Dutch Cuisine: Beyond Stamppot and Broodjes Kaas

When thinking of Dutch cuisine, many people have the word "bland" come to mind. While it is true that traditional Dutch cuisine typically holds little flavour and consists of mostly vegetables and a little meat, modern Dutch cuisine sees influences from all around the world, and that is what makes it much more appealing to the adventurous palate.

We'll take you through the most delicious Dutch dishes that will make you consider moving to the Netherlands in the blink of an eye.

Stroopwafels

You've got to hand it to the Dutch: they just know how to bake a good pastry. Probably the most popular Dutch treat is the stroopwafel - thinly-baked cookie-like cinnamon waffles joined together by a sticky sugar-syrup delight. Stroopwafels are typically enjoyed freshly made and warm but can be found in packets in any Dutch supermarket as well. Pair it with a cup of coffee or milky tea, and this Dutch treat will put you in sweet heaven. Over-indulging on stroopwafels is quite easy since you just can't get enough, which is probably why cycling in the Netherlands is so popular…

Bitterballen and Kroketten

If you've ever been to the Netherlands, you probably know that an after-work treat or borrel is super popular. And no borrel is complete without bitterballen and kroketten. Both are savoury bites that consist of a filling that has been crumbed and deep-fried to perfection - bitterballen comes in the shape of a little ball, while kroketten resembles a small sausage.

Although these snacks are traditionally filled with ragout, modern bitterballen and kroketten have a variety of tasty fillings that have been inspired by other culture's cuisine, such as Turkish meats, Asian-inspired beef, as well as loads of vegetarian-friendly cheese fillings. Some have seafood fillings, so the adventurous foodie can even expect an oyster-filled bitterbal to accompany their afternoon refreshments. Yum!

Haring

This one might not be for everyone, but it definitely does not lack adventure, nor is it bland. The Dutch tend to channel their inner penguin by eating haring (herring fish) and they usually eat it raw. If you're ever fortunate enough to live in the Netherlands, you'll have to get used to people taking a cleaned raw herring by the tail, tilting their heads back, and taking a big bite of the popular Dutch fish. If Dutch sushi was ever a thing, haring is it. Luckily, there are alternative ways of eating haring that are just as popular in the Netherlands.

The fish can also be pickled which allows for a tasty, sweet, and sour eating experience that is probably more welcome than the raw alternative. Whether you eat it pickled or raw, no person can say that they've properly experienced Dutch cuisine if they've not had haring.

Indonesian & Surinamese Influences

Colonial influences on Dutch cuisine include Indonesian and Surinamese foods that have become so popular in the Netherlands that some even consider them to be national dishes. Examples of such dishes include loempias (spring rolls), satay and satay sauce (grilled skewered meat and peanut sauce), as well as Surinamese broodjes or sandwiches. These dishes became popular in the Netherlands after Dutch colonialists and seafarers returned from Indonesia and Suriname, and introduced the Dutch to the relevant countries' recipes.

It is quite interesting that the Dutch took to these dishes as they did, as they typically favoured more subdued flavours and weren't fond of overly-spicy food. Nonetheless, anyone who has been to the Netherlands will tell you that there are Indonesian and Surinamese restaurants and eateries around every corner. And honestly, nobody seems to be complaining, since the food is insanely delicious.

Conclusion

As you can see, Dutch food is so much more than stamppot and dry broodjes kaas. The Dutch might not have a great track record when it comes to exciting traditional dishes, but they sure know how to produce mouth-watering baked goods and improvise on old recipes by adding international twists. So do yourself a favour and get your hands on one of the tasty treats above. And as the Dutch would say, eet smakelijk!

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