I am a self-professed street food connoisseur.
As a traveler (or human in general) who is perpetually on a tight budget, street food is the most cost-efficient way to try a country’s local foods. In a lot of cities, street food is really its own culture, anyways, and has grown to be a large part of the city’s local cuisine as a whole. Portland, for instance, is famous for its food trucks and food truck courts. People don’t just go to them because they are fast and cheap; they go to them because they are a staple in the city, and because they are good.
Here are some of the Amsterdam street food staples that I’ve experienced so far.
(Yes, I ate all of these things. Yes, I’m sure I can eat them. No, I haven’t forgotten I’m diabetic, but thank you for the reminder. While we’re at reminders, I’ll just put it out there that I probably know more about my own chronic illness than you know about my chronic illness. A perk of having one, I suppose! Nothing personal!)
There is nothing not to love about mini pancakes covered in powdered sugar and a big slice of butter. These are actually surprisingly hard to find on the street, but a few places I’ve run across them are the IJ Hallen Market, the Dam Square Carnival, and the Albert Cuyp Market.
(or French fries) in a cone with mayo are classic, and can be found literally everywhere. Or, if you’re feeling frisky, try the famous Oorlog Frites, topped with satay sauce, onions, and mayo. They are so good.
Although herring is technically the famous street food fish in Amsterdam, I just can’t bring myself to try it. It still weirds me out. But most fish stands and shops also sell other things, like these fried fish bites with tartar sauce.
Although FEBO isn’t technically street food because it is from a shop, I would dare say it is more street food-y than most street food. You are literally buying a warm sandwich out of a vending machine for less than 2 euros. And you know what? They are damn good, as are FEBO’s frites. If you want to try another Dutch staple, pick up a kroket: a breadcrumbed fried food roll stuffed with mashed potatoes and ground beef. It kind of tastes like deep fried gravy in the best possible way.
Similiar to the kroket, but bite-sized, these are less typical as street food and more often a bar snack. But at the Amsterdam Food Hallen, De BallenBar serves tons of creative, unique varieties of bitterballen. The one pictured above is goat cheese! Bitterballen is served with mustard.
Oliebollen (literally, Oil Balls) are a holiday street food. They are deep-fried dough balls, which you can get with or without raisins, and are served with powdered sugar. Imagine a giant, unglazed doughnut hole, and that’s pretty much what an oliebol is.
Hot dogs are pretty popular here. Sometimes they advertise them as “American hot dogs,” but they use a different, larger type of bun here. Also, are FOUR DIFFERENT SIZES of hot dogs really necessary?
Like poffertjes, big, warm stroopwafels can be more difficult to run into. But you must. And you must get it dipped in chocolate. They. are. delicious. A couple places to find them are the Albert Cuyp Market and, while its here, the Dam Square Carnival.
Ok, again, not really street food, but close enough. Also, free. There are tons of cheese shops in Amsterdam, and most of them offer free samples of the many different varieties. Some of them, like lavender or wasabi, can get kind of weird. But kind of good…
This is less of an “Amsterdam street food” and more of a “Basic Carnival Food Everywhere in the World,” but I’m a big fan of this specific stand because it’s really cute, and I also like the Dutch word for cotton candy, suikerspin: sugar spin.