Amsterdam is one of Europe’s culinary capitals but you don’t have to sit down at one of the city’s countless eateries to find a bite to eat. While strolling along the canals you can find plenty of food stalls and smaller venues that serve up delicious, portable food to go. While Dutch street food typically does not win the crown for healthiest fare, it sure is tasty. And it can be sampled for under 10 Euros!
While looking for some breakfast my friends and I ducked into a place near the Red Light District called “Crepes and Waffles” where they serve, you guessed it, crepes and waffles! Imported from neighboring France and Belgium respectively, both crepes and waffles can commonly be found at restaurants throughout the Netherlands. As I was in the mood for a waffle that day, I had a hard time deciding whether I should order it topped with strawberries or apple-cinnamon crunch and in the end decided to order it smothered in Nutella. It was a good decision that cost 3.40 euros.
Around lunch time we got hungry for some Vlaamse Fries. These thick cut french fries (they’re another Belgian import actually) are the quintessential street food of the low countries. Stalls that sell Vlaamse Fries can be found at almost every street corner in Amsterdam. Ketchup is not the most common fry topping in The Netherlands. Instead, the Dutch prefer thick, creamy mayonnaise atop their fries. The curry sauce is another delicious topping and if you’re in the mood for something typically Dutch, try the Joppiesaus which is a sweet, creamy onion and curry sauce that compliments the warm fries wonderfully. You can pick up a small bag of fries, enough for one person, for about 2 euros.
After a busy morning of sight seeing on foot you may need a little bite of protein by mid-day. After visiting the Anne Frank House we headed to the square in front of the Westerkerk for some Hollandse Nieuwe Haring at a little fish stall. This is the infamous raw herring filet smothered in raw onions often seen on travel documentaries about the Netherlands. I was a little nervous at first about how it would taste but after having tried it I discovered that the fish is mild and delicious. The onions added a nice crunch and bit of spice. Fans of sushi would like this tender fillet that costs about 2 euros.
Amsterdam is a highly international city and this fact is reflected in the variety of ethnic food available. If you walk along Damstraat, just off Dam Square, you can find restaurants representing literally every East Asian country. For a quick bite of something fried we ducked into “Wok to Go” for a Curry Surprise which is a crispy won-ton like pocket filled with curried vegetables and served with sweet and sour sauce. We picked up a bag of 4 little Curry Surprises for only 1 euro.
After every other eatery is closed you can still get a little bite to eat in a uniquely Dutch way. I’m referring to those “vending machines” that consist of a little doors in the wall in which you can put in exact change and retrieve something crispy, unhealthy and delicious from inside the door. On the way home, at Amsterdam Central Station, we retrieved a variety of croquettes from such vending machines. These croquettes usually contain potato or some kind of meat, are covered in breadcrumbs on the outside and are fried crispy. Better croquettes can usually be found at food carts within the city but if it’s really late at night it may be your only option. A croquette costs about 1.50 euros.
A street food adventure in Amsterdam is sure to leave you full and provide you with enough calories to fuel a busy day of sight seeing. I should mention that the above mentioned items were the only things we ate that day and in the end come to 9 euros and 90 cents!