For food on the hoof forget about MacDonald's (boo hiss!). Instead net a bit of raw fish from one of the many stalls around the city.
Spankingly (once again for want of a better word!) fresh herring in a bread roll with pickle and raw onion for about 3 Euro makes for a healthy fast-food option - think "brain food".
Absolutely delicious and will soak up a couple of those beers you just had for breakfast ;p
I tried this little fish that you can eat raw and you can have it on the street in these little vendors stands. It's called "Haring", i don't know the meaning in dutch but it looks like those little fishes that you can find in Peru (where i am from) called "pejerrey". Taste good.
There is a great deal of international food to be bought in the Netherlands but do not discount the local cuisine. Food to look out for:
Pancakes: We regularly had these at many restaurants for lunch and dinner and were never disappointed. They were light, tasty, and available in many different forms (although I preferred the traditional)
Mustard Soup: Mustard is a popular Dutch condiment and Mustard Soup is a tasty and filling cool and cold winter dish.
Herring: This used to be commony available as a snack from stands. This local treat is on the wane due to pressures from culinary competition. However, if you find it give it a try. I find it to very tasty.
Bread and Cheese: The Dutch are justly famous for their cheeses. A great inexpensive lunch can be made from purchasing some fresh bread and then buying fresh cheese from one of the many Cheese stores.
Do you like herring? I mean do you REALLY like herring?
Dutch sushi is brought to you canal side. Find yourself a stand and get ready for some raw herring.
You can even have raw onion on top in case the taste of the fish is not enough for you.
It is worth a few minutes of your time to watch a master work. They filet before your eyes as fast as people eat them.
Down the hatch if you dare!
While traveling to foreign countries like THE NETHERLANDS, please make sure you try their local foods - and pleeeease do not compare everything to home (prices, quality etc.) because you are not home. While some foods and beverages may seem odd, try them and appreciate them. Anyway, Dutch food is not odd tasting at all. In fact, it's tremendously delicious! Sample local fares at their local cafes (but be careful of those 'coffeeshops' - don't let the name throw you off-guard either) and be friendly and courteous - ALWAYS. Hey, we don't want these polite Dutch to come complaining that VT members are an uncouth bunch, do we? :-D
When visiting a foreign city like AMSTERDAM or any parts of the Netherlands for that matter, do carry a matchbook or postcard with the name and address of your hotel, which you can show to cab drivers or when asking directions. Not all Dutch speak English as well as you/us...and we certainly don't want the cab driver(s) to drop us off at their infamous Red Light District, n'est ce pas?
;-) I thought so too.
Speak Their Lingo!
There are not many countries where the people aren't absolutely delighted for you to try out their language. And the Netherlands (Holland) is no exception. If you use just the word for 'thank you', they'll be impressed. Trust me.
Anyway, just about everyone speaks English in Amsterdam and is proud of that fact. Many speak German and French too. If you are English speaking, speak English (unless you speak Dutch too): you are more likely to offend than do anyone a favor by trying out your French or German.
A common misconception is that Dutch is very close to German. In truth they are not mutually intelligible: Dutch people have to learn German at school and in general they speak better English than the Germans! German and Dutch are similar in the same sort of way that French and Italian are similar. ;-D
A few keys phrases in Dutch to remember:
Yes: Ja (Yah)
No: Nee (Nay)
Thanks: Bedankt (B'dunked)
Please: Graag (hkrahk -- Please pronounce the hk as if you are trying to pronounce an 'h' at the same time as a 'k'.... the sort of sound a child says when saying 'yecchh'!)
Sorry: sorry (sorry.... Pronounced with rolled rrrr's)
Excuse me: Pardon (Pronounced as 'par-DON').
Seems like Patrick and Chris wanted to sample some of the local heering during a stroll...Me? Nah, I wasn't as brave