The vibrant and eclectic Dutch capital may be better known for its Red Light district and windmills than its food, but there is no doubt there’s a culinary heritage here – and one that will delight the visitor in every sense. For many travellers staying in hostels in Amsterdam, knowing about and experiencing the food is an integral part of their stay. Travellers favouring hostel accommodation are generally interested in seeing the real heart of a city and all that comes with it, including the gastronomy. But what exactly is typical Dutch food and what should you be looking out for?
Haring ‘Hollandse Nieuwe’
If you like fish this is one for you! The ‘new herring’ is possibly the most famous of all Dutch dishes, and for it to be classed as true to its origins it must be caught between May and July and prepared according to tradition. Cleaned and preserved in a particular way, this herring is available throughout the city and is often found as a street snack. Served with chopped raw onions and gherkins, the fish is traditionally eaten whole and head first. For those not so keen on eating it like a local, you can also get it chopped up and put into sandwiches, known as ‘broodje haring’.
One thing we do know the Dutch for is their cheese, and they eat it at any time of the day. Any hostels in Amsterdam that include a breakfast will always serve cheese among the other delights every morning. The Dutch are the largest exporter of cheese in the world, and they have been making it for almost 2,000 years. Eaten on sandwiches, in cooking, or cut into cubes and served with mustard washed down with a glass of beer, cheese is everywhere here! Gouda and Edam are the most popular but there are hundreds of Dutch cheeses. If you are staying in one of the excellent hostels in Amsterdam, ask the staff about a visit to the Reypenaer’s Tasting Room for an authentic local cheese experience.
For those with a sweeter tooth, the city does not disappoint. Apart from profiteroles and pancakes there plenty of other pastry style delicacies – perfect for that morning coffee experience. The ‘stroopwafel’ is the most popular: this unique cookie-style treat is a waffle made from a flaky batter, sliced and filled with a sweet and sticky syrup, which is sandwiched between the layers. Originating from Gouda, south of the capital, this delectable pastry is available in every city supermarket but is best enjoyed fresh from a local bakery. What better way to start your day than by heading out for a stroopwafel and coffee at any of the bakeries close the hostels in Amsterdam in true local style?
It’s safe to say that when you’re staying in any of the great hostels in Amsterdam, you won’t go hungry. If you’re prepared to be a little adventurous, you’ll discover a cuisine like no other that will surprise and delight in equal measures.
Looking for your dream travel experience? Jason H. Cunningham works for Hostelling International, a company with more than 4,000 hostels worldwide in fantastic locations. For the best hostels in Amsterdam, or anywhere else, join our global community and say hi to the world. From quality, affordable accommodation and backpacker tips, to meaningful volunteer opportunities and enriching our eco footprint, we are the world’s local hostelling hub.
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