Olibollen (literally “oil balls”) are fried balls of dough similar to beignets or zeppole. They are typically dusted with powdered sugar, and often include fillings or fruit mixed into the dough.
During the fall and winter months, Olibollen are available at street stands and carts throughout the Netherlands (including at Schipol airport). As you might guess, the’re not good for you in the least, but they taste amazing and are wonderfully warm and comforting on a cold evening.
Below are an assortment of treats found at olibollen stands in Amsterdam’s Old Centre district. Prices are from the 2011-2012 season. Appelbeignets contain a slice of apple surrounded in dough, fried and then dusted with cinnamon sugar. An appelbeignet is like a miniature fried apple pie. Krentenbollen are olibollen in which which currants (not raisins, as the translation on the sign notes) have been added to the dough. Rum Rozijnenbol are olibollen to which a rum raisin filling has been added after cooking.
Metropolitan Deli in Warmoestraat
A stroopwafel is a made like a waffle, but is thin and sweet, almost like a cookie. It has two thin waffles surrounding a caramel filling. If you’re a visitor to the Netherlands, you’ll find packaged Stroopwafels everywhere. Like any processed food, they’ll quell a snacking urge but probably leave you unsatisfied. If you want to experience just how amazing this simple confection can be, you’ll need to find a fresh one.
If you’re wandering Amsterdam’s Old Centre on a layover, you’ll likely find yourself in Warmoesstraat. The stroopwafels here, compared to the packaged variety, are like night and day. Hot and fresh from the iron, they’re flexible, gaining a bit of crispiness as they cool. The rich caramel filling is expertly executed. On a cool, damp Northern European morning, a fresh stroopwafel and an espresso make a welcome warming breakfast.
Aside from the stroopwafels, Metropolitan carries a variety of dutch sweets and unusual ice cream flavors. There isn’t much in the way of seating, but for a walking snack, that won’t matter much.
You can find Metropolitan Deli in number 135 Warmoestraat, between Sint Annenstraat and Zwartlakensteeg.
Google Maps walking directions (opens in new window)
Frites with Belgian Mayo and Pickels
Prior to my last trip through Amsterdam, I was tipped off to Vleminckx Sausmeesters, a shop whose product was described to me as the best fries in Amsterdam and perhaps the world. With such extreme claims, I needed to investigate.
Finding Vleminckx can be difficult if you’re not familiar with Amsterdam. As a public service, I’ve included a link to a Google map at the end of this article. Walking here from Centraal Station takes fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on how often you stop along the way.
Once the shop was in sight, it was clear that their frites are popular. There was a six person deep line on a rainy Saturday. The fries are indeed very good. They are crisp on the outside with a creamy interior. As good as they are, I’ve had fries before that were at least as good. I think what makes these frites so popular is the sauces. This stands to reason since the name of the shop is Dutch for “Flemish Sauce Masters.”
The sauces I ordered were Belgian mayo and Pickels. The mayo was fresh and very tangy. The pickels, also very fresh, included tiny onions and diced cucumbers pickled in a fashion similar to a British piccalilli, giving the vegetables a sharp, mustardy tang while retaining their crunch.
A Google search for “Vleminckx” will turn up several reviews praising these frites. As such, you can expect to encounter a tourist crowd. Even still, I recommend risking interactions with the khaki shorts and camera strap set to enjoy these excellent sauces atop a cone of very good Frites. Bring some Euro; Vleminckx accepts cash only.
1012 XK Amsterdam, Netherlands