On a trip to Amsterdam in August 2015, Dan and I spent a day touring around Amsterdam on the Hungry Birds Food Tour! Hungry Birds is a four hour food tour based primarily around the historic de Pijp and Albert Cuyp Market areas, exploring Amsterdam’s varied, historic and unique food culture! Our guide was amazing, and we had a really enjoyable day walking around and trying all of Amsterdam’s specialties! We go on food tours everywhere, and this is one of the best ones we have taken! Highly recommended to foodies visiting Amsterdam!
NOTES: the tour is € 65 a person and includes more than enough food for your main meal of the day. It runs from 11 to about 3. Don’t eat much before or plan for much after. Seriously.
The tour started at 11:00 a.m. in front of the McDonalds in de Pijp neighborhood. (They know, questionable starting point for a food tour). After introductions, we walked to our first stop, FEBO, which might just be the tastiest fast food in the world! FEBO is a Netherlands-only fast food chain, where all of the food is made fresh in the Netherlands and trucked around the country each day. In addition to being unique to the Netherlands, the delivery is also unique; the food is prepared and placed into wall where customers use coins to purchase a snack of choice – like a vending machine! We each got to sample one of the traditional snacks – Krokets (croquettes: meat fried in dough with a variety of flavorings)! The krokets were really good, and actually this is a great on-the-go budget option in Amsterdam! I went back here!
Next stop, a short walk to Yoghurt Barn. Yoghurt Barn is a yogurt shop specializing in local yogurt with a variety of local, fresh toppings. We tried a vanilla yogurt with honey, granola and blueberries! Very local and very popular.
After, we walked across the street to United Pancakes. Pancakes are very popular in Amsterdam, but, unlike in the US, they are more like crepes with sweet or savory toppings. While there are a lot of pancake shops in Amsterdam, United Pancakes is local and sources all of its products from the Netherlands, including grains crushed by a real windmill! We tried a small bit of both a savory crepe and a sweet crepe.
Another short walk away, a stop a Tjins – a Suriname eatery! As some of you may know, Suriname is a former colony of the Netherlands (like Indonesia) and still has close ties to the country, including a lot of immigrants who open up delicious restaurants! As such, Suriname food is quite popular! At Tjins, we tried a delicious sandwich consisting of chicken, crusty french bread, pickles and some other deliciousness! This was one of my favorite tastings and a great opportunity to try Suriname food! Also, I probably would have been too intimidated to order from this place myself! It was very busy, Dutch and seemed like a lot of work.
To wrap up the first part of the tour, we stopped for ice-cream at a local creamery – Yscuypje. Every one got their choice of a cup or cone of any flavor. I choose cookies and creme and Dan had rum raisin. Both very tasty!
After ice cream, we moved into the Albert Cyup Market for the scariest taste of the tour – the infamous herring! Yes, the fish…after ice cream. Ah!! Herring, and seafood in general, is very prevalent in Amsterdam and is readily available throughout the city. Herring, in particular, is a popular pastime. I knew I had to try it, but I was not excited about it. In the Market, we stopped at Vishandel Albert Cuyp and our guide took a hand count as to which way each person wanted to try herring: traditional (meaning holding the entire fish up over your head) or in cut into bites – both with onions and pickles… Dan and I went with the cut herring, but a number of people on our tour did it the traditional way.
To my pleasant surprise, herring is actually decent and tastes a lot like sushi (although it is not raw). We also tried traditional kippling (fried white fish) with a trio of tasty sauces! The kippling was much more my speed!
To get over the fish, our next stop was for a traditional stroopfwafel! Stroopwafels are basically two large cookies filled with a caramel sauce, and then dipped in chocolate! We each tried a half-cookie (which is huge). The famous stand that we stopped at (no website) is right in the middle of Albert Cuypstraat!
After that craziness, we proceeded to a less stressful situation – an Indonesian soup in a small garden behind the market! Like Suriname, Holland has a lot of Indonesian influence due to its historic relationship with Indonesia, and an Indonesian meal is a must do on any trip to Amsterdam. On this stop, we started with the most delicious Indonesian soup!! So good! We then finished with a traditional layer cake! This was a nice stop and gave us time to digest. Plus, the plates were so so pretty!
After digesting, it was time to start the drinking portion of the tour! First stop, genever at a traditional bar! Genever is a type of strong gin, and pretty much Amsterdam’s go-to fire water. We tried it the traditional way…see below… and then chased with a local Brand beer. I forgot the same of this place.
After that, my favorite stop, Kaashut! Kasshunt is a glorious cheese shop! There, we were treated to a sampling of about six cheeses and a glass of wine! My favorite was the truffle gouda!
And finally, our final stop, traditional apple strudel at a cafe that has been opened since 1877! The apple strudel was hugh, and delicious, and came with your choice of wine, beer or coffee. Note – wine is the best value; beer glass is small.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Hungry Birds Food Tour: firstname.lastname@example.org; T: + 31 (0)6 18 98 62 68 (Zosia) or + 31 (0)6 19 29 67 74 (Esther-Hanna). You can make reservations by emailing or calling the hosts. There are a set number of spots, so make reservations early. The cost as of August 2015 is € 65,00 a person. The food is more than enough to make up your main meal of the day. Note – as gathered from the name, the tour’s main focus is food. As such, it does not visit the main tourist sites of Amsterdam.
On a Budget?
Although the tour may seem rather expensive at € 65, 00 a person, the tour is comprised of a food tour and historical lesson. The food is more than enough to make up more than your main meal of the day. If you enjoy food travel, this is a worthy splurge in Amsterdam.