What to Eat in Amsterdam: Poffertjes
What: Even better than the large Dutch pannenkoeken are these fluffy mini pancakes, served with a mess of powdered sugar and butter. To make them, batter — typically including yeast and buckwheat flour — is poured over a hot cast-iron pan with shallow half-spherical molds, à la Japan’s takoyaki, and then each little pancake is flipped. You’ll see them in some restaurants, but the best poffertjes are made fresh on the street at markets, during festivals/fairs, and in the city’s squares.
Where: Once we smelled these at the Noordermarkt (Noorderkerkplein), a flea market in the Jordaan that turns into an organic farmers’ market (Boerenmarkt) on Saturdays, there was no holding us back. The stand selling them was signed simply Amsterdamse Poffertjes; the same vendor sets up at the Albert Cuypmarkt some days, too.
When: Saturdays, approximately 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Noordermarkt; Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday approximately 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Albert Cuypmarkt.
Order: An order of poffertjes — you can get 10 (€2/$2.60), 20 (€4/$5.21), or 30 (€5/$6.52) — comes to you über-fresh here, with a heavy shake of powdered sugar (watch out for black clothes!) and a generous knob of butter, which starts to melt upon contact with the hot treats. (Nutella and other toppings are also available for a fee, but we think: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.) Moist and chewy inside, crispy outside, they’re downright addictive.
Alternatively: Poffertjes are most common during the cooler months, so if you can’t find an outdoor vendor, you’ll have to resort to what’s second-best: a restaurant. You’ll find these at most pannenkoeken restaurants, including Pancakes! Amsterdam — but it’s the difference between good and great when compared with the fresh street version.