Marc reckons the best herring is to be found at the original “Vlaardingse Haringhandel” truck in the Albert Cuyp market whilst others insist that the trucks that pull up along The Netherlands wonderful coastal beaches are the best.
Whilst I have to agree that some of the best fish I’ve ever had in The Netherlands has been from a truck that drives down the sands of Zandvoort on a Summer day, for me the VERY best herring is not found at the beach or in Central Amsterdam at all but from a shop called Volendammer Visspecialist H. Schilder in a nearby suburb of Amsterdam called Amstelveen. They’ve twice been awarded best fish specialist in The Netherlands and last year Best Independent Retailer in the country. Their herring, in fact all their seafood, is exceptional, click on the link for more.
That said, nobody leaves the food truck in the Albert Cuyp market disappointed and you’ll enjoy a herring from any stand you happen across anywhere in the city.
Herring is one of the things Marc really misses about not living in The Netherlands. And before you turn up your nose at the idea, it’s basically sushi (ok, brined but similarly “un-fishy”) and is buttery soft and utterly delicious. Order it in a “broodje” (a soft or chewy roll) with pickles and onions for the ultimate sandwich on the go, or for a true Amsterdam experience have it served on a paper plate, sliced into bite sized pieces, sprinkled with onions and pickles and eaten with a Dutch toothpick flag.
Elsewhere in the Netherlands they grab the (filleted and headless) fish by the tail, dip in onions and lower it straight into their mouths though perhaps give that a miss for your first experience!
Traditionally May to July is considered the best season for ‘nieuwe haring’ and in June there are feasts to celebrate the new season of fish but I’ve honestly never had a bad herring from a fish cart at any time of year.
Wherever you try yours, in a soft roll or chewy one, plain or with pickles and onions you won’t be disappointed with this most Dutch of specialities.