Food & Drink

Amsterdam Eats: the Good, the Bad, and the Raw Herring

  • February 24, 2017

When you think of Amsterdam, you don’t typically think of it as a foodie destination. Or at least, I didn’t. But as I was doing research before my trip, I found a number of food tours that were offered around the city. Always the budget-conscious traveler and planner extraordinaire, I decided there was no reason I couldn’t create my own Amsterdam food tour. Here’s the route that I dreamed up, which departs from the Van Gogh Museum after building up an appetite all morning:

Van Gogh Museum
Paulus Potterstraat 7, 1071 CX

1) Albert Cuyp Market (raw herring, cheese, stroopwafel)
Albert Cuypstraat

2) FEBO (fast food/vending machine snacks)
Leidersestraat 94

3)Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx (Belgian fries w/ lots of sauces)
Voetboogstraat 31, 1012 XK

4) Frens Haringhandel (raw herring, closes at 5)
Koningsplein 1017 AW

The total distance of this tour is 3.8 km, and takes about 50 minutes to walk. The good news is that you’ll be eating plenty along the way to keep up your strength.
The first stop of the tour is the Albert Cuyp Market, where you can really find just about any Amsterdam foodie delight you’d like. After finding out that Frens Haringhandel was closed the week that we were there (sad face – Anthony Bourdain had been there), we decided to try the raw herring at this market instead. 

This is a pretty typical way to serve raw herring (from what I saw, at least), and included herring, raw onions, and a pickle served on a hot dog bun. In the interest of full disclosure, I was not super jazzed about trying it.

But try it I did, and well, I checked it off my list. Don’t need to eat it again, though, thank you very much!

I really needed to cleanse my palate after that, so I decided buy a wedge of Gouda from one of the market’s many cheesemongers.

Last stop at the Albert Cuyp Market: stroopwafels.

Two ultra-thin waffles are sandwiched together with a  layer of caramel, and are topped off with any number of sauces, drizzles, or crunchy bits. We went the deliciously safe route of a healthy spread of fudgy chocolate sauce. It was perfection.

At this point in the tour, you may find yourself becoming a bit heavy. But onward you must plow, as you have many kilometers of eating before you sleep.

Our next stop was FEBO, which is a chain of fast-food restaurants in Amsterdam beloved by stoners, tourists, and stoned tourists alike.

Here’s how it works: you can either order your food at the counter like a normal person, or, if you find yourself unable to handle human contact, head to the Wall ‘o “Food” instead.

Here you can choose from any number of deep-fried delights simply by adding coins to the machine, and opening a magical door. This vending machine/fast food model has proven very successful in the city.

Nothing really appealed to me here, but I’m all about diving deep into the experience. So I threw in a couple euro, and opened the door to this cheese croquette, which was about as good as you’d expect it to be.  

I recommend coming here for the experience, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s best enjoyed not-sober.

Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx, the Belgian fry restaurant, sadly was closed when we tried to go (at this point, I may have been ready for a break anyway, but a food tour guide never admits defeat). So, after confirming they were closed and already having had our herring, we rolled ourselves home.

If you’re interested in doing a food tour in Amsterdam, save yourself the money and DIY. While I didn’t adore everything that I ate, I felt like it was a good introduction to the city’s cuisine!

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