Originally Published: November 4, 2014

There are a handful of delicacies that compete for the title of Holland’s Favorite Snack. Here at Eating Amsterdam, we have already talked about a few of the dishes that locals unabashedly adore like herring, croquettes, and bitterballen. There is one tasty treat, though, that is so beloved, so unique, so shrouded in meaty mystery, that it resides in a category entirely all its own.

What is this legendary snack you ask? Well, it’s the frikandel of course!

Frikandel, what on earth is that?” I hear some of you asking. Well, let’s move on to the delicious details, shall we?

Frikandel Amsterdam
Ok, frikandellen might not look the most appetizing, but…

At its most basic, frikandel is a deep-fried sausage. But make no mistake, it’s not just any old deep fried sausage; frikandel is a long and skinless fried sausage mostly comprised of beef, pork and chicken. The skinless element and the makeup of the sausage patty ingredients make frikandel unique in the sausage world. There is no uniform recipe as far as ingredients inside the sausage go, so different frikandel makers have been known to add their own unique and interesting blends of meats, and this definitely adds to the frikandel mystique. In fact, over the years, loyal eaters of frikandel have developed their own ideas and theories about precisely what special secret ingredients are added that make frikandellen so delicious.

Now, a little background on frikandel: as is often the case when it comes to food, the exact origin of this delicacy is in dispute. We know that frikandel rose to prominence in the 1950s, but whether it was first created in the Netherlands or Belgium is still a bit of a mystery. What everyone does agree on is that frikandel hasn’t looked back since its creation, and has gone on to become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, type of quick bite in the Netherlands.

Frikandel is made by grinding large quantities of beef, pork and chicken with allspice, nutmeg, onion powder and seasoning. The meats and spices are blended with a little whipped cream to help bind them together before being pushed through a sausage stuffer. The long sausages (sometimes as long as 7-10 inches) are then boiled and fried to give them a wonderfully crispy exterior.

As far as presentation, the frikandel is usually served on its own or in a sandwich (broodje). It is typically eaten plain, with mayonnaise, or most infamously with curry ketchup, mayonnaise and chopped raw onion, a dubious concoction that has been dubbed the “frikandel speciaal“. The frikandel speciaal usually adds the extra step of a nice long slice down the middle of the sausage, providing the perfect spot for the onions and sauces to rest.

Frikandel with fries
Pimp up your frikandel with fries and sauces

If your taste buds are intrigued enough to give it a try on your trip to Amsterdam, there are plenty of opportunities to taste frikandel as it is a tried-and-true staple of our venerable character-filled snack bars, which can be found on nearly every street here. Frikandel can also be found at automatic food vending shops like the world famous Febo, too.

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