As an Australian who spent his teenage years living in Amsterdam, I’d like to encourage TechEd visitors to sample some of the strange delights of the Dutch fast food cuisine. Forget McDonalds & try something new!

1. Walk into a cheese shop (yes, they have shops that sell nothing but cheese) and sample the very young cheese (‘jong’) and the very old cheese (‘oud belegen’). The young cheese is so juicy you can almost squeeze the milk out of it. The old cheese is bitey, rich and crumbly. Komijnenkaas – cheese sprinkled with cumin seeds – is also a taste sensation.

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source: flessenpostuitbergen.nl

2. You HAVE to try the chips / fries (‘patat’). Typically you buy them in bags or paper cones from street vendors. The toppings are what make them special : Mayonnaise, Tomato Sauce, Satay sauce (yum) and a heart-stopping combination of all three called ‘patatje oorlog’ (war fries).

3. Holland is one of the few countries in the world where the idea of eating ‘out of the wall’ caught on. In snackbars you occasionally see a wall made of small glass compartments, each filled with small deep-fried delicacy. You put your coins through the slot and open a little glass door to grab your food. Try ‘kroket‘ (a crumbed rissole of meat ragout – pictured below) or ‘frikandel’ (a thin meat sausage; looks disgusting, tastes quite nice).

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Source: Trouw.nl

Be warned: the moist insides of a kroket can occasionally be hotter than the surface of the sun.

4. There is a homewares store called HEMA that traditionally sells a fat juicy smoked sausage (‘rookworst’) out the front of each shop. It can’t be good for you, but it is absolutely delicious (‘lekker’).

5. The Dutch also have the richest, creamiest chocolate milk I have ever tasted. You can even get this served on ice in pubs. Just ask for ‘chocomel met ijs’.

6. If you can find a street vendor in November selling this, try the raw herring with onions (‘haring met uitjes’). For (strong tasting) fish lovers only!

Haring_met_ui.jpg

source: nl.wikipedia.org

7. Poffertjes – those fluffy, tiny pancakes served with icing sugar – are already conquering the world, so I won’t mention them here.

8. Salty licorice (drop) is a tasty addictive treat. Typically sold in bags or rolls. Suck on them during long keynote speeches and  you will be hooked.

If you make any new culinary discoveries while in town, feel free to add them below!

Enjoy Amsterdam and please remember to look both ways before crossing a bike path….

Paul Bakker

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16 Comments

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  1. Rick Bakker

    If you’re feeling adventurous (and/or the boss is paying) try out a rijsttafel at an Indonesian restaurant. Also, don’t complain if your beer seems to be half froth, that’s the way they like it in Holland – if there isn’t at least two finger-widths of schuim then they think it’s gone flat.

    My personal favourite is chocolate custard (vla) but you’ll only find that in supermarkets.

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  2. Fred Verheul

    Hi Paul,

    You may be an Aussie by now, but there’s nothing wrong with your memory 🙂 ! My personal favorites are the cheese, the ‘rookworst’ (HEMA really has the best!), and the poffertjes.

    Also, in this time of year the ‘pepernoten’ (try them from ‘Bolletje’) are an absolute must.

    I brought a big bag of them to  innojam  yesterday, and there might still be a few left (for those attending 🙂 ). Most of my team mates didn’t really enjoy them, and André Nitze  even dared to suggest it didn’t fit in with the innojam  theme (“Me, my health and the Medicine”). Can you believe that?!

    Anyway, it’s a great list, and I hope people take your advice to heart (but don’t overdo it folks).

    Cheers, Fred

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  3. R. Konijnenburg

    Brilliant, you had me smiling throught the whole story. Great list! We have actually two “dishes” more that are getting traction:

    1. De “Kapsalon”

    2. Kibbeling

    Now the first one is a variety on the above dishes. Take fries, put on kebab meat, onions, cheese and put under a grill. Top it off with garlic sauce. Give or take 5000 callories of pleasure

    And then kibbeling. Aaahhhh kibbeling. Soul food. A bag of diep fried fish pieces. Comes with a variety of sauces. You can wake me up for it.

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    1. Paul Bakker Post author

      Thanks!

      I might try the kibbeling (anything with fish is YUM) but that kapsalon sounds absolutely disgusting. Hilarious name though (‘hairdresser’).

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  4. Myles Fenlon

    Or if you’re a real strong cheese fan, ask for overjaarig; it’s gouda but it’s almost like parmesan it’s so dried.

    Other tips:

    • stroopwaffels – a thin biscuit with caramel in the middle
    • ertwesoep – thick pea soup made with ham or pork, served with the rookworst mentioned above
    • kibbelinge – chunks of fish fried in batter (like English fish and chips, but bite-sized), usually available from stalls in the street

    Edit: I’m not the only kibbeling fan it seems!

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    1. Paul Bakker Post author

      Oh yeah, erwtensoep. I almost barfed when I first tried that one. So green & thick.

      Now I love it. Perfect feed on a cold winters day.

      If you visitors try any of these strange foods at TechEd, let us know what you think!

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  5. Fred Verheul

    I can now give real life feedback, as yesterday I was forced (kind of) to live on ‘bitterballen’ and ‘belegen kaas’. I wouldn’t recommend it for your daily meal, but for a one time exception it was very good 🙂 !

    That’s SAPTechEd life for you…

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  6. Sarah Kellman

    Such a fun blog Paul! As a former Amsterdam resident I can safely say you’ve covered all bases and then some. I am going for some erwtensoep tonight as a matter of fact. Surprisingly (not), it’s rainy and chilly here, so that’ll sure hit the spot.

    Never did like the dropjes though! When Dutch colleagues would ask me if I wanted a zoetje (sweetie), my heart would always sink when what was offered were salty black licorice drops (sometimes covered in salt crystals) rather than Droste chocolate pastilles 🙂

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    1. Paul Bakker Post author

      Oh yeah, Droste chocolate…. I’ll take that over a salty blob of licorice any day.

      In Amsterdam we used to live in the ‘beruchte Bijlmer’ – ever heard of it?

      I only get back to Amsterdam every 5 years or so, but when I do I head to the local Albert Heijn and load up on rijstepap (rice pudding), kersenbonbons (cherry bonbons with very strong liquor), ontbijtkoek (breakfast loaf?), and chocomel. I just love the food there…

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      1. Sarah Kellman

        Luckily, I live in a bordering country so I am in NL at least 5 times a year. And I too make a pilgrimage to Albert Heijn for Indonesian spice packets to mix with meat and veggies, and for lekker Chocomel! Paul — we must be evil twins separated at birth! 🙂

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  7. Vivek Singh Bhoj

    Great blog Paul

    After reading the word “Gourmet“, I was reminded of Gourmet World and Gourmet Age and all the tasty foods from one of the mangas I read

    Love those tasty pictures 🙂

    Regards,

    Vivek

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