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Amsterdam Travel Guide

Trade Secrets from Amsterdam's Food Scene

Posted: Jan. 31st, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse
Pickled herring
albertstraub via Flickr

One of Amsterdam’s most cherished foods involves delicately prepared pickles. The dish I am referring to is brined herring with onion and sour pickle. This is a very popular street snack as it is easily carried and even easier to eat, only requiring a toothpick. This snack seems easy enough to make but in fact the history behind it requires some sort of delicacy to prepare the dish.

In Amsterdam, a popular street snack of brined herring comes with chopped onions and a side of sour pickle. The history of Dutch trade, too, is buried under those onions.

The salt used in preserving both the herring and the pickles enabled sea travel for hundreds of years. The salt trade is credited with building a foundation upon which the Dutch consolidated wealth and power in the 16th century. Dominating the seas for over three hundred years, they were able to establish colonies in tropical climates to monopolize the valuable spice trade. As we reported before, the Dutch went to some extreme lengths to control the Indonesian islands where nutmeg was discovered.


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