Going back 20 years ago and Amsterdam was such a different place. I think it's normal when time goes by for things to change, right? But with food...it's like a different city. You'd only find "bad" pizza by slice places and very few international cuisine restaurants.
It's a general trend now, food is becoming THE experience. It's not just the millennials, it's everyone. People are willing to pay for a food/restaurant experience way more than before. People are willing to pay for "better" food products. They're more open to food than 20 years (or even 5 years ago).
And the interest and development seem to be growing daily. The quality and variety of food are amazing. There're a few new vegan restaurants or vegan "fast-food" places, plenty of "healthy-ish" options, new world cuisine, and so much more which I'd never think I'd see in Amsterdam years ago. And everyone has something new to add. There's plenty of food places to explore and we're never bored of trying new flavours and dishes. Breakfast and lunch places are on the high providing great food as well. Years ago you could only find the usual pancake/toast places. Now they’re serving the “experience”. Instagram and SM, in general, have something to do with that, especially with those lunch places and the health food industry. It’s all so Instagram-able.
But there're a few things you still see around just like 20 years ago. Some of them stayed almost the same (read old-fashioned traditional cafés and snack-bars), some offer the traditional snacks but changed their brand to reflect the "new aesthetics".
So the majority of the food scene in Amsterdam is identical to what you find in every city around the world. I feel we share the same food scene, with variations depending on the cultural influences, but still the same experiences.
But there're a few of the traditional Dutch snacks that you can still find today.
The famous Dutch fries (which are actually “invented” in Belgium) and everything fried. They’re something between fries and oven fries lol. They're thicker and bigger than the regular french fries. They're served with different toppings. The most common is mayonnaise. YES, we eat almost exclusively fries with mayonnaise.
The Pulp Fiction scene says it all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f24DOkYMa6o
Peanut butter sauce is another favourite, ketchup, raw onions, and sometimes cheese.
There're many places selling french fries in paper bags, they're often called snack bars and they sell other Dutch "delicacies" like frikandel (a sort of sausage you don't want to know what's in it), kaassoufflé (cheese in thin dough)and mainly more fried food, and more fried food.
The raw herring that we eat with raw onions on top. It's often marinated in vinegar, or wine, with sugar or herbs. It's definitely one of the "healthy" foods here considering that the fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Well, cheese is always here but it's not that we eat cheese all day like people think. You have this small cheese cubes that we do eat a lot though and mostly during a borrel (drinks gathering with tapas) or parties. You can find this cheese at every party. And that goes also for bitterballen which you can find in almost every traditional bar. They are small meatball snacks served with spicy mustard.
There're way more fried snacks we have but I'm not going to post about all of them. And of course, pancakes are a classic together with hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles on a slice of bread!) and smeerkaas (soft cheese spread).
So if you’re visiting Amsterdam be ready for an amazing culinary experience. Things are constantly changing but the food marvel is here to stay.
Sofia is an Amsterdam based editor, copy & content creative, and certified fitness trainer. She writes about lifestyle choices, fitness, good food, and seemingly spontaneous success moments.
If you need to know more: sofiasimeonidou.com