A plate containing different warm and cold snacks, like blocks of cheese, slices of sausage, bitterballen, perhaps something like chicken nuggets or mini spring rolls, and mustard or chili sauce for dipping. one usually orders a bittergarnituur along with alcoholic drinks, from which the name of the dish is derived translated to english "bitterganituur" would become "dutch gin garnish".
The Netherlands is not known for its cuisine, but hearty Dutch fare can be quite good if done well. A conventional Dutch meal consists of meat, potatoes and some type of vegetable on the side. The Dutch, however, are known for their specialties and delicious treats:
Dutch cheese is particularly famous, especially Gouda, Edam, Leerdammer, Maaslander and Maasdam.
Some of these "typically Dutch" foodstuffs taste significantly different from, but do not necessarily improve upon, specialties from other countries. For example, while Dutch coffee and chocolate can instill feelings of homesickness in expats and might be seen as "soul food", fine Belgian chocolate and Italian coffees espresso, etc. are considered to be delicacies.
Other seasonal food: Pepernoten, Kruidnoten, taai-taai for the Sinterklaasfeest at 5 december, kerststol at christmas, paasstol at easter, oliebollennew years eve.
Vegetarians should not have any major trouble. 4.5 percent of the Dutch population is vegetarian and most restaurants have at least one vegetarian option on their menus or can make you one if you ask for it. Most supermarkets sell vegetarian products or even have a part of their supermarket dedicated to vegetarian products. It is advisable to specifically mention what you do and do not eat meat, fish, dairy, eggs as not everyone has the same definition of vegetarianism. Finding a vegetarian option in a fast food restaurant might provide more of a challenge. Chip shops that sell veggie burgers are the exception rather than the rule; chips and kaassoufflÃ©s are often the only options.
As Dutch people usually eat Dutch food at home, most restaurants specialize in something other than local fare. Every medium-sized town has its own Chinese/Indonesian restaurant, often abbreviated as Chin./Ind. restaurant, where you can eat a combination of Chinese and Indonesian dishes. Usually you get a lot of food for a small amount of money. Do not expect authentic Chinese or Indonesian cuisine though, the taste has been adapted for Dutch citizens. These restaurants have been influenced by the Dutch East Indies currently Indonesia from when they were a colony of the Netherlands. Typical dishes are fried rice Indonesian: nasi goreng, fried bakmi bami goreng and prawn crackers kroepoek. A suggestion is the famous Dutch-Indonesian rice table rijsttafel, which is a combination of several small dishes from the East Indies, not unlike the nasi padang of Indonesia. Most of them have a sit-in area and a separate counter for take-away with lower prices.
Besides Chinese/Indonesian, the bigger cities offer a good choice of restaurants with Middle Eastern cuisine for a bargain price. Popular dishes are shawarma shoarma, lahmacun often called Turkish pizza and falafel. The Argentinian, French, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Spanish, Surinam and Thai cuisines are also well-represented in the Netherlands.
Modern Dutch restaurants serve good quality food and are relatively expensive compared with surrounding countries. Most of the time, profit is made from the drinks and the desert, so be careful ordering those if you are on a budget. In the Netherlands, going to a restaurant is generally not seen as a quick way to eat food, but as a special night out with friends or family, which can take a couple of hours. Service fees and taxes are included in the menu prices. Tipping is not mandatory and seen as a sign of appreciation, not as means to make up a tiny salary. In case you do want to tip as a rule of thumb rounding up to the next Euro is normal or 10 percent.
Since 1 July 2008, smoking has been banned in all restaurants, cafes, bars, festival tents and nightclubs. Smoking is allowed only in separate, enclosed, designated smoking areas in which employees are not allowed to serve. Staff may enter such smoking rooms only in emergency situations.
In restaurants the portions of food are not big, because usually people eat 3 dishes starter, main, dessertDrinks a served in small glasses and there are no refills.
In town centers, near public transportation areas or even in more quiet quarters you can find a snackbar, sometimes known as frituur or cafeteria. These snackbars are pretty much the antithesis of high cuisine, but their snacks are considered typical for the country, and many Dutch expats miss them the most when going abroad. The popular Febo (http://www.febodelekkerste.nl/) chain's outlets are basically giant vending machines, just slot in a euro or two and take out the snack of your choice.
The most popular snack is French fries, known as patat in most of the country and as friet in the Southern Netherlands. The "standard" way is to order them with mayonnaise patat met, although the local mayo is not the same as you'd get in France or most of the rest of the world: it is firmer, sweeter and contains less fat, whilst remaining just as unhealthy. Other sauces are tomato ketchup, curry ketchup unlike regular curry, tastes more like ketchup, Indonesian peanut sauce satÃ©saus, cut raw onions uitjes, special speciaal, a combination of mayonnaise, curry ketchup and optionally cut raw onions and war oorlog, a combination of mayonnaise, peanut sauce and optionally with cut raw onions. The following fried snacks are considered typical for the country as well: