Traditional Dutch Food
Many people want to try out some of the local food options. Ask a local what he would recommend - and he will probably tell you that it isn't that special. Dutch people aren't a very proud people - especially when it comes down to food.
One exception to this is cheese. Which is probably why the dutch town of Gouda, famous for its cheese, has gained such popularity around the world. Other town name that have become synonymous with cheese are Edam and Maasdam. And we could say the same thing about the beemster Region. There are many varieties. There are a number of shops in the city center where you can try different types of cheese - and that is something we definitely recommend.
If you tell the local that there must really be at least something else he can come up with, he'll probably mention stamppot or hutspot. Of these meals meals of potato is the main ingredients. It basically is mashed potatoes with some cooked kale, sauerkraut, onions, carrots, envie or leek mixed into it. Oftentimes it is served with some meat on the side.
Apparently people came up with hutspot (potatoes with onions and carrots) during the Dutch resistance against the Spanish. In 1574, the inhabitants of Leiden were starving as their city had been under siege for a year. When the Spanish forces realized they were not going to win, they left behind piecies of carrots, onions and meat. People made this into a big mix. Hence the name huts (meaning 'mix' in Dutch) and pot (meaning 'pot').
Another quintessentially Dutch cooking habit is to fry stuff. When going to a bar, many people will be eating kaasstengels or bitterballenwith this drinks. Kaasstengels are simply sticks ('stengels' in Dutch) made of cheese ('kaas' in Dutch). Bitterballen are the smaller, round version of a kroket (which people typically buy at friterias) and consists of meat beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper.
Other popular savoury snacks people buy at friterias are the frikandel, which is a stick made of minced-meat (which looks like a hot dog without the bun). Vegetarians may instead want to opt for a kaassouflé, which is snack made of cheese that crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside (hence the soufflé).
Vegans may want to have a bamischijf. This is a Dutch modification of something that was initially imported from the former Dutch Indies (modern day Indonesia). The bamischijf is a crunchy snack that's filled with a Dutch modification of a Chinese-Indonesian noodle dish bakmi goreng.
If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to try out one of the Dutch pancakes. This is something will typically eat for breakfast or for lunch. They are known for being very flat and quite large. Typically Dutch pancakes are often cooked with cheese, ham, raisins, apple or banana on top. People will put some stroop (Dutch for syrup) and poedersuiker (with 'poeder' being Dutch for powder and 'suiker' being Dutch for sugar).
A similar snack are poffertjes. Poffertjes are made of pancake mix as wel, but are much smaller - a few centimers (or about an inch) wide.
Lastly, one typically Dutch sweet snack that you have to try are stroopwafels. 'Stroop' is Dutch for syrup and 'wafel' speaks for itself, although these are much harder than the typically Belgian waffles. We do recommend them, but we do have to warn you: they are addictive.