What do Dutch people eat? A guide to Dutch kitchens: Part 1

Italians have pasta, the French have “escargot” and frog legs, and Japan has sushi. But, Dutch people often tell visitors “there’s no real Dutch cuisine!”

While it’s true Dutch food has failed to creep its way to international success alongside pizza and chow main, Dutchies seem to forget all the weird and wonderful food that lays in their kitchen at home.

Some aspects of Dutch culture might be easier to adjust to than others, this is also the case with Dutch food. With this complete guide, you won’t only Dutchify your kitchen but also learn some of the key elements to the Dutch of living. After all, you are what you eat!

Grocery List: Eat as Dutch People Eat

Pindakaas and Pindasaus

Dutch people eat pindakaas
Helaas Pinderkaas. Image: Shutterburg75/Pixabay

Dutchies love peanuts, so much that they are everywhere from toppings to soups to sauces. Pindakaas means peanut butter, but don’t confuse it with the American version of this spread. In the Netherlands, it is less sweet and often crunchy. To be a true Dutchie, buy the biggest jar you can find.

Pindasaus is a warm and runnier version of pindakaas, you can make your own by adding coconut milk or cows milk to pindakaas. It is best enjoyed with almost everything from fries to meat, so don’t be shy!

Hagelslag

These little sweet sprinkles are hard to miss in any Dutch supermarket where can find a large range of flavours stacked in every aisle. Flakey ones, thin ones, coloured ones and the ones that for some reason have muisjes (mice) on the package.

First of all, don’t panic. You can ease your way in with the plain chocolate ones and work your way up to the fruity ones. Enjoy the muisjes at baby showers and let the baby’s gender dictate whether it’s pink or blue! 👶

Tip: First, spread a generous amount of butter on your bread. Then, add the hagelslag to your liking. Enjoy it at any time of the day, no matter your age.

Drop

Speaking of candies, how could we forget drop? These black coloured liquorice candies are an acquired taste, so be warned. There are about 80 different kinds of this treat and you can take your pick from salty or sweet ones with different levels of hardness.

Our advice is to start by pinching a couple off of your friends before you purchase a whole box. The day you find yourself reaching for that drop jar in your kitchen is the day you can officially call yourself a Dutchie. Start training now!

Filet Americain

As you can tell from this list, Dutch people love spreading stuff on their bread. Their favourite choice is usually an unidentified spread mostly containing mayonnaise that hopefully tastes better than it looks. So far so good. But then there is Filet Americain. It is a spread that contains raw meat, capers, onions, mayonnaise and seasoning. Delicious!

Although there are some heated arguments about how healthy it is to consume raw meat these days, Dutchies eat this like there’s no tomorrow. Intrigued? Enjoy this delicatessen on bread with sliced raw onions or boiled eggs.

dutch people eat filet americain
Filet Americain: More than “meats” the eye. Image: Marion Golsteijn/Wikimedia Commons/GNU1.2

Curry Ketchup

When it comes to condiments in the Netherlands, you can never go wrong with throwing some mayonnaise on your food. But, having some curry ketchup on the table is sure to impress any Dutch visitor. You can often find huge bottles of Hela brand curry ketchup in a two-for-one korting.

Cheese knife and potato masher

Cheese and potatoes are the undeniable stars of any Dutch kitchen. Therefore, a proper cheese knife and a potato masher are very, very, important. The cheese knife is more of a scraper than a blade, and as one Dutch person told me “it’s to make sure you don’t take too much cheese,” (ah, those Dutchies). 😂

Meanwhile, a kitchen without a potato masher would be like a kitchen without a stove for this potato-eating-nation.

dutch people eat cheese sliced with cheese slicers
An iconic Dutch kitchen tool. Image: Yvwv/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Seasonal Faves

Twinkling lights, a man dressed as Sinterklaas in a funny hat, and people dressing the controversial figure of Zwarte Piet – sounds like December in the Netherlands. If you step into any supermarket this time of year (or apparently any time from October) it is hard to miss the section with festive cookies, chocolates and even costumes.

Kruidnoten are sweet-spicy round small cookies. CAUTION: do not eat these unless you want to finish the whole bag (with a side-helping of regret). These deliciously addictive biscuits are traditionally thrown by Zwarte Piet at children

Pepernoten are chewy, square-shaped cookies that are often very hard and threaten to break your teeth. After purchasing the biggest bags of cookies, it is always fun to buy some delicious chocolate letters to give friends and family or even enjoy yourself.


So there you have it, some staples for your Dutch kitchen. To get one step closer to eating like a true Dutchie, check out part two of this series!

Anything we left off the typical Dutch shopping list? Let us know in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in August 2017, and was fully updated in March 2021 for your reading pleasure.
Feature Image: NastyaSensei/Pexels 

Ceren Spuyman
Born and raised in Istanbul, Ceren moved when she decided to follow her own Dutchie. Being restless by nature, she is now busy with everything Dutch by majoring in Dutch Studies at Leiden University while living in Delft. Her hobbies are petting as many cats as possible.

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