Snacking Like Dutchies

Dutch cuisine is ordinary and uninspiring. With boring main dishes like rookworst, stampot, and snert, it is no wonder that the Dutch prefer to fill up on snacks. During our month in North Holland, we also discovered that it was much tastier to skip the main courses and just snack like Dutchies.

Kibbeling Joe

Nibbling on kibbeling

One famous Dutch food that we avoided was pickled herring. The last time we were in the Netherlands, we tried herring and found the smelly raw fish to be slimy and repulsive. This trip, we opted instead for its enticing deep-fried cousin, a battered white fish called kibbeling.

Es Fries

Esther and her favorite fries with mayonnaise

The most common snack in the Netherlands is the french-fried potato. Cut thick in the Belgian style, they are double deep fried, and served in a paper cone with your choice of sauces. Mayonnaise and peanut sauce are the most common toppings. Asking for ketchup would only peg you as an American tourist.

Febo Joe

Buying a dubious fried snack from coin-operated vending slot

The juiciest and most “wholesome” deep-fried snacks are made to order at snack bars throughout the Netherlands. If you are famished and can’t wait, you can also buy fried snacks of questionable freshness out of coin-operated vending slots.



After eating all these snacks Immersed in boiling fat, we were dying for a salad. The closest thing we could find was a multi-layered invention called a kapsalon. It turns out that the nutritious greens are just a thin veil covering an unhealthy bed of fries, shawarma meat, and melted cheese.


Bitterballen and beers

By now, we were thirsty for a couple of cold Dutch beers. Like true snack addicts, we paired our beers with an order of bitterballen. This ultimate beer snack consists of deep-fried soft meaty balls with a crunchy breadcrumb coating, and served with a side of spicy mustard.

Kroket Claire

Claire eating a kroket (croquette) with spicy mustard

When we thought we couldn’t eat another bite, our daughters Claire and Cassie came to visit us. With their enthusiasm and appetites, they joined us like battlefield reinforcements in our snacking campaign.

Apple Tart Cassie

Esther and Cassie enjoying a hot chocolate and piece of apple pie

Fortuitously, the girls arrived just in time for dessert. The Dutch have a strong lineup of sweet snacks. Probably the most well-known and widespread is Dutch apple pie. Dutchies will travel across the province for a good cup of coffee and a nice piece of apple pie smothered in whipped cream.

Tompouce and coffee

Tompouce (more difficult to eat than it looks)

Whipped cream is also the central ingredient in another dessert called tompouce. This rectangular confection consists of two layers of puff pastry, smooth pink icing, and sweet yellow cream filing. Biting down on a tompouce is delicious, but because the soft cream filling always squeezes out, it is notoriously messy to eat.

Pffertjes man


If two sweet snacks were not enough, we made a final stop for poffertjes, another delightful Dutch dessert. These fluffy little pancakes were made before our eyes, and served with a lump of butter and smothered in powdered sugar.

Coja Snacks

Typical snack bar

Rolling through the Netherlands our diet has included a surplus of fried and sugary foods. With no appetite remaining for rookworst, stampot or snert, we have avoided these bland and lifeless options and have survived instead by snacking like Dutchies.

Drop Hand

The Dutch eat more black licorice (called “drop”) than anyone else in the world.


Blogger’s Note: Tomorrow, we move on for the next month to the small town of Moordrecht (near Gouda) in the province of South Holland. Tomorrow is also my warm-hearted and high-spirited mother’s 84th birthday. Happy birthday, Mom!

Feature Photo: Joe eating a fricken frikandel


22 thoughts on “Snacking Like Dutchies

  1. Whoa! I like fried food now and then, but YIKES! Even the “salad” is covering more heart-stopping treats. When we travel, we try not to think about our diets either… there is plenty of time when you return home to make amends. Besides, calories don’t count when you are out of the country (…right?).

