Culture Guide Int'l Food

6 Sweet and Savory Dutch Delights Worth Tasting from The Netherlands

By Author and Blogger, Jessica Lipowski

Certain countries around the world are internationally renowned for their cuisine, for instance the French, Chinese, Thai and Spanish. The Dutch however also have their own specialties, which deserve an honorable mention. Potatoes and fish form the foundation of the traditional diet, mainly due to the proximity of the sea and the potato being one of the main crops harvested in the Netherlands. But the country is home to additional delights. Join the culinary tour to learn about a few of the other delectable foods the Dutch have to offer.



Stamppot is a Dutch staple. Typically prepared in the winter months, this classic comfort food is a mashed mixture of potatoes and a vegetable, usually endive, carrots or kale. Warm, savory gravy is ladled on top of the potato mound to provide additional flavor. Sausage is served on the side and often dipped in mustard.

Stamppot dutch food
Stamppot / Jessica Lipowski


Bitterballen are small, round deep-fried snacks, crispy on the outside and warm and savory on the inside. The thick gravy-like filling is made from bits of meat, bouillon, flour and butter as well as other spices and seasonings. The Dutch snack, usually consumed after work or in the weekends and paired with beer, is dipped in a spicy mustard and accompanied by pickles and pickled onions.

Bitterballen dutch food
Bitterballen / Jessica Lipowski


Herring is a must. When most people think of this fishy delicacy, they think of pickled herring preserved in a jar. In the Netherlands, though, the fish is served raw, the fleshy pink bringing color to the product. The flavor is strong, yet mouthwatering and fresh. The Dutch have two ways of presenting the herring. In Amsterdam it is common to receive it sliced up in small pieces served with pickles and onions on the side. In Rotterdam, you may be able to eat the fish by its tail, a typical image that comes to mind when herring and the Dutch are used in the same sentence.

herring dutch food
Herring / Lane Blackmer


The Dutch love this dish, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Falling somewhere in between the thickness of fluffy American pancakes and the thin French crepes, the Dutch typically make theirs with bacon, cheese or both baked in, more savory than sweet. The end result should be warm on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.

Pancakes / Berj Alexanian


Probably one of the most famous products the Dutch are known for is cheese. There are numerous varieties – from Gouda, Beemster and Edam to young and old in terms of age – so be sure to try all the options available to see which is your favorite.


If you have a sweet tooth, read no further. Stroopwafels will be your version of dessert heaven. A stroopwafel is the combination of two thin wafer-like cookies with a gooey caramel filling on the inside. Originating in the city of Gouda, the treat started out as a poor-man’s cookie. Now it is one of the most highly regarded sweets. If you’re lucky to find a freshly made one, that’s best but you can also buy them in the package, still a very tasty second.

Stroopwafel dutch food
Stroopwafel / Jessical Lipowski

Don’t miss out on other Dutch favorites such as kroket (similar to bitterballen) and speculaas (a type of spiced cookie). As the Dutch say, “Eet smakelijk” or “Enjoy your meal.”



Follow Jessica Lipowski on Twitter @JLipowski or her blog. She is also a host of two weekly twitter chats: a cultural travel chat using the hashtag #CultureTrav and another on the road less travelled (#TRLT).