Amsterdam Food Tour // Review
Even after living in the Netherlands for three years I was excited to take part in the Jordaan Amsterdam Food Tour. The tour includes twelve food tastings over the course of four hours. You’ll get the chance to sample most of the well known foods in Dutch cuisine. Although we’ve run across many of these in our daily life in the Netherlands this Amsterdam food tour makes sure you’re sampling some of the best prepared food in the country.
Although we live in the Netherlands I tend not to spend a lot of time in Amsterdam. I headed up to the city with a girlfriend to take part in the tour. The 11am start time ended up being a bit of a challenge for us and we arrived a few minutes late with the whole tour waiting for us. (Oops!) We had a seat and drink orders were taken while everyone introduced themselves. Most of our tour group were other visiting Americans. It was a bit of a break to have some other Americans to chat with throughout the tour. I ordered a Coffee Veerkeerd, which literally means “wrong coffee,” and consists of half hot milk and half drip coffee. Others in the group chose tea or water to get started.
The first thing we were served were Poffertjes. They were served in a large bowl with a huge scoop of butter. Poffertjes are a huge staple in my house. These were good, but not as delicious as if you get them right from a street vendor. These tasted like the ones I reheat at home. I’m not sure there is anyway to turn out ten bowls of these all at once. I also found the serving quite large – six of these is usually sufficient! They were still delicious though and a great way to start off your morning.
We walked a few block and let everything digest. Our guide told us about the neighborhood and things we were seeing along the way. The Jordaan is a great neighborhood in which to stroll. It is away from the tourist rush and most of the time we were alone on side streets. We ended up at a great fishmonger.
This was actually the stop I was dreading. Raw herring is a dutch delicacy. The only thing the Dutch love more than the herring is watching tourists try it. In the past I’ve been told to eat it holding it by its tail and stripping the fish from the bone. I was nauseous just thinking about it. However, I had vowed to try everything on the tour without complaint so I followed our guide’s advice to add a pickle to the herring and take a bite. I was pleasantly surprised. It was actually quite tasty. I won’t be ordering it any time soon, but I can certainly understand the appeal. Of note, the first time Jeff tried herring, his buddies convinced him to eat it tail-and-all. Jeff’s gag reflex kicked in and he couldn’t get it down. Advice: Don’t eat the tail!
Next we all got a shot of Dutch Tulip Bulb Vodka. This was a new one for me and a bit early in the day, but it was quite smooth.
Also at this stop you get some kibbeling which is just small pieces of fried fish. We often pick up kibbeling at the local market but this was much lighter and less greasy. It was really delicious. Even if you’re not taking the food tour I would reccomend stopping by Urker Viswinkel to try some kibbeling.
Next we hit up a little bakery where we were served stroopwafel. These thin caramel waffles are best served warm from the grill. There wasn’t a local market so instead they were heated in an oven and served to us. I’ve eaten so many here that I can barely stomach the sweet smell anymore. These were good enough, but I really encourage people to go find one at a market – they are so amazing fresh.
Our guide came fully prepared with visuals. While we waited for food he filled the time with descriptions about life in The Netherlands. Much of this information was relatively new to me, particularly as it pertained to Amsterdam.
Next we were off to an Indonesian restaurant. Indonesia is a former Dutch colony. Although colonial days are over the Dutch love to claim some Indonesian dishes as their own.
We were served two types of dishes here which both were basically sate.
I had not had it served this particular way while here, despite having ordered sate at many restaurants. It was a lovely mix of flavors. The store is quite small but busy so it was the least comfortable stop on the tour, but the food was tasty!
We got cozy in the back of a bar where beers and borrel snacks were waiting for us. Here we had a chance to rest and enjoy some Brand beer. Brand beer is brewed in South Limburg in the oldest beer brewery in the Netherlands.
We were also treated to some bitterballen. These meat-based snacks are fried balls of meat roux. I was skeptical of them when we moved here, but now I don’t pass them up at a party.
While we enjoyed these bar snacks we heard all about the Kings Day tradition of placing billboards on the side of buildings that poke fun at the King. The bar has photos of all the previous years so it was fun to see how it had evolved as materials and computer editing made it easier and easier to create large lifelike photos.
I was looking forward to the stop at the cheese store. We sample new cheeses every week at the market and it’s something I never get tired of. Gouda is sold based on how long it has aged. It is roughly divided into young, semi-young, semi-old and old. Sometimes you can find extra old.
We were served a selection of aged Goudas so you could really taste the difference aging makes. We also had fig loaf, a little treat I really enjoy. Candied ginger was also included on the platter.
The stop at the organic butcher was visually quite appealing, but I tend to shy away from cured meats so I’m not a good judge of the taste or quality here.
We were presented with a meat platter of four different cured meats. I sampled two of the four. They were good and everyone on the tour seemed to really enjoy them.
I wandered the store a bit and took some photos. Weirdly, I find butcher shops to be really pretty. I love the idea of all the bits of meat being processed and used in one space. When I purchase meat I like to use a local butcher, something that is quite easy to find in the Nehterlands.
Our final stop was at Cafe Papeneiland for a piece of Dutch apple pie. Again this is a favorite for me and this piece was delicious. Americans are always a bit disappointed as the pie is not sweet like American pie. The apples are layered with a cake-like topping. The Dutch enjoy these slices of pie all day. It’s not uncommon for us to order one at 10am with a cup of coffee to start the day or as an after school snack. This slice of pie was one of the best I’ve had.
We also had the choice of a beer, coffee or water at this final stop. Most everyone chose a beer and enjoyed chatting while sipping an Amstel (just a stone’s throw away from the Amstel River).
We were incredibly full when we left, so this tour will easily substitute a meal or two. You’ll want to bring some water along with you. Although drinks are provided on the tour several stops do not have water. You also cover quite a bit of ground on the tour so make sure you wear your walking shoes.
We were inspired when we left and ventured off to explore more of the neighborhoods we had just wandered through. You can see my photos from around Amsterdam here.
If you’re are planning to book a food tour at any of the places that Eating Europe offers a tour you can use the code “Rudolph” for 10% off your booking. It is a wonderful way to spend some time enjoying a city and tasting some amazing food.
We were guests of Eating Europe for the purpose of putting out this review. As always all opinions are my own.