There is a lot of Dutch food that I love. As a man who enjoys a full belly, I appreciate that Dutch cuisine is centered around heavy things like meat and potatoes. The cheese and beer are excellent, and I can frequently order them together at bars, along with bitterballen (which I can only describe as balls of deep-fried meat gravy). When my sweet tooth acts up, I go straight for the poffertjes, which are like little pancake puffs, covered in butter (and they’re even better than they sound). There are french fries everywhere, smothered creamy, unhealthy sauces. And I’ve become obsessed with vla (a thin pudding), it can’t be beat–especially after throwing in some chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag) which the Dutch seem to put on everything.
But there is another side of Dutch food — a side that confounds and slightly disgusts me. Salted licorice literally tastes like boogers. I could do without the herring, which is too fishy even for me. The sandwiches are a constant source of disappointment: many times it’s just two giant pieces of bread with a tiny slice of cheese or a cookie (yes, a cookie) in the middle. Occasionally, the croquettes have horse meat inside. And for some reason, people here drink buttermilk (karne melk) straight. I like butter and I like milk, but buttermilk tastes rancid. Throughout The Netherlands, it’s not uncommon to see adults publicly drinking buttermilk from a carton.
While I like Dutch food overall, I chronically suffer from a lack of good Mexican food. Döner Kebab makes for a decent substitute, but I still miss dirt cheap gigantic burritos. I also miss greasy, American-Chinese food. Chinese food here is excellent, but too authentic; sometimes you just want some Orange Beef.