The Ultimate Amsterdam Food Guideby Akshayaa RaniM, 07 July 2023
Hello there, event planner and foodie! We hear you’re hosting an event in Amsterdam and we’re here to make sure that your event catering in Amsterdam is out-of-this-world.
Everyone knows that the Dutch capital is famous for its charming canals and vibrant atmosphere, but did you know that Amsterdam is also a food lover’s dream destination?
From street food to Michelin-star restaurants, the Dutch really know how to eat, and over here you’ll find a wide variety of food and flavours that will have even the pickiest eater asking for seconds!
As much as you’d like to, you probably won’t have a chance to sample all the culinary treats that this city has to offer but we’re here to help you. In this concise Amsterdam food guide, we’ve listed out some of the dishes you must eat in Amsterdam so that you can include them in your catering menu.
But wait, before we embark on this culinary adventure, you should probably grab a bite to eat because we guarantee that you’ll soon be hungry!
Exploring the Origins of Dutch Cuisine
If you’ve never tried Dutch food before, you’re in for a treat! Traditional Dutch cuisine focuses on simplicity and functionality but that doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on the flavours since most local dishes are a reflection of the country’s cultural heritage and history.
You’ll find the food here is influenced by neighbouring countries such as Belgium and Germany. But the influences don’t stop there. Netherlands’ colonial past also affects the flavours of Amsterdam food. Don’t be surprised if you also find some Indonesian influences in Dutch cuisine.
That being said, Amsterdam is not exactly the city to watch your carb intake. Dutch cooking focuses on wholesome ingredients that are readily available. You’ll often find that potatoes are the hero of many Dutch dishes.
But it’s not just carbs that are popular here. Dairy is also an important component of Dutch cuisine and the cheese here is something worth mentioning. From the world-famous Gouda and Edam, you’ll find the cheese in Amsterdam to be quite addictive!
Speaking of dairy, the Dutch don’t scrimp on ingredients like creamy butter and fresh milk either. You’ll find both butter and milk in many local dishes, especially desserts which we will touch upon later in this Amsterdam food guide.
Last but not least, the city’s maritime influences are also evident in the abundance of seafood dishes in Amsterdam, including herring, smoked eel, and mussels.
Event Catering in Amsterdam: Traditional Dutch Food
Meat and seafood lovers can rejoice because both these ingredients feature heavily in Dutch cuisine. The Dutch take their food very seriously, so when you’re planning an event in the city, hire an event caterer in Amsterdam that can feature some of these most-loved Dutch dishes on your menu.
We’ll start with Hollandse Nieuwe which is considered a delicacy and is on every foodie’s must-try list when visiting Amsterdam. This dish features raw and cleaned herring, which is seasoned with salt and served with chopped onions and pickles.
Now, we admit that the idea of eating raw fish can be intimidating at first but there’s a reason why both locals and tourists swear by it. The onions nicely complement the fishiness of the herring while the pickles not only add flavour but also act as a palette cleanser. Either way, when in Amsterdam, eat like a local and add this to your menu!
We did mention that the country’s colonial past has influenced their food and this dish is a prime example. The Indonesian Rijsttafel roughly translates to “rice table” in Dutch and is a unique dining experience in Amsterdam.
It consists of a lavish spread of numerous small dishes that are served with steamed rice. The accompanying dishes are usually an assortment of meat, fish, vegetables, and condiments cooked in the Indonesian style.
Some of the most popular dishes in an Indonesian Rijsttafel are satay (skewered grilled meat that’s served with peanut sauce), nasi goreng (a fried rice dish cooked with meat, vegetables, and Indonesian spices), rendang (a slow-cooked beef curry that’s simmered in a blend of spices and coconut milk),and gado gado (a salad made with blanched vegetables topped with a peanut sauce, boiled eggs, and fried tofu).
However, if you fancy something more quintessentially Dutch, we recommend trying Stamppot. This well-known Dutch meal combines mashed potatoes with vegetables such as kale, sauerkraut, and endive until it’s a flavourful mixture. It’s traditionally served with smoked sausage known as rookworst and a generous dollop of gravy.
Another unmissable Dutch dish is hutspot. This delicious blend of mashed potatoes, carrots, and onions is typically served with a juicy meatball or succulent braised meat to create a comforting and satisfying meal, especially during the winter months.
Now, we know that although all these seafood and meat-based dishes sound delicious, as an event planner, you’re probably wondering if there’s anything for your attendees with plant-based diets to eat in Amsterdam. Fret not! Here’s a list of some of the best vegan caterers in Amsterdam.
Street Food in Amsterdam
We always say that the best way to really get to know a country’s food is through its street food culture and when it comes to what to eat in Amsterdam, the streets are where you’ll find some amazing delicacies.
For starters, you must try the bitterballen. Trust us when we tell you that it’s hard to stop at just one when it comes to these crispy, bite-sized meatballs with a creamy and flavourful filling. Bitterballen is usually made with a mixture of beef or veal ragout. It’s then breaded and deep-fried will golden brown. It’s best enjoyed with a side of mustard.
