Amsterdam is for Breakfast Lovers

Excuse me, will you open your bag? I swore in my head and handed my contraband over to the airport security officer. I had been trying to smuggle Schenkstroop, a popular Dutch pancake syrup with a deliciously caramel-like flavor to it, back to Spain with me. After spending a weekend enjoying various street food in Amsterdam, I wished I could take some of their heavenly breakfast concoctions home.

Stroopwafel

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At a stroopwafel stand at Lindemarkt

Stroopwafels are made of two pieces of very thin waffles filled with sweet syrup. If you get them fresh made and eat them while they’re hot, like at this market booth, they melt in your mouth wonderfully!

Homemade Pannenkoeken

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Pannenkoeken the way Mama Magid makes them

Itamar, my host, treated me to homemade pannenkoeken made with his family’s recipe. Thinner than the American version, Dutch pancakes are somewhere in between a French crepe and fatter IHOP pancakes. Itamar topped them off with Schenkstroop and powdered sugar. Delicious!

Poffertjes

CIMG8288Hot poffertjes at Lindemarkt

When I took my first bite of one of these, I actually thought for a moment that I had been hit by a bike, died, and gone to Heaven. These tiny, fluffy pancakes can be ordered by the dozen and come covered in powdered sugar and butter. Absolutely sinful.

CIMG8286According to the internet, Poffertjes aren’t too difficult to make, but I’ll need to find one of these special pans, first.

2014-02-23 11.50.35I loved poffertjes so much that I went on a mission to find myself another round of these amazing mini-pancakes on my last morning in the city. In a grocery store on the hunt for Schenkstroop, I asked a friendly Dutch lady to translate some labels for me and point me toward the nearest pancake house. On her recommendation, I headed to breakfast at De Carrousel, a charming pancakes house whose decor is complete with a small carrousel in the center of the dining room. The poffertjes there confirmed my newfound obsession with Dutch breakfast food.

Chocoholic Waffle

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Chocolate-drenched waffle at the famous Albert Cuyp market

While this waffle was pretty similar to waffles in the US, I definitely appreciated the smiling waffle makers dousing my waffle in three types of melted chocolate and assuring me, “You don’t have to feel guilty, we’re all chocoholics, too!”

Herring

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 Watching my herring be prepared by this friendly Argentine expat

While raw herring doesn’t fall squarely into the Breakfast Foods That Threaten Your Waistline category, this infamous Dutch snack is popular on the streets of Amsterdam. Technically lightly brined, not raw, the fish is served with onions and pickles – either in pieces and eaten with a toothpick or in a broodje haring, sandwiched in bread. While I wasn’t drooling over the herring as much as I was over the pancakes, I did enjoy the typical snack.

Returning to Spain, where a typical breakfast is some toast with oil and a cup of coffee, and pancakes are a foreign concept, I found myself longing for these Dutch treats. One thing was clear to me – Amsterdam is a paradise for breakfast lovers!

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