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Trying Out Dutch Cuisine: The Good and The Bad

Updated: Jun 14, 2022

Let's talk about something most people absolutely enjoy...FOOD! Being of Asian descent, I've been spoiled with top-notch cuisine all my life - Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, and of course, Filipino... I obviously grew up loving these types of food, so when I moved to Europe back in 2018, I was in for a huge culture shock.

But it's not just any type of European cuisine we're talking about - it's Dutch. And really, is there even such a thing as Dutch cuisine?

Before I share with you my personal experiences about the food I found "lekker" (delicious) and the ones I'm happy to skip (bleh), let me give you a bit of background.

The Netherlands Adopted Other Cultures Cuisines

The Dutch were colonizers and conquered the world's spice trade during the 17th century Golden Age Era. But curiously enough, they did not manage to introduce spices into their own foods.

Instead, they adopted cuisines of their former colonized countries, most famously Indonesia. You can find a lot of Dutch-Indonesian fusion recipes that have come to be considered national dishes throughout the country.

You'll also discover influences of Jewish, Turkish, and Suriname cuisines - all surprisingly diverse and a must-try while in the Netherlands!

But What is Traditional Dutch Food?

If you ask me, an average Dutch person would happily live off with bread, cheese, and potatoes. Seriously, they can eat this every day. The Dutch are known for their frugal nature, and this may go the same way for their diet.

However, there are a lot of gastronomic delights that can surprise you, most especially their snacks and desserts. Below I'll share with you some top examples of traditional dutch food, how they look like, and my personal rating!

Warning: some mouthwatering images & descriptions coming your way. 😋


traditional dutch bitterballen


The Dutch version of croquettes. Typically eaten as a meat-based snack, they are packed with thick meat stew and deep-fried to perfection. Word of caution - extremely hot so don't bite too quickly!

My rating: LEKKER! 👍

raw herring - image src:

Raw Herring

This Dutch delicacy is not for everyone, especially if you hate the taste of raw, salty fish. They say it's best eaten with onions and bread to balance the taste. Give it a try, if you dare.

My rating: PASS! 👎


Literally translated as "Mash Pot", it's basically a combination of potatoes, sausage, and vegetables. The best ones are the homemade ones; don't buy them in the supermarket or you'll regret it!

My rating: OKAY 👍



Probably one of the Dutch's best food inventions! This delicious wafer cookie is best served warm, especially with a cup of coffee. You'll love the caramel filling and cinnamon flavor.

My rating: LEKKER! 👍


These mini Dutch pancakes will give you all those nostalgic feels. Typically eaten on cold winter days, the fluffy, sweet, and soft pancakes sprinkled with sugar will surely make your worries disappear.

My rating: LEKKER! 👍


Chocolate sprinkles are nice, but chocolate sprinkles on bread!? Only in the Netherlands. Hageslag comes in many different flavors & varieties, but it's a popular bread topping for breakfast!

My rating: LEKKER! 👍

The Verdict: Good or Bad?

If you've been paying attention, most of my ratings are actually Lekker, which means I do enjoy a lot of Dutch food (at least, for the sweets).

So what would make me say Dutch cuisine to be bad compared to other cuisines? Well, it can be boring - especially if you're forced to eat mostly bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dairy also seems to be a big thing here are as well - although it won't be too bad for you if you're used to drinking milk and indulging yourself with cheese (which I came to love!).

In the end, every country offers something unique and delightful, and the Dutch obviously don't disappoint. I do enjoy making rice and hot meals every often (especially now that I get to cook more at home), but I've also come to appreciate the simplicity of Dutch eating. It's not my favorite cuisine, but making a quick (yet healthy) meal has never been easier.

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