Food in Amsterdam

My favorite subject! Let’s get started.

Amsterdam has a bustling Chinese district because once upon a time the Chinese were sailors, and then something-something-something, and the Chinese were left broke and stranded in Amsterdam, but they were like, “This isn’t so bad!” They built some restaurants and temples and the Dutch consider Indonesian food to basically be part of their heritage.

What I love about this is that it means that Amsterdam is a great place to vegetarian.

Check out these canned, gluten-based, artificial meats:

canned vegetarian pork


canned vegetarian duck


There were 5 varieties of canned artificial meats, not to mention the two freezers full of more mock meats in different cuts and preparations, including imitation chicken drumsticks.

At the same store with the meats, I also found one of my favorite things to eat in Paris. It is a Vietnamese snack. I am happy to say that I have also had this snack from the very place that it was made, in Paris at the Port d’Ivry:

A delicious Vietnamese treat from Paris

When Derek and I were in Paris, we bought one of these to share. Then we came back and bought 4 more.

I love the way China Towns smell. Whenever I am in a city, I always visit China Town at least twice. I don’t know why. When I don’t know what to do, I always come back to there. I read the menus and shop the chopsticks and stare for a really long time at all the sauces. I might have spent more time looking at cans of sesame oil on this trip than I spent looking at Vermeer’s masterpiece The Milkmaid in the Rijksmuseum:

We all have our quirks.

Aside from Chinese food, another popular tourist dish is french fries:

A cone of friets with curry sauce

Called the #1 french fries in Holland, I couldn't exactly disagree.

The fun thing about french fries is not just that they are the perfect size for my preference –both in quantity and quality– there are a gazillion different sauces to choose from. And I love sauces. In Amsterdam, I tried around 8 sauces: frietsauce, mayonnaise, curry, an orange one that was similar to Thousand Island, garlic sauce, barbecue sauce, and spicy red sauce. Curry was my favorite, garlic sauce a close second, and the barbecue sauce was pretty good, too. I may start a french fry shop in Ann Arbor. DIBS!

Then, of course, there are the pancakes. I had pancakes three times at three different places. Having tried, like, all the places to get pancakes in Amsterdam, I can say that the Pancake Bakery is the best. Sara’s Pancake House is not the best. Small Talk makes a delicious batter, but they only have 8 selections and their only good pancake may be the apple flavor (but it’s very good!). In comparison, check out how big the menu is at Sara’s:

A dense list of pancake options from the menu at Sara's Pancake House

And the other page was just as big!

I asked about a savory pancake full of vegetables, but like many tall blonde men I know, the server said, “I don’t eat vegetables.” He recommend banana nutella instead. I said, “OK!” When he set the pancake in front of me, I had to laugh. The plate was the size of  a turkey platter, and the pancake barely fit. Here’s my hand next to the pancake. My hand is the size of my face. This pancake is the size of four faces:

Big banana/nutella pancake is big. Really big. Especially compared to my hand. And my hand is not super small!

It was good, but Pancake Bakery wins because Pancake Bakery fried the bananas into the batter. Mmm!

Another great thing about The Pancake Bakery is that they serve little stroopwaffels with their tea. And their tea comes in a box with a variety of selections. Stroopwaffels are delicious! They are thin, circular wafers with dense, chewy caramel pressed in between. They are so good that I went to Alfred Heins supermarkt to get some.

A pile of bags of stroopwaffels at the grocery store.

Dear Alfred Heins: you may continue reading my mind.

In any case, Amsterdam pancakes are far superior to American pancakes, which are too fluffy and salty. These pancakes are thin and dense, but they are squishier and have a much more satisfying chewy factor than French crepes. I think they are divine.

In addition to pancakes, french fries, stroopwaffels, chinese food, and vietnamese imports, Amsterdam is filled with munchy-like snacks and sweets and pizza and falafel and pastries and chocolate and beer. I can’t imagine why /doublethink.

A display of sandwiches.

Who in Amsterdam would want to eat a toasted baguette stuffed with a brott and smothered in cheese--at all hours of the day and night?

Aside from the vegetarian fare, I always like to take a peek at the variety of other options. (Side note: can someone explain to me what an Argentinian Steakhouse is?) That’s why I stopped outside this meat store; inside was a store-long refrigerator case stuffed with sausages and meat cuts of all kinds. But many countries have butchers. Not every country has a selection of 10 different patés.

A variety of pates at the meat market.

Luckily, I managed to find a selection of vegetarian/vegan patés at the farmer's market. They were delicious, and I bought the curry one!

One day, Mike T. and I ate a wedge of gouda on some dense, fresh wheat bread from the farmer’s market. It was one of the best meals I had in Amsterdam.

An entire store dedicated to rows of shelves of gouda.

It's gouda heaven!

I wish I would have taken more pictures of that market. We ate our bread and cheese at a nearby park. We sat on a park bench and a little boy rode his bike past us and smiled and said, “toot toot!” in the cutest little Dutch accent. He’s in my suitcase right now because I took him home with me. Just kidding. I only thought about it.

And so I abruptly conclude my entry on food in Amsterdam.

2 thoughts on “Food in Amsterdam

  1. Argentinian steakhouses are to Europe what Outback is to America: an exotic-seeming concept devoted to New World-style beef. The only difference is that Argentinian steakhouses serve Argentine beef, which is supposed to be, hands down, the best in the world, whereas Outback serves beef from wherever.

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