Now, what are meatballs if they’re not accompanied by french fries? Well, lucky for us, Amsterdam also has a Dutch version of our favourite potato dish!
Patat is a Dutch-style version of the humble french fry and is a street food staple in Amsterdam. These thick-cut fries are often served in a cone and can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings and sauces, such as mayonnaise, ketchup, curry sauce, or even peanut sauce.
Street food in Amsterdam, like most street food globally, has several deep-fried favourites. Another one on this list is the kaassouffle. This popular Dutch snack is a deep-fried cheese croquette that features a gooey cheese filling that’s encased in a crispy breadcrumb coating.
There’s also a meat version of the kaassouffle known as kroket. This dish is also a breaded and deep-fried croquette except instead of cheese, a kroket usually contains a filling of beef ragout.
Next, we have a street food version of the popular Hollandse Nieuwe. The broodje haring is a herring sandwich that encases the herring in a soft bun or bread roll with onion and pickles. It’s a convenient and satisfying street food option.
Another popular street food in Amsterdam where fish is the hero is kibbeling. This seafood snack is made with chunks of white fish, usually cod or haddock, that’s coated in a light and crispy batter and deep-fried until golden brown. It is often served with a side of garlic or tartar sauce.
Pro-tip: If you like the sound of these street food options, you should check out our favourite food trucks for event catering in Amsterdam.
A Sweet Tooth: Desserts in Amsterdam
Now, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, Amsterdam will not disappoint. The desserts in Amsterdam are definitely a piece of heaven and we cannot wait to take you through it.
Let’s start with the dessert that’s globally synonymous with Amsterdam - the stroopwafel! This quintessential Dutch treat needs no introduction. It features a thin waffle made with two layers of baked dough with a caramel-like syrup filling in between. To find a stroopwafel in Amsterdam, just follow the delicious smell through the street markets and get them warm and freshly made!
Moving on to the waffle’s cousin, the pancake - we’re presenting you the Dutch version of the delicious treat. Poffertjes are small, fluffy pancakes that are made from a sweet, yeasted batter and cooked on a special griddle with shallow holes. They are traditionally served with powdered sugar and a pat of butter.
Of course, these shouldn’t be mistaken for the pannenkoeken (Dutch pancakes). This dessert uses a similar batter but it’s much thinner and larger than poffertjes. It’s often eaten with minimal fussings apart from powdered sugar, syrup, or fruits but for a more indulgent treat, it can also be filled with Nutella, strawberries, or whipped cream.
If you’re craving something “healthier, why not try the appeltaart? This Dutch version of the apple pie is one of the most classic desserts in Amsterdam. It features a buttery, crumbly crust that’s filled with chunks of spiced and sweetened apples. Appeltaart is often served warm, accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some sweetened whipped cream.
We’re rounding up our list of sweet indulgences with another Dutch favourite, the oliebollen. These deep-fried doughnuts are popular during the festive season, especially around New Year’s Eve. They feature round balls of dough with a soft and fluffy interior that’s studded with raisins and dusted with powdered sugar.
End the Merriment with a Drink in Amsterdam
Cheers! We’re almost at the end of our ultimate Amsterdam food guide and that calls for a celebration, doesn’t it?
When you’re in Amsterdam, you can start your celebrations with an ice-cold bottle of Heineken. Now, while this beer is one of the most well-known beer brands in the world, few people know that the brand originated in Amsterdam. So why not enjoy this drink in its birth city?
However, if you’d like to try something you most likely haven’t tried before, we’d recommend the Dutch Genever. Considered the precursor to modern gin, this traditional Dutch spirit is made from malt wine and flavoured with juniper berries and other botanicals. You can enjoy this straight on the rocks, or mixed into classic cocktails like the Dutch Mule.
Now, if you prefer something non-alcoholic, you can’t really go wrong with coffee in Amsterdam. The city has a vibrant coffee culture, with cosy cafes and speciality coffee shops throughout the city. You can enjoy a range of coffee options from a simple espresso or cappuccino to more elaborate options like flavoured lattes.
We recommend enjoying your coffee in Amsterdam the way the Dutch do- paired with a stroopwafel or another sweet treat.
If caffeine doesn’t quite catch your fancy either, hot chocolate is another must-try drink in Amsterdam. You’ll find a rich variety of hot chocolate options throughout the city from the classic version to more extravagant variations topped with whipped cream, marshmallows, and syrups.
All good things must come to an end, including this feast of food and flavours. We hope that you’ve got a good understanding of the different types of Dutch food you can include in your event catering in Amsterdam.
Your next mission is to find the perfect event venue in Amsterdam to make a home for all these fabulous dishes you’re going to feed your guests. Just follow that link and you’ll see our entire collection!
And, if there’s something on that list that you can’t find, our local experts are always there to help you out with everything from event venues to the best areas to host an event in Amsterdam.
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