We also tried some crispy beer battered fish which was more to most peoples liking.
Liquorice is the Dutch people’s favourite candy. We headed to a local sweet shop to test taste a few types including a honey liquorice and a very salty version. Liquorice was another polariser in our small group. The people that loved it queued up in store to buy bags of the black stuff. I, on the other hand, had to spit mine out. Not my favourite!
We wandered a little more around the Jordaan district. Spotting tulips and some typically Dutch scenes along the way.
Now comes the stop we’d all been waiting for! The famous Dutch Apple Pie. Other participants on our tour said the pictures on Eating Amsterdam’s website of the Dutch Apple Pie was what sold them on the tour. Thick stack of thinly sliced apples and some crumbly, cakey pastry. This apple pie was perfection! Served with a dollop of whipped cream in one of Amsterdam’s oldest cafes, Cafe Papeneiland, it didn’t disappoint.
Time to walk off the pie! We headed to our second last stop to sample some Dutch cheese, served alongside some fig and almond cake. Hazel decided it was time to take a nap as we strolled through the streets of the Jordaan neighbourhood.
For our final stop, we sat down and sampled bitterballen over some local beer. Bitterballen are hard to describe. They’re like round croquettes with a smooth meaty filling which is somewhere between a gravy and a stew. They are extremely delicious and go great with a glass of beer.
We said goodbye to our tour with a new understanding and appreciation for Dutch cuisine. If you’re in the city and looking to take an Amsterdam food tour, I highly recommend the one we took through Eating Amsterdam. These are people who are passionate about Dutch cuisine and know the local area and it’s food highlights. Depending on the day of the week you visit the entire tour may take place on foot or the final two stops for cheese and bitterballen could be one a canal boat. The Jordaan Food Tour is 70€ for adults, 55€ for teens and 40€ for kids under 13. It takes 4 hours but the walking is easy and it’s interspersed with lots of sitting and eating. You won’t need to eat for the rest of the day!
Our tour was kindly provided by Eating Amsterdam Food Tours.