The Netherlands these days is full of cafes where you can get an organic wholewheat roll with rocket, locally-sourced goats’ cheese, roasted vegetables and a tomato salsa. However, this is all about the classic Dutch ‘broodjes’.
The classic is a soft, white stick-to-the teeth bun, filled with anything that can be tucked more or less securely between the two halves, only one of which is usually smothered in margarine pretending to be butter.
A broodje, possibly accompanied by a glass of milk, is the traditional lunch fare in the Netherlands, as many a foreign business person has found out to their dismay. Here are some of the most popular.
1 Broodje bal: A bun with a meatball filling. Use both hands.
2 Broodje warm vlees: A bun filled with warm meat which can be anything from ham to a complete mystery.
3 Broodje kroket: one of the triumphs of Dutch cuisine. Leave to cool off for five minutes, cover in mustard and enjoy. It just doesn’t work using organic sourdough.
4 Broodje kaas: a lunch classic. It is usually filled with a ridiculous amount of young cheese, far too much for one bun to cope with. You will be eating cheese long after the bun is gone.
5 Broodje haring: to ask for this combo is like uttering a profanity in church (vloeken in de kerk) to some people who, while edging away from you, will tell you a herring should be savoured on its own, without even the frippery of onions and gherkins.
6 Broodje gezond: filled with cheese, a couple of lettuce leaves and tomato slices this must be one of the most annoying broodjes in existence. The tomato slices invariably slide out from between the mayonnaise coated lettuce leaves onto your new trousers. There is nothing ‘gezond’ about this broodje. It is bad for your blood pressure and full of calories.
7 Broodje Hemaworst: Another two-hander. Let the juice from the smoked sausage seep into the bun and enjoy. You will feel terrible afterwards.
8 Broodje halfom:. Orginally a broodje half om half, or half and half, which, ironically, lost half its name. This broodje is typical for Amsterdam and is said to have its roots in Jewish culture. The filling is half liver slices and half salt beef. Yum.
9 Broodje ros: Bun filled with cold roast beef slices.
10 Saucijzenbroodje: Not a bun but a warm sausage roll, oozing grease and filled with a grey paste which might once have looked at an animal. We love ’em.