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s right, Janis! At home, we are very careful to eat a balanced low-fat diet. On the road, we try to sample the local fare, no matter how healthy it is. Here in the Netherlands, the fried snacks and sweet desserts were very enjoyable. After completing our first month here, we have had our fill of junk food and plan to go back to more fresh fruit and veggies.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You have very good taste, Jess. The bitterballen are best with spicy mustard and a cold beer. In fact, they are considered the national beer snack. They are the perfect finger food, with their crunchy outer layer and soft and warm interior filling. I really enjoyed the bitterballen, but all the snacks and desserts were very tasty and interesting to try.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just when I thought I saw something that looked green and fresh…
    oh my god Joe! that’s so much of fried food.
    The desserts look delightful.
    Your post made me curious and I looked up on wiki for the Dutch cuisine. Look what I found: “Traditionally, Dutch cuisine is simple and straightforward, with many vegetables and little meat: During the twentieth century, Dutch cuisine and diet changed. Influenced by the eating culture of its colonies (particularly the Dutch East Indies), it became more cosmopolitan and most international cuisines are represented in the major cities.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the additional insights, Deepa. It is true that traditional Dutch cuisine is simple and that the influence of its former colonies really added a lot of flavor and complexity. We have had Indonesian food several times, and really enjoyed its spices and variety of fresh ingredients. For Esther’s birthday, we went out for an elaborate Indonesian “rice table” dinner. The meal consisted of various rice preparations and about twenty different vegetable or meat side dishes. Afterward, there was little room left for one of those delightful Dutch desserts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Whoa, plug all those goodies into your left ventricle!!! The apple pie and licorice would do it for me, but all that fried food…thank goodness for those Dutch bikes! 😂

    Looking forward to reading about the next segment of your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is hilarious, guys! I hope all our bike rides cancelled the ill effects of the fried snacks and rich desserts. I expect that my doctor will let me know when I get home. The black licorice in the Netherlands is excellent. It ranges from soft and gummy to hard and firm, and from pleasantly sweet to super salty. Although chewing on licorice is suppose to be healthy for your stomach, it also gets really stuck in my teeth. That will give my dentist something to yell at me about too.


  4. Joe, you and Esther have not held back on the Dutchie snacking extravaganza and rightly so, since you are on holiday after all. Leave the healthy eating for when you go back home. In any case you are spending a lot of calories riding your bikes and exploring, so you need some extra energy hahaha. How lovely that your daughters have managed to join you on this trip. Do they speak Dutch? Keep having fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your defense of my criminal eating habits, Gilda. Ironically, the more fried food I ate, the faster my bike would go. The short visit by our daughters was the highlight of the month. Although they do not speak Dutch, they are both budding polyglots. Claire’s degree is in linguistics, and Cassie is heading over to Florence to study Italian for a month. In Holland, they spoke more in their first day than I did for the entire month.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think I got a stomachache just looking at the pictures (fried food is not my friend), but the apple pie and licorice look like something I could handle.
    Though seriously, I have to ask, what the heck is snert?! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Pepto Bismol is my constant travel companion, Christi. After sampling all those snacks last month, I never want to see another french fry as long as I live. Snert actually tastes better than it sounds. It is basically a thick split pea soup with chunks of smoked sausage. We enjoyed it on the occasional cold and rainy day. I am happy to hear that you are a black licorice fan. If you have a chance to try the Dutch version, you will quickly become addicted. You can buy it on Amazon and probably in Pella, Iowa.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I admit I like french fries far more than I should, but still, I would get very tired of a diet that didn’t include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Now I know why the Dutch spend so much time riding on bicycles! They are working off all that fat….. And it explains why during my only trip to Amsterdam when my husband and I stopped at a local bar/restaurant for a snack, we ended up ordering the chicken strips (fried) with french fries. There really wasn’t a whole lot of healthy things on that menu!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s never easy to eat healthy when traveling, Ann. Here in the Netherlands, with all its fried snacks and sweet desserts, it is especially challenging. Our apartment has a small kitchen, and the grocery store is close by, so we have also sampled some of the local fresh fruits and vegetables. Nevertheless, the snacks and desserts are tempting, and for the sake of this post, I forced myself to try them all. Ahh, the plight of the travel blogger!

      Liked by 1 person

    • As you know Dave, sampling the cuisine in your travel destinations is enjoyable and a major part of understanding the culture. Here, in the Netherlands, this includes a long list of desserts and deep-fried snack foods. We have also regularly enjoyed rookworst (smoked sausage), stampot (mashed vegetables and potatoes), and snert (thick split pea soup). These warm and hearty main courses have begun appearing more regularly on restaurant menus as the cold and rainy fall weather moves in.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Cristina! HEMA has the best Tompouce, but it took me several servings to figure out the best way to eat it. Pressing down on the top with a fork or picking it up and biting down on it just caused the cream filling to squirt out. Slicing it lengthwise through the cream worked better but was still messy. Finally, I turned it on its side and pressed down on it with a fork. This worked like a charm.

      Liked by 1 person

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