Amsterdam Food: A Reflection

Something odd happened whilst in Amsterdam. A weird feeling came over me one afternoon whilst I was reading in a local eetcafé, sipping on a drink of bitter lemon and enjoying a light lunch. I believe the feeling is called “relaxing”, something I apparently haven’t done in quite some time.

Typically when I travel, I have some sort of agenda, whether it’s to visit a local food producer of some sort, or perhaps head to a nearby museum or attend a local festival. But this trip was different. Sure, there was stuff I wanted to do, but I didn’t need to do anything. So, by the start of the second week of my vacation, I believe I actually had a few days where I had no responsibilities to anyone but my immediate self.

It’s interesting to see what I did in these times, when any obligation that I could define would be only to my sense of joy and pleasure. What did I end up doing? Well, I walked around the picturesque city a fair bit. I also finished four different books.

Oh, and I took pictures of food.

Re-read that last sentence and let that sink in. I had no obligation to anyone other than myself…and I still took pictures of the food I was eating.

*shrug* It’s either this or collect ceramic figurines of cherubs. I think I’ll stick with this.

What to do with these products of my obsession? I might as well share them with the public at large.

Let me state up front that the pictures and editorials below should not be construed as a true reflection of Dutch cuisine, but rather more of a pictoral essay of things eaten and learned by yours truly during the two weeks I stayed in the fine city of Amsterdam. Let’s get things started:

Breakfast: Let’s get this one out of the way immediately, shall we? Breakfast doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal in Amsterdam. There are basically four types of dishes one can find for breakfast. The first is a Dutch Egg Breakfast (pictured above) seems to have some similarities with the German approach to the first meal of the day, what with the slices of cheese and cold cuts. The second is what we would term a Continental breakfast, which is really nothing more than a croissant and coffee. The third is an English Breakfast, which are clearly for the tourists and should be avoided at all costs, especially if one is a fan of truly great fry-ups. They will only leave you disappointed.

The fourth category of breakfast are dishes that aren’t really breakfasts per se, as they are often available well into the lunch service. Things like omelets, quiches, and yes, even Dutch Pancakes can often be purchased well until 2 pm every day of the week. This is a good thing.

A quick word about Dutch Pancakes: They’re not as thin as crepes, but thinner than American pancakes. Much like crepes, they can be had with either sweet or savory ingredients. The actually texture of the panckae comes across as sort-of, kind-of like a crust from a thin crust pizza, except not as crisp. I found them good, but not great, which is saying something, because I generally am not a fan of American pancakes. I’ve heard that they are aimed at tourists as well, but I’ve seen evidence of them in local, non-touristy cafes as well, so that may or may not be true.