Local food

8 July 2022

Try your local food! From everything Dutch to exclusively ‘Grunnings’: there is no shortage of delicious regional food in Groningen. Listed below are some things that you simply must try if you want to eat like a local.

Late night snack? Just pull it out of the wall!

In the Netherlands there is a popular phenomenon called the trekmuur, which loosely translates as ‘grabbing wall’. These walls are run by snack bars and exist out of tiny compartments, each filled with a specific snack. The idea is to put a coin in the slot (these days you can also pay with your debit card), which allows you to open the compartment of your choice and enjoy a hot snack. What makes it more fun is that almost all these snacks are typically Dutch. Think of a kroket (broth-based stuffing with a crusty coating), kaassouflé (cheese filled) or even hamburgers. The best local snack to try, however, is the Groninger eierbal. As the name suggests in Dutch, it is literally an egg ball. Like the kroket, it exists mainly of broth-based stuffing with a crusty coating, but in addition you will find an entire boiled egg in the center. Yum! Right? 

Oh, and one more thing. If you really want to outdo yourself on a long night out, go for a diagonaaltje. Yep, you read it right: it means opening all the compartments in a diagonal line from one side of the wall to the other and eating it all.  

The Dutch life is the sweet life

Dutch people love sweet stuff. Whether you’re looking for breakfast, dinner or a simple snack, you’re guaranteed to find something here with a sh*t load of sugar in it.  

A very popular snack is the stroopwafel. It’s basically two thin, large biscuits with syrup in between. You can buy them everywhere, but nothing compares to a fresh, hot stroopwafel bought at the market. Around New Year’s, it’s traditional in Groningen to bake or buy kniepertjes. These are large, paper-thin biscuits with a buttery taste. Definitely worth a try. Then there’s the pancake business. The Dutch love pancakes so much that they have special restaurants for it. Groningen has one too, and it’s on a boat in the canal at Schuitendiep! Here you can get pancakes in every colour and shape (read taste) you like. If you don’t know yet: Dutch pancakes are much like crepes, only thicker. The more the merrier, as they say. If pancakes are too big for your taste: try poffertjes. These are like tiny, cushion-shaped pancakes, usually eaten with icing sugar. You can get them at the Grote Markt in the colder seasons. And then there’s candy. Every place in the world has candy, true. But the Dutch are really good at it. A nice place to try classic Dutch confectionery is Droppie. They focus on traditional sweets, so you can expect a lot a liquorice, cinnamon, and buttery flavours.

Only in Groningen!

To top it all off, I want to note a few more things you can only find in Groningen. If you love mustard, you really should try the Groningen version of it. It’s unground and quite strong, and if you swallow it with an empty stomach, you can actually feel it burning down there. It goes really well with cheese (a typical Dutch way of eating it).                            

The Dutch take a whole different approach to mayonnaise. Whereas most people around the world use it on sandwiches, in this country we use it for everything. We especially love to dip our chips in it. Ketchup, what’s that? But the best news is: there is a special Groninger mayonnaise: Brander Mayo. It’s a bit saltier and stronger than normal mayonnaise, and absolutely delicious. You can order it with your chips or potato wedges at many restaurants and bars in the city, and it’s even for sale in most supermarkets. 

And then there’s more, much more. Even though I listed the most noteworthy Dutch and Groninger snacks and dishes, there are so many more things to try if you’re into local delicacies. Lucky for you, there are shops for that. Pay a visit to places like Kruidenier Wolters (Oude Boteringestraat) or Leuk & Lekker (Grote Kromme Elleboog), which are specialized in delicacies, and try things out! After all, if it gets a bit too adventurous for your taste, you can always go back to the trekmuur.