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Great Street Food in Rotterdam

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

When you are in a rush or have a hectic day ahead of you, sitting down for a full meal at local cafe or restaurant might not be the most feasible option.

Dutch girl eating oliebol

 Don’t get me wrong; the food is great, the people are always friendly and Rotterdam, Netherlands, is well known for its laid-back vibe. But if you don’t have the time to sit back and relax, you might want to try some of these delicious street foods.


Chip-lovers will be delighted; Belgians and the Dutch are crazy about pataat (fries)! Do note that in some parts of Belgium they are also called frites. And so, you’re bound to find it everywhere- in the city center, in suburbs and of course, in almost all eateries.

As much I never plan on buying fries when I head out, the sight of people standing around, all relaxed and munching on the strands of long crispy-looking fries is too hard to ignore. Plus, there is always an appetizing aroma from the pataat stalls. And guess what? At a price range of Euro 2 – 3.50 per portion, it really is hard to resist.

An Asian Flavor

Another wonderful street snack are the variety of Indonesian foods out there. Strangely enough, I have come across instances where it, along with other South East Asian snacks, has been classed under Surinamese foods. At least now you know what to look out for. Well, be it in Beurs or in busy suburban spots, you are bound to find a vendor.

The most common food offered by vendors are fried loempias. Think of them as mild to hot flavored spring rolls. And you can get different fillings – vegetarian and chicken.

Turkish Foods

This is another common feature of the Dutch street food sceneTurkish food vendors. Same as the other stalls, you will find them scattered around Beurs and within most suburbs.

Most vendors will offer an assortment of sandwiches and rolls (broodje and shoarmas) and fries (pataat). These are basically round flat breads or rolls stuffed with meat or vegetables and served with fries. They may look small but I must admit a kleine shoarma is surprisingly filling!

Another noteworthy snack is the Turkish pizza. Imagine a wrap filled with lettuce, a variety of vegetables and, if you are up for it, lots of lamb meat and cheese. Don’t worry, there is also the vegetarian version for those who would like to avoid meat.

Summer vs. Winter snacks

And then of course there are yummy seasonal snacks. During the warm sunny days of summer, you will find numerous vendors selling fruits. And by this I don’t mean the buy-and-wrap-in-plastic variety. No, I refer to the delightful variety of fruit goodies out there. This can be generous helpings of juice offered by vendors dotted across the city center. For instance, check out the man cocooned in a Giant Orange vendor contraption close to Donner Selexyz’s in Beurs. Blame it on the gargantuan Orange shape or the vivid colors but I always feel drawn to these vendors.

On the other hand, if you are looking for something to munch on, take heart that most vendors sell fruit salad mixture in a easy-to-eat plastic cup. I may call it a fruit salad but it’s more basic than that – it’s basically neatly cut bits of fresh fruit. What’s the best bit? You can stand around and watch while the guys chop up the fruits and pile them into the cup. While there are many fruit stalls out there, my current favorite is the tiny little one down Lijnbaan.

Fruit’s all good and well for summer but what about winter? Generally, street food at the end of the year have a nice festive feel to it. Of all the delectable hearty snacks out there, the most common one is an Oliebol. Oliebol or Oliebollen are fist-sized balls of fruit-filled dough that are fried and sprinkled over with sugar. Many stalls all over the city will sell Oliebollen and you can usually find them near skating rings. Here’s a headsup – you can never stop at just one oliebol!

Photo of Dutch girl eating an oliebol in Rotterdam, Netherlands, by piterwilson

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One response to “Great Street Food in Rotterdam”

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  1. Susan Geraeds says:
    August 25th, 2009 at 15:22

    Don’t forget about “maatje” or “Hollandse Nieuwe”, soused herring between the end of May and the beginning of July!

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