By Mike Kerr
When I arrived in Amsterdam one of the first things I noticed was how much the city is dominated by food. The variety of options is huge, but my favourite for walking around a city, and getting a bite to eat quickly are all of the stalls and stands. While there are still the North American chains providing fast food in a sit-down experience, the local options are specifically designed to cater to those on the go.
My personal favourite (and an mandatory stop on any visit to the city) is Manneken Pis, humorously named after the Peeing Boy statue in Brussels. Located right on Damrak just North of Dam Square, Manneken Pis is known best for one thing: paper cones filled with fresh hand cut french fries. They offer a variety of sauces but for the true Netherlands experience, mayonnaise is the best choice. Be sure to take some extra napkins with you, as once you finish the fries visible from under the blob of sauce, some digging is required. If you choose to enjoy your fries at the park across the street, there is a chance you will be hoarded by birds and might find yourself fighting for a meal.
FEBO is a Dutch based fast-food vending restaurant, and with more than 20 storefronts in Amsterdam alone, they aren’t hard to find. The first time I saw one, I had no idea it was a restaurant until I saw someone pull a burger out of one of the unforgettable vending doors. There is an incredible selection of items like burgers, fries, and FEBOs signature croquettes that are all prepared and shipped daily by FEBO’s own production centre. While the storefront can seem a little daunting, quality and cleanliness are FEBOs strongest traits. You may find on occasion that the item you are looking for isn’t there, but odds are, it will be before you know it. You can also order drinks and other snacks at a counter. For speed of service and short (or nonexistent) lines nothing beats FEBO.
When your taste buds are calling out for something sweet, check out one of the city’s croissanteries. Most locations have a similar variety of treats, but my favourite is René’s right on Damstraat to the West of Dam square. I find the biggest problem to be picking what you want, there are so many options of fresh and packaged items it can almost be overwhelming. I haven’t walked by ever to find it closed, which helps to encourage my waffle-drizzled-in-chocolate obsession.
Two delicacies that can’t be missed are found back in Dam Square outside the Royal Palace at a street vendor. Poffertjes (poff-er-chuz) are Dutch-style pancakes traditionally served with butter and icing sugar. Portions are available in 1 or 2 dozen servings, and are great as a light after dinner snack with a friend. At the same stall you can find Stroopwafels, two delicious thin waffles with a layer of hot syrup between. You can find these in other stores in a box, but nothing beats a warm fresh waffle strooping all over your face.
When I’m feeling a little more adventurous with my eating habits, a great spot to go is Stubbe’s Haring. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but raw herring on a bun is actually really delicious. In the summer months the fish is at its prime and tastes great. To help those with a more delicate palate, toppings like onion and pickle are available. As with any fish watch out for small bones, and be sure to go with a friend, you don’t want to waste any leftovers.
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Destination Wedding – Amsterdam
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Rotterdam – Gateway to Europe
Gnoshing in Brussels
The Best Tomato Soup I Have EVER Experienced (and other good eats in Poland)
Pasta in Paris, Brunch in Blue – My guide to finding good eats