Photo: Nationaal Archief / Spaarnestad Photo

Must-try Dutch food and where to eat it in Groningen

So you’re living in Groningen and wondering where you can try authentic Dutch cuisine? Well, there’s a reason you don’t find Dutch restaurants anywhere: our local dishes just don’t have the X-factor, looks-wise. Doesn’t mean they don’t taste good, though. If you’re brave enough to try, we’ve made a list of must-try Dutch foods and where in Groningen you can find them.


Photo: Facebook Gino’s Stamppotsalon

Where to buy:

  • Gino’s, Gedempte Zuiderdiep 83

Genius move by the people at Gino’s: in summer they sell ice cream, in winter they sell stamppot, the Dutch dinner staple. The word means something like ‘mashed grub’ and there are many varieties. There’s stamppot zuurkool, with sauerkraut and potatoes; stamppot boerenkool, with kale and potatoes; and hutspot, which is carrot, onions and potato. So yes, pretty much any vegetable mashed with potatoes, usually served with some kind of meat. We’re nothing if not original, us Dutchies. Gino’s sells five different kinds of stamppot in winter, which is great if you don’t feel like cooking but do want to eat something healthy and filling. Fun fact: you can serve the the ingredients for stamppot unmashed and call it an AVG’tje, which is short for ‘aardappelen, vlees en groente’ (potatoes, meat and vegetables).


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Where to buy:

  • WEEVA, Gedempte Zuiderdiep 8

A cake-like dessert typical of the Groningen province, poffert can be sampled at WEEVA, the one restaurant in the city that specialises in Dutch cuisine. Not all dishes at WEEVA are Dutch, it’s mainly food that was popular with our grandparents. But you can order the very Dutch gehaktbal here – a large meatball – or stamppot with red cabbage.


Foto Jasper Bolderdijk
Photo: Jasper Bolderdijk

Where to buy:

  • Any snackbar

You can’t leave Groningen without having eaten an eierbal. The rest of the country has never heard of this regional delicacy, but eat it once and you’ll be hooked. It’s a boiled egg rolled in a savoury ragout, coated in crumbs and fried to moreish perfection. Sort of like a Scotch egg, but meat-free. In our definitive eierbal-test last weekend, it was decided the best eierballen are served by snackbar Koning on the Bedumerweg, but there are lots of snackbars in the city that sell them. And as long as you’re there, you may as well try some of our other snackbar staples: the kroket, bitterballen (also a popular pub snack), the kapsalon, raspatat and the frikandel speciaal. Extra Dutchie-points if you get them from one of the vending machine-like ‘snack walls’ around the city.


Photo: Facebook Droppie

Where to buy

  • Droppie, Astraat 7

Yes, we know: most internationals don’t like drop. It’s an acquired taste, apparently, though every Dutch child loves it. But if you really want to understand the Dutch, learn to like drop. Maybe start with the sweet variety, which is similar to the black pieces you find in licorice allsorts. Then graduate to the good stuff: the saltier the better. Droppie specialises in drop, so you can ask them to make you a starter package. And if you decide you really really don’t like licorice, you can always switch to the old-fashioned Dutch boiled sweets that Droppie also sells.


Cheese shop Van der Leij

Where to buy:

  • De Kaaskop, Zwanestraat 24
  • Van der Leij, Oosterstraat 61
  • De Kaasboetiek, Astraat 5
  •  De Boergondiër, Folkingestraat 57
  •  Vismarkt farmers market

So. Many. Cheese. Shops. If you like cheese, Groningen is the place to be. We have four cheese shops in the city center alone and of course there are several cheese vendors that sell their wares at the farmers market. Gouda is the most famous variety of Dutch cheese, but you can also get lovely goat cheese here, blue cheese and even a Dutch version of Emmental, called Tynjetaler. Let the experts advise you and eat yourself into a cheese coma.


Photo: HEMA

Where to buy:

  • HEMA, Herestraat 64

When Dutch people have something to celebrate, we like to serve tompouce: custard cream sandwiched in between two rectangular pieces of pastry with pink icing on top. It’s heaven to taste, but hell to eat: most people start with the top layer of pastry, then progress to the custard. Don’t try to eat it whole, or the custard will end up on the floor. Traditionally, tompouce is bought at HEMA, the quintessentially Dutch department store. If you’re more into savoury food, you can also buy rookworst there, a smoked sausage we like to eat as a wintry snack or with our stamppot.


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Where to buy:

  • Fish Market, Astraat 6
  • Any fish stand

The Japanese have sushi, the Peruvians have ceviche and we have raw herring, preferably eaten with raw onion. The traditional way of eating haring is to grab it by its tail, hold it just above your mouth and munch away, but you can also get it ready-cut on a paper plate with a cocktail pick. Try it at Fish Market on the Astraat or at any of the fish stands around the city.


Foto: Elke Wetzig/CC BY 3.0

Where to buy:

  • Any supermarket
  • Vismarkt farmers market

Our most famous edible export product after Gouda: stroopwafels! Send a packet of these thin, crispy waffles filled with caramel home to your family and they’ll start planning a visit to Groningen immediately.You can buy them at any supermarket, but the best ones are those you buy freshly made at the farmers market on the Vismarkt.


Foto: Mira Pangkey/CC BY 2.0

Where to buy:

  • Poffertjeskraam, Grote Markt

Not to be confused with poffert, poffertjes are really just tiny pancakes. There’s something about poffertjes that makes them even more irresistible than their big brothers, though. Maybe it’s that they’re a bit thicker and fluffier, or just that they come in small portions so you can satisfy your pancake-craving at any time without feeling too guilty. Whatever the case, sit down in the cutesy old-fashioned Dutch Poffertjeskraam on the Grote Markt and enjoy your poffertjes with powdered sugar, butter or both.


The Van Delft pop-up shop

Where to buy:

  • Any supermarket or bakery
  • Van Delft Pepernotenfabriek, Brugstraat 18 

You don’t have to celebrate the feast of Sinterklaas to enjoy pepernoten, the traditional tiny dome-shaped spiced cookies that Sinterklaas and his Pieten share around. Come november, you can get them from any supermarket or bakery. We recommend you visit the Van Delft pop-up shop on the Brugstraat, though, where you can buy pepernoten in over 50 different varieties. You’ll have to hurry, because the shop closes immediately after Sinterklaas leaves the country on 6 December.


Where to buy:

  • Any mobile oliebollen stand

Oliebollen are another seasonal Dutch delicacy, often eaten on New Year’s Eve. They’re fried dough balls, either with or without raisins, served with powdered sugar. They’re best eaten fresh from the fryer, so we recommend you find an oliebollenkraam – you can find the mobile stands throughout the city in winter – buy one and eat it right away.