Walk the chic Jordaan district with your local guide, who will take you to cafés, shops and street vendors to taste some of Amsterdam’s traditional delicacies.
With your guide leading the way to the best options, you’ll have a chance to try bitterballen, a fried bar snack best enjoyed with a fine Dutch or Belgian beer. Stop in at a cheese shop for a private tasting and explore the deep Dutch tradition of cheesemaking.
Out and about, you’ll find food stalls dedicated to things both sweet and salty. At a fish stand, you can try a typical Dutch staple like herring with onions or smoked eel. Fish and chips is also a popular choice, made with cod fresh from the North Sea.
Fluffy, sweet poffertjes are also available at many street vendors. These tiny pancakes, risen with yeast, are most delicious with the simple additions of butter and powdered sugar.
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel before you head to the Jordaan district for your tour. Located just to the west of the city’s concentric canal rings, it was originally a residential area built for immigrant workers — many fleeing religious persecution — in the 17th century. Now the Jordaan is known as a chic area, lined with tall narrow houses along red-brick streets. There’s plenty to taste, and you can do it in any order, walking from cafés to shops to street carts to grab a bite of all the delicacies that fuel Amsterdam’s many walkers and cyclists.
You’ll stop in a local café to try bitterballen, the preferred bar food of the Netherlands. The small spherical snacks are made from a thick stew of beef or lamb, though cheese and vegetable ones are also available. The thickened stew is shaped into balls, breaded and deep-fried. Despite the name, they don’t taste bitter at all — their name comes from the spirit the Dutch originally enjoyed them with, genever. These days though, bitterballen are most popularly accompanied by beer.
One thing you’ll see plenty of in the Netherlands is cheese, usually in large wheels, covered in red or yellow wax. On your tour, you can stop in at a cheese shop to have a private tasting. Learn about the types of cheese produced in the region, and taste the range of creamy to crystalline that comes when you age Gouda for different amounts of time.
If you have a wish for fish, you can stop at a fish stand to try some of the most traditional dishes drawn from the North Sea. Dutch herring with onions and smoked eel are two of the most typical offerings, but if you’re not feeling that adventurous, Amsterdam also serves up great fried cod.
On the sweeter side, you’ll have a chance to try poffertjes, tiny pancakes made with buckwheat flour and served with butter and powdered sugar. Light and fluffy puffs baked in a special pan, these round street-food treats are thought to have been developed by Catholic monks seeking a more appealing recipe for the sacramental host. Now, they’re a traditional holiday treat, though you can enjoy them year-round.