Food Culture and Tradition

Food, People and Culture Resources

Dutch Food Glossary


Amandelspijs: Christmas almond cake.

Appel Beignets: deep-fried apple fritters served with a sugar dusting. A New Year’s Eve treat.

Appelbollen: apples baked in a puff pastry. A New Year’s Eve treat.

Balletjes: small meatballs often used as soup garnish.

Bitterballen: small coated deep-fried meatballs used as appetizers.

Borstplaat: brightly colored flavored fondant candy a specialty for St. Nicholas’ Eve, December 5.

Boterkoek: rich shortcake enjoyed with “elevenses,” the mid-morning coffee break.

Jachtschotel: casserole made with layered cold (cooked) sliced meats and onions, apples, and potatoes, all baked slowly.

Kandeel: hot spiced wine thickened with egg yolks and traditionally offered to visitors after a baby’s birth. Served in small cups and poured from a jug. Gender-appropriate decorations of pink or blue ribbons are tied to the cinnamon-stick stirrers.

Kool Sla: coleslaw. Literally, a cabbage salad dressed with vinegar.

Krentenbollen: shiny currant buns served with but-ter for Easter breakfast.

Oliebollen: traditional New Years Eve treat of deep-fried yeast doughnuts sprinkled with sugar.

Olykoeks: “oilcakes.” Yeast dough with raisins, lemon, and chopped apple shaped in rounds and deep-fried then rolled in sugar.

Ontbijtkoek: a moist lightly spiced cake often buttered and eaten on a slice of bread for breakfast.

Paling Soep: an eel soup popularly eaten with other fish and seafood dishes during meatless Lent.

Pap: children’s hot breakfast cereal, which may be oatmeal but more usually is stale bread with hot milk poured over and flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar.

Pepernoten: spicy round crisp cookies eaten on St. Nicholas’ Eve, December 5.

Puffertjes: puffards. Cookies baked in a “puffet pan” and eaten hot with cinnamon sugar.

Rijsttafel: the Dutch name given to the Netherlands version of an Indonesian feast, where a huge mound of rice flanked by many dishes combining meats, fish, and seafood with lightly cooked (stir-fried) fruits and vegetables are served, accompanied with deep-fried shrimp wafers and a selection of condiments from sweet, crisp, cool, to spicy hot. This special dinner is usually eaten in restaurants, though it may be occasionally attempted at home. Some of the dishes may include the following:

  • Bahmi: Chinese noodles mixed with finely cut vegetables sauteed with meat or seafood and seasoned with the slightly sweet Indonesian soy sauce.
  • Gado-Gado: mixed sauteed vegetables with peanut sauce
  • Ketimoer: a spicy cucumber relish.
  • Kroepoek: the small dried shrimp and tapioca flour wafers that billow out to fluffy crispness when deep-fried. Served as a bread accompanying the meal.
  • Loempiahs: similar to egg rolls or spring rolls.
  • Nasi: rice.
  • Nasi Goreng: fried rice.
  • Sambal: spiced combinations of crushed hot peppers made into very thick sauces. These are always added by the diner, not the cook.
  • Sateh or Sate: tiny cubes of meat, usually beef, threaded on thin, small wooden skewers and broiled.
  • Tauge: bean sprouts.

Rookworst: smoked spicy sausage eaten only after slow cooking, usually accompanies thick mashed vegetables.

Rolliches: lean beef and fat strips well seasoned and wrapped in tripe then boiled and pressed together with some of the broth into a loaf, chilled then sliced.

Speculaas: one of the many spiced cookies eaten on St. Nicholas’ Eve, December 5.

Spekkie Sla: favored dish made of a cooked mashed mixture of potatoes and chopped endive, served in a soup plate with bacon drippings, vinegar, and freshly ground pepper.

Stamppot Witte Kool: white cabbage and potatoes cooked and mashed together and served with butter. A typical winter dish.

Taai-Taal: soft and chewy gingerbread cookies made in shapes of men and women, served at the place setting of each guest for St. Nicholas’ Eve, December 5.

Uitsmijter: famed Dutch “snack” made of buttered bread topped with cold sliced meat and fried eggs, and garnished with pickles.

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