Sorry, this is not an astronomic guide to Dutch restaurants. It is just meant to help hikers and bikers to make a choice when you enter one of the many villages and small towns to find a place where to eat something. I will describe some of the more interesting choices.
Since the end of the forties in the last century we lost Indonesia as a Dutch colony. In that time many people who have lived in Indonesia came back to Holland. They introduced the Indonesian kitchen. `Nassi Goreng` soon became very popular. The Chinse people entering the country got the mesage. Many of them started relatively cheap restaurants, serving dishes from a mixed Indonesian-Chinese kitchen.
They still exist, but don't expect to get the real Indonesian of Chinese food here. Altogether what they serve is nice and you can choose form al large menu. Prices range from Euro 10-20 for a course.
When you order dishes they ofter you a choice to eat it with rice, nassi goreng or bami goreng. Nassi goreng is this form is rice with a little bit of egg, bacon and vegetables. Bami goreng is the same, but with noodles instead of rice.
At the table you always will find Sambal Oelek, which is a very hot red pepper sauce from the Indonesian kitchen. You should not use it if you order Chinese dishes. You also will find a dark brown soya sauce, normally ketjap benteng, which is a sweet soya sauce. Use it modestly with Indonesian dishes.
Some popular dishes:
- Nassi goreng: Fried rice with some meat or chicken
- Bami goreng: like nassi goreng, but with noodles instead of rices
- Fu Yung Hai: Omelet with meat or fish
- Babi pangang: roasted porc
- Tjap tjoy: boiled vegetables, with or without meat
- Kroepoek: crispy side dish a bit like chips but made from sea food
- Loempia: Roll filled witch vegeatbles and meat. (Tip: cut it open and put some ketjap on it)
- Saté: sticks with chicken or porc meat and sauce made of peanut butter.
By the way: there is no need to eat with chop sticks.If you want, them you must ask for it. Most restaurants also have a take-away department. (look for the word "afhaal" or "afhalen").
Especially in The Hage, in the centre of town you find a large number of real Chinese retaurants. My limited experience is that you sit aroud a round table wtih a turn table on top of it. You order some dishes and share them with your company. Tea is very popular as a drink in these restaurants. If you wnat to eat more, just order some extra dishes. I think you may find some of these restaurants as wellin Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
If you see a restaurant that claims to be Indonesian, you are very lucky. Watch out that they say nothing about Chinese food. I really recommend to try. Food tens to be very spicy, so you must be a bit careful. You should order "rijsttafel" (rice table). They will serve you 8-12 Indonesian dishes.
Especially in the rural parts and more tourist parts of the country, you may find restaurants focussing on pancakes (Dutch: pannekoeken). Pancakes are baked from white flour, milk, some eggs and salt. Sometimes they will put other grains into it for a better taste. A good combination is pancake with bacon and sugar sirup ("spekpannekoek"). Also the combination with apple and raisins tastes excellent. Your kids will love it!.
So always look for `pannekoeken` if you go for lunch somewhere.
Eetcafé means something like a pub also serving food. Normally they will serve cold lunches with bread and salad. They also will serve soup and warm meals. These may vary from very simple to luxury dinners with restaurant quality. The common element is the informal atmosphere, you may appreciate as a hiker.
Pizzerias and Italian restaurants
Most Italian restaurants focus on pizza and simple Italian noodle dishes. If you want to eat real Italian food, look for restaurants not using the tern Pizzeria. This is not a guarantee, but it increases your chances.
In most towns you may encounter Greek restaurants. They serve similar meals you would get when eating in a simple Greek restaurant is Greece. Usually they serve big portions of food of reasonable quality. The big disadvantage is that most of them serve the same courses, the same cabbage salad, the same glass of Ouzo. So, for once in a holiday it´s OK, but nothing more.
The Dutch consider McDonalds as a luxury snackbar. Snackbars focus on fried food. Pommes Frites with some sauce, kroket (delicious, try it especially with bread!). They also will sell soft drinks, bear and ice creams. Don't expect healthy food here, but it still may taste well. Warning: never order something they have ready in the vending machines they somethimes have. They may just pick your order from the vending machine and you will be eating a half cold kroket, which tastes horrible.
A new invention is `Kapsalon` If you are extremely hungry, just give it a try, it provides enough calories for a whole day!
There are many exciting things to say about Dutch food. To create a starting point, this page informs you about the major Dutch eating habits. It will be followed soon by pages about specific Dutch treats, like hagelslag, stroopwafels and hutspot. Curious? read on then.
The Dutch kitchen has emerged from a relatively simple kitchen to an internationally oriented kitchen. This should not be surprising. Holland is a trade country and especially after the sixties of the last century many immigrants enriched our kitchen. Also the Dutch can afford holidays abroad, which helps a lot to get to know other styles of cooking.
Dutch breakfast can be anything between a cup of coffee, porridge, yoghurt, and bread with butter, jam, meat, cheese (yes the famous Dutch cheese). We drink milk, coffee or tea with it. Sometimes orange juice and fruits.
Lunch normally consists of bread, butter, meat, cheese, jam, milk, coffee, tea etcetera. So hot meals are not very common. Sometimes soup will be served. In pubs and restaurants you can in most cases buy a simple or luxury sandwich. Also they will serve half warm meals. Some examples:
- Uitsmijter: bread with 2-3 fried eggs and bacon.
- Tosti: fried bread with cheese and bacon (crocque monsieur)
- Broodje kroket: bread with a fried ball consisting of flour and some meat (delicious!)
Dutch tend to get hungry at six pm. So dinner is relatively early. You should take that into account if you want to eat in a restaurant. Most people will arrive between 6 and 8 pm. If you want to eat later, you should inform in advance till what time the kitchen will be open.
As said the Dutch kitchen has an international orientation. Traditional ingredients are boiled potatoes, a small peace of meat or fish and some vegetables, mostly boiled. Now you may get anything, Itallian pizzas and pastas, chinese food, Indonesian Nassi Goreng, mexican dishes, Spanish paella etcetera.
This also is reflected in the assortment of restaurants. I will write about that on a separate page.
If you like to tase traditional Dutch food with a Dutch family at home, try Homefoodholland. You can register on this site, express your wishes and they will try to find a Dutch (amateur) cook to prepare a real Dutch meal for you.
The Dutch have lot of delicious stuff to eat with your breakfast. If you visit Holland, you really should try some of them. All articles mentioned are available in any Dutch Supermarket. Normally you find them all about the same place near the bread, coffee and tea stands.
Biscuit rusk or Dutch rusk is like a complete;y dry toast. The Dutch like it at breakfast, put some butter on it and then one of the things mentioned below. It is very crispy light eat able. Some Dutch prefer to eat it with cheese. This is also OK of course. You buy them in any supermarket, packed in roles. Handle them carefully, they may break easily.
Hagelslag consists of small staves of choclate. the choc;ate is covered with a very thin sugar layer. They taste a bit crispy. You can buy them in milk chaoclate flavour and pure chocolate flavour. Sometimes you will see fancy flavours like mocca or caramel als well. For kids there are versions containing "funnies" small eatable figures mixed with the choclate. Especially nice to eat on "Beschuit" Hagelslag meails something like hail.
Chocolate flakes are a variation of Hagelslag. They consist if flat thin pieces of chocolate. Less crispy and more expensive, but worth trying both on your bread or on beschuit.
Muisjes (mice) are very popular as well. On the package you will read texts like "vruchtenhagel" (fruit hail) or "anijshagel " ( aniseed hail). The Dutch normally will call them "muisjes"(little mice). The name stems from the birth mice. These have similar size and consist of aniseed seeds covered with blue, rose and white sugar. These are served normally when a child is born on beschuit. Our mice are different. They consist of sugar, flavoured with fruit or aniseed. Also very good on beschuit.
Pindakaas, or peanut butter consists of a paste of peanuts. It smells a bit dirty and looks dirty as well (light brown).Many Dutch love it.During recent years many variants appeared. Pindakaas with pieces of peanuts, with Sambal Oelek etcetera.
Chocolate paste is a paste like peanut butter, but now chocolate is the basic flavour. You eat it on bread, instead of butter. Kids love to combine it with hagelslag as well. Variants may contain hazelnut paste.