Shall we go Dutch?

A few of the quintessentially Dutch dining experiences

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This month’s Dutch road trip was a true culinary adventure, from fine dining to midnight feasts. Here are just a few of the quintessentially Dutch dining experiences we sampled, which you absolutely need to make part of your next visit.

Oysters

One thing the Netherlands isn’t short of is sea – you might even say it has a surplus. So it’s hardly surprising that the nation’s native oysters are some of the best in the world. We hit Oesterij, just outside of Rotterdam, which offers punters a selection of oysters from all over the world. We naturally went for the home grown options, and have no regrets; these are honestly some of the best, freshest, meatiest oysters I’ve ever had. Optionally garnish with a drop of lemon or a dash of white pepper, and enjoy while looking out over the harbour’s ‘resting beds’ full of the day’s catch. Classy.

PHOTO: Robyn Gilmour

Bitterballen

There’s a surprising amount of variety in the quintessential Dutch beer snack. The basic recipe consists of a roux, into which is added beef, onion and spices. This is then formed into balls, crumbed and deep fried. People seem to pick up that formula and run with it in all sorts of interesting directions though. The best we had was at Kompaan in The Hague. Top snack, and we’re frankly astonished that Scotland hasn’t appropriated it.

PHOTO: Adele Juraža

Croquettes

Another extremely popular snack on these shores, the Croquette shares its DNA with the bitterballen, being essentially a deep-fried, roux-based, meat delivery system. The meat in question here though tends to be veal rather than beef, and they're medium sausage-shaped, rather than spherical. The inside of an authentic Dutch croquette is hotter than the surface of the sun, so smart locals often smoosh theirs onto a slice of fine Dutch bread before eating.


Kapsalon

Reputedly delivering the entire daily recommended calorie allowance for an active, grown man, the kapsalon is basically an act of self-harm in a foil dish. It was also our first meal after landing, in a ‘snack bar’ called Donor Heaven. On a bed of French fries, you have a thick layer of fried shawarma meat, followed by melted mild cheese. Heat this up, add hot sauce and iceberg lettuce, and let the wondrous kapsalon cure what ails you. Unless what ails you is congestive heart failure, in which case probably just order the salad.

PHOTO: Amin (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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