Whenever I visit a new place, I like to check out the local markets. Admittedly, this usually boils down to the supermarket, because I’m lazy and don’t always plan ahead as much as I should. Luckily Little Sister is not, and on our recent trip to Amsterdam, she looked up not one but two must-visit foodie attractions in the form of food markets.
The first, the Albert Cuyp Market, had both the sorts of food stalls you’d find at a farmer’s market (and lots and lots of herring) as well as some prepared food spots where you can grab a snack. This is where we found the cone of fries with mayonnaise depicted above, a must-try for any Amsterdam visitor.
(A nearby tour guide let her tour group know that these fries, from Patat Pietersma, are the best fries with mayonnaise in the city. Win for us.)
There was also a stand selling only grilled cheeses (the aptly named Greg Monsieur). After checking out their offerings, including a strange combo of peanut butter, apple, and cheese, we ended up with the scallion version, made to order on slightly sour country bread.
One thing you’ll see a lot of in this market are people selling chicken (and describing it as lekker, which means delicious and is one of my new favorite words).
Chicken might seem like an odd street snack, but the butchers at Benny’s Chicken have capitalized on the foot traffic and therefore sell not only whole fryers and chicken pieces for cooking at home, but also chicken sandwiches and these super tender chicken skewers with satay sauce.
Of course, a visit to this market wouldn’t be complete without some poffertjes (which my friend Emese aptly calls simply “tiny pancakes.”)
One order of freshly made poffertjes from Poffertjes Albert Cuyp comes with ten puffy pancakes that you can have topped with all manner of things including sugar, jam, Nutella, and whipped cream.
The next day, we went to the covered Foodhallen market, a completely different (but no less delicious) experience. This market was not only decked out with dozens of food stalls, it also had several bar options, from gin & tonic to craft brews to wine.
After doing a round of the market, we decided to try these bitterballen – literally, “bitter balls” – a local staple from De BallenBar. One order gets you three balls, and we ordered two: plain beef and tom ka gai, which Thai food enthusiasts will recognize as a delicious chicken-based soup.
These meatballs are like nothing you’ve tried before. The inside is silky and soft, while the outside is crisp and crunchy from deep frying. And definitely pay fifty cents more for the mustard mayonnaise; it’s perfect on the meatballs, and any left over goes great on fries…
… which we obviously procured in the form of this perfect cod fish and chips from The Butcher (and yes, I was surprised at first too, because this stand seems to be mostly famous for its burgers, but trust me.)
I usually won’t even order fish and chips if there’s no malt vinegar, but this one was so tender and flaky with a perfectly crisp crust that I didn’t even miss it. (And yeah, that aforementioned mayo made up for it in the condiments category).
I’ve learned my lesson: from now on, I’ll be looking, not for supermarkets, but for prepared food markets when I travel.
Albert Cuyp Market – Albert Cuypstraat, 1073 BD Amsterdam
Foodhallen – Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam