Amsterdam isn’t known as a dirt cheap place to dine. There are plenty of places to find decent food at affordable prices, however, and not just at those stands churning out cones of frites doused in mayonnaise. (For the record frites topped with mayonnaise are delicious. Eat them at least once. You won’t regret it.)
For visitors renting a room through a booking service like airbnb or an entire apartment, stocking an Amsterdam refrigerator for a week’s stay can be a disarmingly inexpensive activity. Here are two suggestions for finding budget eats in Amsterdam.
1. Albert Cuyp Markt. This open-air market runs Monday through Saturday along several blocks of the Albertcuypstraat in the neighborhood of De Pijp. It is a crazy hub of activity, with vendors selling produce, fish, prepared food items, and all manner of other things–clothes, electronics, toys, beauty supplies, and so on.
De Pijp is a diverse neighborhood, and three of Amsterdam’s main immigrant groups (Turks, Surinamese, and Moroccans) are well represented at the market. This translates into the availability of all sorts of goods, including some edibles, that you probably won’t see at home. Two recommendations: herring, delicious and very very Dutch, and the no less Dutch stroopwafels, pressed on the spot. Unlike the packaged stroopwafels on sale at US supermarkets, these are thick and chewy enough to count as a real snack.
2. Albert Heijn supermarkets. This supermarket chain is surprisingly affordable. During my most Amsterdam visit, I stocked up on eggs, juice, lox, cold cuts, yogurt, tomatoes, milk, and crackers for just €28 ($39). That yield took care of the breakfast and lunch needs for four hungry people for five days.
On a tight travel budget and suddenly in an Amsterdam mood? Check out Gadling’s bang-up 2009 budget Amsterdam overview.