Traditional Dutch Foods You Must Try

The Netherlands is not known for their cuisine. In fact, not too long ago, the only food I associated with the Dutch was Gouda cheese (mmm…cheese). So when I had the opportunity to visit Holland again, I was determined to try out some traditional Dutch foods.


Traditional Dutch Foods You Should Try bitterballenThis is a fun word to say, especially in a Dutch accent. Direct translation is ‘bitter balls’ but thank goodness it tastes anything but bitter! A popular Dutch dish with meat and spiced roux, these deep fried snacks are enjoyed with savoury mustard.

Traditional Dutch Foods You Should Try bitterballenThe ‘bitter’ in the name refers to alcohol, which is usually consumed with bitterballen. Naturally, bitterballen can be found in almost any restaurants and bars.

Raw herring

Traditional Dutch Foods You Should Try raw herringServed with onions and pickles, raw herring is a national favourite and it’s packed with fatty acids and vitamin D.

When my husband and I saw the locals eating herrings at the Botermarkt in Haarlem (voted the best small market in the Netherlands), we knew that this was the place to try one.

Traditional Dutch Foods You Should Try raw herringTraditional Dutch Foods You Should Try raw herring

The lady at the fish stall explained that she could either cut the fish into pieces, or we could have it the Dutch way, which is to grab it by the tail and eat it upside down. I picked the authentic way of course 😉 . As I was eyeing the herring in front of me wondering if I was going to end up with onions all over my face, the lady came up to us and gave me a tip: “Always use a napkin to grab the tail to avoid any unwanted residual smell on your fingers!”

Dutch Food_trying raw herringDutch Food_trying raw herring

The verdict – it was delicious! The texture was soft and a little silky, but in a good way. As for the taste, it was like eating very good sushi. We had a lot of spectators at the market smiling at us with approving looks as we threw our heads back to eat the herring. This was definitely a trip highlight for me. I highly recommend finding a good herring stall and trying this at least once while visiting Holland!


Traditional Dutch Foods You Should Try stroopwafelWhere do I begin, saying that I love stroopwafels is an understatement. A waffle pastry with gooey caramel filling in the middle, I can never stop at just one. My first stroopwafel was also at the Botermarkt in Haarlem, where the stroopwafel was handmade from scratch and served warm. Before leaving, I stocked up on a bunch!

Traditional Dutch Foods You Should Try stroopwafel

Dutch licorice

Traditional Dutch Foods You Should Try licoriceDid you know that the Netherlands has the highest per capita consumption of licorice in the world? Apparently each person eats more than four pounds a year. Known as drop in the Netherlands, the licorice section takes up a big chunk of Dutch candy stores, with classifications from sweet to salty and soft to hard. I’m not a fan of black licorice, but I tried a few anyway. Personally, I found the sweet ones pretty good, but enjoyed the salty ones much less. The verdict? I will trade drops for stroopwafels any time! 😉

Traditional Dutch Foods You Should Try

Thanks for reading et à la prochaine!



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  1. Karen says:

    At first I thought raw herring would be so gross, who would ever try that? Then you made the sushi comparison and I remembered what that is all about bahahahaha! Mmmm sushi!!!! Great pics 🙂

  2. Emmanuel says:

    So you’ve expanded your trips beyond the French border! Very nice…interesting that you chose the Netherlands! I can’t say that I share your enthusiasm for Dutch culinary delights…lol.

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