I was told that when visiting Amsterdam I should visit a couple of the many markets around the city where locals and tourists alike visit to shop, eat and socialise. The most highly recommended being a stroll to the Albert Cuyp Market.
Located in the 19th-century Amsterdam neighbourhood of Museumplein, the cafes and restaurants surrounding the 260+ stalls give the area a lively and varied character and are the perfect place to sit with a beer (La Chouffe or Wiekse) or a glass of red wine and partake in some people watching.
The Albert Cuyp Market opens Monday to Saturday from 9:30am until 5.00pm and sees a collection of street traders come together to sell a range of goods including fabric, clothing, jewellery, furniture and of course… food. Established in 1905, it’s the perfect place to sample some of the best dutch cuisine and pick yourself up a bargain. Named after a painter from the 17th century, Albert Cuyp, it is one of the most popular street markets in Amsterdam as well as the largest and oldest. Located a stone’s throw from the Heineken Experience and a ten minute walk from the Rijksmuseum. You can get to it by hopping on tram numbers 16, 24 or 25 from Dam Square but we try to walk as much as possible on city breaks to help us find our bearings and it’s also ideal for stumbling upon nice places to eat, drink or photograph,
5 Things to Eat at Albert Cuyp Market, Amsterdam
#1 PICKLED HERRING
A Dutch must eat is pickled herring which has been a staple dish since medieval times in Northern Europe. It’s inexpensive to buy (around 3 Euro) and can be picked from one of the many on the street Herring stalls around Amsterdam. Luckily for our Albert Cuyp food adventure, there’s a number of them to be found at the market. Pickled herring is raw, fresh herring that is cured using a two step process where firstly salt is used to extract water from the fish. The salt is then removed and the herring is pickled using a mix of vinegar, sugar and salt along with additional flavours such as peppercorn, bay leaves and raw onions. Pickled herring can be eaten alone or “met brood” which means with bread and is best served as a sandwich with onions and pickles. It’s an acquired taste (which I quite like, luckily) plus, it’s an amazing source of vitamin D3. Street food win!
If raw fish isn’t your jam, Kibbeling may be for you. Kibbeling is a Dutch snack which consists of battered and deep friend chunks of fish which is served with a mayo based garlic (like aioli) or tartar sauce. Kibbeling was originally made from cod cheeks, hence it’s name ‘kabeljauwwang’. This became ‘kibbeling’ over the years and because of the price of cod fillet, often white fish like pollock, hake, whiting or haddock. You can pick up a small or large serving for between 3-6 Euro, they’re fried while you wait and they’re a deliciously warm and crispy treat to dunk in your sauce (I went for tartar).
Stroopwafels are the best kind of waffels and perfect for a tasty snack. Served giant size and hot off the press at Albert Cuyp Market and for a couple of euro each, they’re a sweet treat synonymous with The Netherlands. Stroopwafels are made from a stiff dough of flour, butter, brown sugar, yeast, milk, and eggs with medium-sized balls of dough then heated using a waffle iron and pressed into the required uniformly thin, round shape. Once the waffle is baked, that is when the magic happens. While still warm, the waffle is split in half and then sandwiched back together with a warm syrupy centre made from syrup, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. You can buy Stroopwafels in the supermarket ready made and can be eaten cold (or warmed up I presume) but I found they were extra delicious fresh hot off the press of the iron of a waffle iron when the syrup is still warm and gooey. They also serve them dipped in chocolate.
Love pancakes? Love mini things? You’ll love Poffertjes. Pofferjes are mini Dutch pancakes that are made with yeast and buckwheat flour which help to create a lighter and spongier texture than a flat pancake. The Poffertjes batter is poured into a cast iron or copper pan with shallow indentations in the bottom and then flipped until golden brown. They’re then traditionally served in portions of 2-12 with a good old chunk of butter and powdered sugar. You can also choose to top them off with syrup, chocolate sauce, cream, fruit or if you’re partial to alcohol + desserts like me, a splash of orange liqueur.
#5 GRILLED CHEESE
Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese. Wheels of cheese, melted cheese, cheese on toast, however you like your cheese, The Netherlands is the place to cheese. Sorry, be. At the market you can get your hands on wheels and blocks of cheese which probably aren’t the easiest thing to transport if you’re travelling. Unless you plan to transport them using your belly, which I did. We found a grilled cheese stall which offered many a cheesy triple layered rustic sandwich. We opted for The Hamster (HAMSTERdam. Get it?) which is cheese, ham and another layer of cheese. Oh man, it was so good. There’s also plenty of cheese to be sampled as you wander around so keep your eyes peeled.