Notes from the Netherlands

Notes from the Netherlands #9: My Favourite Dutch Foods

Note from the Netherlands

Notes from the Netherlands is my feature where I discuss my time studying at Leiden University. I want to blog about this amazing experience as much as I can!

So I realised that whilst I’ve talking about what I’ve been up to here in the Netherlands, I haven’t reflected much on differences and other new things I’ve discovered. This is something I’m aiming to cover over the next few months, because there’s only a few months left already…

And what’s more fun about a new country than the interesting food?!

I haven’t tried everything I wanted to just yet. Most of it has been sweet stuff… but here’s some things you should definitely try if you ever visit this wonderful country. It’s all totaal lekker!

1. Stroopwafels

Lekker! (image source)

Lekker! (image source)

Ahh, that Dutch classic. Stroopwafels are waffle biscuits with caramel in the middle and are delicious with a cup of tea – especially when you balance them over the mug so that they soften and the caramel melts. Be warned though – dropping an entire stroopwafel in your cup of tea is a very traumatic experience, not at all gezellig. You can also get warm ones from the market which are AMAZING.

2. Erwtensoep

(image source)

Erwtensoep is a pea soup that normally also contains smoked sausage, potato and carrot. It is absolutely delicious and I’ll really miss it when I leave the Netherlands! It’s warming and fills you right up, although I have yet to try a homemade version.

3. Mergpijpen

Evil, yet delicious. (image source)

Evil, yet delicious. (image source)

Evil yet delicious, mergpijpen are little sponge cakes filled with a layer of jam, then covered with marzipan and chocolate on either end. I only discovered them recently and it’s BAD. THEY ARE TOO GOOD PLEASE TAKE THEM AWAY BUT ALSO DON’T.

4. Babi pangang

(image source)

(image source)

Okay, so Babi pangang is an Indonesian dish, but Indonesian cuisine is really popular in the Netherlands, and I’ve never seen this at home. It’s a delicious pork and vegetable dish, served with rice. Next step: actually get round to visiting one of the many Indonesian restaurants in Leiden, and trying it there…

5. Speculoos paste

A LITTLE JAR OF LEKKER (image source)

A LITTLE JAR OF LEKKER (image source)

Another food that I hate as well as love because once you start you can’t stop, Speculoos paste is a sandwich spread made from speculaas biscuits. Yep. Made from biscuits. So you can imagine how bad it is for you – but it tastes SO GOOD.

6. Komijnekaas

(image source)

Komijnekaas is a Dutch cheese, historically from Leiden, that contains cumin. It sounds like a really odd mix but actually the two work wonderfully together: the creaminess of the cheese with a kick of spice from the cumin.

7. Turkse pizza

(image source)

Again, not strictly a Dutch food, but you can’t get Turkse pizza back in the UK as far as I’m aware. It’s my favourite kind of kebab and perfect after a night out.

Have you ever tried any of these? Do you have anything to recommend?


16 thoughts on “Notes from the Netherlands #9: My Favourite Dutch Foods”

    1. Yeah apparently it’s going international now, you can buy it in the UK too! Which is even more dangerous, because it means I can get it wherever I go… D:

  1. Yaaaay! Babi Pangang! Definitely try it from a restaurant, also Foo Yong Hi and proper Indonesian peanut satay as they do it in a really nice thick sauce rather than the thin spicy stuff you get from UK Chinese takeaway.

    Erwtensoep and komijnkaas/brandnettlekaas/nagelkaas is all amazing πŸ™‚

    Have you tried oliebollen yet? πŸ™‚


    1. Yesss, thank you for introducing it to me ❀ So delicious! I think when my parents visit we'll go to one of the Indonesian restaurants here, so I'll be sure to try it then.

      And nope, no oliebollen! They're more of a Christmas thing though, aren't they? Which means I've missed them.

  2. wauw,
    such a great blog post.
    I’m from the Netherlands and of course have tasted all the above.
    I really like the sweets we have as well.
    btw, my boyfriend’s brother studies at leiden, i study at uni in vlissingen, maybe you know it:)
    i can recommend you 2 more things to eat, if you love turkse pizza, you’ll love a kapsalon as well (it’s with dΓΆner or kebab) suuuper yummy!
    also try pepernoten, they’re really great as well.

    have fun studying! πŸ˜€


    1. Thanks Claire πŸ˜€ And yes, I know Vlissingen, I often end up on trains going there when I’m heading to The Hague πŸ˜‰

      And my friends often have kapsalon, it looks really good too but it’s so much food! And pepernoten are delicious, I totally forgot to add them to the list – I ate waaaay too many of them at Christmas.

  3. Mmmm, stroopwafels πŸ™‚ Also had some speculoos in the past and really liked those too. Those other foods you listed looks yummy too, will have to try those out when I visit the Netherlands one of these days πŸ˜€

    1. Yep, the biscuits are called speculaas and the paste is speculoos, don’t know why it’s spelt differently but both are delicious! I think speculaas are more common around Christmas time though?

      Definitely try everything if you ever visit here, haha πŸ˜€

  4. Every time someone I know travels to the Netherlands, I beg them to bring me Speculoos paste. It’s my crack! But it’s actually good I can’t get it here because I’d probably eat it all the time.
    Those mergpijen sound so delicious! I’ll eat anything with marzipan.

    1. It’s deadly! I will have to actively avoid it when I go home, because apparently it’s appearing in British supermarkets…

      And mergpijpen are amazing, I keep telling myself not to buy them but nope, I keep doing it. Oops.

    1. Haha always happens! I stopped buying them for that reason, then tried stroopkoeken, did the same with them and then moved onto mergpijpen… it’s a good thing I joined the gym when I got here.

  5. I have tried all of these ;), except for Babi Pangang as I am a vegetarian or maybe I ate it as a kid before I became a vegetarian, but I am not 100% sure. I don’t like Erwtensoep and Komijnekaas, but I love Stroopwafels, especially warm from the market, yum!

  6. I love stroopwafels, but I think I like stroopkoeken even more. No poffertjes? I’m surprised, I would say that is one of our yummiest things πŸ˜€ Mergpijpen, delicious! I like the small ones πŸ™‚

    1. Oh I forgot them, I really love them too πŸ™‚ And I forgot poffertjes too, I’ve only had them a couple of times though.

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