You’re never too far from your next snack in Rotterdam, whether it’s a slice of Dudok’s world-class apple pie or cheeky bitterballen with your beer. Make sure at least one of the city’s indoor markets features in your plans: the central Markthal, sleek Foodhallen or homespun Fenix Food Factory. All offer hot food, and are ideal for a culture-hopping lunch, which might start with Turkish flatbreads and end with fluffy Dutch poffertjes (pancakes). It’s this port city’s mix of different influences that spices up its food scene, creating something truly unique – like kapsalon, the local take on the kebab.
The best nights out are fuelled by bitterballen. Arguably the world’s greatest bar snack, they’re bite-sized, crunch-crumbed spheres, filled with meat and creamy roux. Aficionados agree that the best in town can be found at the Hotel New York, set in the stately former HQ of the Holland-America Line. Perch at the bar and order up a portion, served with a side of spicy mustard.
Brine-cured haring is a Dutch delicacy, and far more delicious than it sounds. It’s generally served with bread, and sometimes a simple garnish (a little chopped onion is acceptable, but pickles are a no-no for purists). The finest are the Hollandse Nieuwe, caught between May and July and traditionally eaten whole. Get your hit at Andalus Fish, in the Markthal.
This calorific late-night staple was born in 2003, when a Rotterdam barber asked his favourite kebab shop for something special. The result? The mighty, multi-layered kapsalon: fries, followed by shawarma meat, melted gouda and iceberg lettuce, liberally soused with garlic sauce and fiery sambal chili paste. Appreciate its fragrant charms at Jaffa Shoarma, on bar-lined Witte de Withstraat.
When it comes to saucing up their cone of friets, locals don’t believe in less is more. Sure, you could just plump for ketchup or mayo, but that won’t win you any kudos. Instead, be bold: go for the peanutty pindasaus or, better still, patatje oorlog (‘war chips’). Order a portion at Bram Ladage, and surrender to the strangely moreish mix of satay sauce, mayo and raw onion.
Just think of these uber-traditional Dutch treats as a smaller, cuter pancake, made with buckwheat flour and yeast. Cooked in a special dimpled pan until they puff up, they’re generally served with a generous slab of butter and snowdrift of icing sugar. They’re perfect for a quick mid-morning pick-me-up: divvy up a portion at Churros & Sweets, in the Markthal.
Rotterdam’s impeccable design credentials filter down to its retail scene.
Taste the international flavours of this buzzy European port.
From experimental architecture to tempting street food, Rotterdam is a thrill to explore.
Start your adventure from the moment you step off the train, with door-to-door delivery from First Luggage.
An easy way to spend while you’re away. It’s the clever alternative to pockets full of cash or a wallet full of debit cards, making travelling that much easier.
Begin the next chapter of your Eurostar journey with Hertz and receive 10% off your car hire and earn reward points with every rental.