Exploring traditional Dutch dishes

Denise Kortlever, Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ask a Frenchman about typical French food and you will probably hear all about croissants and bouillabaisse. Spaniards will praise their nation’s tapas and Italians are set on their “pasta di mamma”. But what about Dutch food: is there such thing as traditional Dutch cuisine? The answer is Yes, and the popularity of these dishes seems to be growing.

Over the last few years, artisan, local products and traditional granny dishes have enjoyed increasing popularity. A classic example of such a traditional Dutch dish is ‘stamppot’, a potato and vegetable mash that is often served with sausage on the side. Favourites include varieties with kale (‘stamppot boerenkool’) or carrots & onion (‘hutspot’). Another classic is ‘draadjesvlees’, a fall-apart tender beef stew with cloves and bay leaf, slowly simmered for hours.

A great place to try this type of simple comfort food is at restaurant Moeders (‘mothers’) in Amsterdam. The interior is a bold mix of vintage cutlery and plates, walls covered with pictures of moms and a slightly chaotic, but inviting atmosphere. If you are on a tight budget, Hap Hmm is a good choice. This restaurant serves old-fashioned Dutch dishes at extremely affordable prices and a full meal will cost you less than ten Euros. Try old comfort food favourites like granny’s meatballs with boiled potatoes and ‘stoofpeertjes’ (stewed pears). At Loetje you can enjoy large, traditionally cooked steaks (‘biefstuk’ in Dutch, with ‘traditionally cooked’ equalling ‘in lots of butter’). They are often claimed to be the city’s best and are served with gravy, bread and fries. These three restaurants are the no-nonsense and unpretentious places to visit when you crave a straightforward, traditional Dutch meal.

Typical Dutch dishes and local ingredients are taken to a higher level at Greetje’s. This classically decorated restaurant is the best place to enjoy dishes like grilled sugar bread sandwiches with duck liver terrine and apple syrup (‘appelstroop’), served with a side of cinnamon dusted applesauce and some liquorice ice cream for dessert. Visit pretty little spot Gartine for a Dutch breakfast or lunch, with specialties like ‘wentelteefjes’ (French toast) or sourdough with 'likkepot’ (liver sausage).

Bon appetit!

Moeders, Rozengracht 251, Amsterdam
Hap Hmm, Eerste Helmersstraat 33, Amsterdam
Loetje, Johannes Vermeerstraat 52, Amsterdam
Greetje, Peperstraat 23, Amsterdam
Gartine, Taksteeg 7, Amsterdam