Broodjes, broodje kaas
What: Broodjes (“broh-ches”) are simply sandwiches, and they’re big here, filled with all manner of edibles: roast beef, roast pork, various sausages, liver, kroketten (croquettes), filet americain (raw minced beef, like tartare), haring, smoked eel, Surinamese pom—anything, really. But the most basic, and (we’d argue) pure, of Dutch broodjes is the humble broodje kaas, with cheese (pictured). Typically consumed for breakfast, this sandwich is simple yet delicious, and a fine way to sample the wonderful aged Gouda this country produces.
Where: Our broodje kaas came from Jwo Lekkernijen (2e Goudsbloemdwarsstraat 1), a deli crowded with locals in the Jordaan neighborhood. You can eat in—at a small counter, or two tall tables—or take out here.
When: Mon-Fri, 7:30am-5:30pm, Sat, 7am-4pm
Order: A broodje kaas (€2,50), on white or brown bread with your choice of cheese—helpfully, you can ask to sample from one of the many Gouda wheels behind the counter. We chose rijp belegen, or “ripe” mature cheese, sliced into crusty, buttered whole-wheat bread, with tomatoes and mustard on the side (our request). Yes, buttered: It adds a delicious smooth richness, as you might imagine. The cheese was very good—mild, creamy, and cheddar-like. The extra belegen, or extra mature, was even better, with a distinct nuttiness; the older the Goudas are, the drier, crumblier, and more intensely flavored they get. Add some ham for a little variety if you wish. (See also: local Dutch cheese)
Alternatively: Broodjes are everywhere in Amsterdam. You might try the famed Broodje Bert (020-623-0382; Singel 321, map), a small sandwich shop with a wide range of options—the grilled chicken, lamb meatball, and breakfast sandwiches are especially popular—or Eetsalon Van Dobben (two locations including Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat 5-7-9, map), near Rembrandtplein, for basic but tasty broodjes kroket, filet americain, ossenworst, or more. But you’d also be just fine trying the local deli in your neighborhood.