We seek out regional specialties. If there’s a food that we can only get in  particular place then we must have it. Here are some treats from Holland that we came across along with the locations where we had them.

herring, pickle, and onions

herring, pickle, and onions

There’ s a cart in the Albert Quyp market that sells this perfectly constructed sandwich. Fresh, raw herring,with a sweet pickle and raw onions. Usually raw onions make me an undesirable travel partner for several days, but these were so mild that Liz was kissing me within the hour.

maoz falafel

maoz falafel

I’m convinced that there’s something about American regulations on oil temperature that makes our falafel so inferior to falafel abroad. I remember Maoz from my first trip to Amsteram in ’04 when I consumed it every day for 4 days. It lived up to my memories. I haven’t been to one of the now several locations in the states (new york, san fran, boca, jersey) but that would be a fairly reliable test of my hypothesis.

pancakes with salami, onion, egg

pancakes with salami, onion, egg

Savory pancakes at the Pancake Bakery in Amsterdam. Not like your American flapjack – the texture was somewhere between a  Vietnamese pancake and a farinata. Very tasty.

smoked herring

smoked herring

Smoked herring from the Open Air Museum in Enkhuisen. You can get smoked herring or eel pretty much anywhere along the coast in the north of Holland. This one tasted good going down but stayed with me long afterwards.  Intensely smoky, and not as good as the fresh herring nor the smoked eel.

smoked eel

smoked eel

This was a winner. Buttery, oily, meaty, not too fishy, not too smoky. I went back for seconds.

smoked eel

smoked eel

bitterballen

bitterballen

Bitterballen. You can find these at pretty much any frites stand and bar in Holland. Flour, butter, and minced mystery meat fried to perfection, dipped in mustard, go incredibly well with a delicious beer.

profitjes

profitjes

Profitjes. Miniature pancakes, cooked up by the several dozen on a large hot cast iron plate with small individual indents in which to pour the batter. So light and fluffy. It’s a good thing we didn’t have these until our last day in Holland (in Gouda) because it would have been difficult to pass them up whenever we saw them (which was pretty much everywhere).

fried herring

fried herring

In Marken, a lovely once island now connected by highway town about an hour from Amsterdam, we came across the Dutch version of a clam shack. Many different varieties of fried fish, all plucked fresh from the Markermee, battered and deep fried.

frites

frites

And of course, frites. More of  a Belgian thing but the Dutch get it right too. All different types of mayonnaise and sauce served out of small counters along the streets of Amsterdam and everywhere else. The perfect fuel for a stroll around town.