Snacks (borrel)

Not really street food but not something that fits neatly into any other category here either, the Dutch love to go out for “borrel” – essentially a drink after work with friends accompanied by (mostly fried) snacks.  Although the weather in Amsterdam is basically the same as in London one of my favourite things about the city is that almost every restaurant, cafe and bar has outside seating.  On a sunny evening you’ll see groups of friends enjoying a selection of the following snacks along with a couple of beers or a glass or two of wine:

  • Bitterballen or Kroketten – The best are from Patisserie Holtkamp or Van Dobben (both brands are available around the city as well as from their own venues) and are basically a mixture of a kind of soft mashed potato and veal ragout, breaded and fried.  Bitterballen are round, kroketten long (the picture is a classic kroketje)
  • Kaasstengels – Filo-wrapped deep fried sticks of cheese
  • Loempia’s – Deep fried spring rolls
  • Frikandel – I suggest you avoid this at all costs.  It is basically minced meat rolled into a long sausage-shaped hot dog and yes, you guessed it, deep fried
  • And because by now you’re almost certainly deep-fried-out you can order a few non-fried items including cubes of cheese and the ‘super-lekker’ (ie: delicious!) Ossenworst, a type of lightly spiced and sliced raw sausage

Looking for the best place to try borrelhapjes?  Any brown cafe will do such as t’Smalle or Papeneiland.  We like the terraces of some of the Grand Cafe’s such as De Ysbreeker and Wildschut, or sit at the bar of our beloved Loetje and enjoy one of everything over a glass of wine or beer.

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