Top 5 Dutch Condiments

Who else is a condiments/sauce person? I believe sandwiches, stir-fries, chips and french fries are simply vessels to deliver obscene portions of condiments into my mouth. So naturally, being geographically removed from my favorite hot-sauces, spreads and dressings was slightly problematic, at least in the beginning. Luckily, the Dutch seem to keep a big place in their hearts for items that up the flavor and calorie count of everyday food. And with a bit of trial and error - I've managed to build up my own little arsenal of big flavor.  

Not all of these condiments are unique to the Netherlands, but they're worth mentioning because of their popularity here or their unique Dutch application.  I'm not certain of the global availability, but they're certainly worth seeking out. Enjoy! 

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Curry Ketchup: this is a spiced version of tomato ketchup. Apparently, it's quite popular in Belgium, Denmark and Germany in addition to the Netherlands. It's typically served alongside Dutch snacks (fried finger food) and meats. I love it on eggs/toast and basically any hot sandwich. While I'm not a huge fan of traditional ketchup, I love the sweeter, deeper and more spiced flavor profile offered in curry ketchup. My favorite brand is Hela (and it's actually German). 

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Garlic Sauce (knoflooksaus): In my opinion, this is the Dutch version of America's Ranch Dressing. It's creamy, it's rich, it's calorie dense and makes almost any food taste better. You'll find garlic sauce served alongside many dishes in the Netherlands - from french fries to pizzas to kebabs. Garlic sauce is readily available in the super markets, but some day I'd like to try my hand at creating my own version.   

Faja Lobi Black Soy Sauce: While this technically isn't a condiment, I had to include it. This is nothing like the standard salty-watery mixture I previously reserved for dipping my sushi in. I'm just going to call this Magic Mystery Sauce. First the magic part; this stuff completely transforms stir-fried vegetables, meat and noodles into a restaurant-worthy dish (like pad see ew). The flavor is deep, rich and bold and a little goes a long way. It's the perfect ingredient to create a quick and delicious mid-week meal.  Now for the mystery part: after studying the bottle and a quick google search, I'm really confused about the origins. Faja Lobi seems to be a company from Suriname (Suriname was colonized by the Dutch and one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands until 1975) BUT the bottle also mentions Fong Chun Soy & Canning Company. What gives, guys? Anyway, I've tried a few other brands of black soy sauce but Faja Lobi reigns supreme. 

Sambal Oelek: move over, Sriracha - there's a less vinegar-y, less sweet and spicier Southeast Asian condiment in the house. Sambal Oelek offers a thicker and chunkier consistency and hosts slew of red chili flakes floating about. It's traditionally made using fresh chilies, garlic and tomatoes using mortar and pestle. While I think Sambal Oelek is the perfect condiment for a good grilled cheese, what makes this sauce special it its versatility - it's an excellent way to up the heat factor of any dish without changing the overall flavor. There are actually over 300 varieties of Sambal, Sambal Oelek just happens to be really popular here in the Netherlands.  

Lekker fries from Cafetaria Onder de Molen near our house

Lekker fries from Cafetaria Onder de Molen near our house

Peanut Sauce (Pindasaus): This one wins the fat kid award. While I'm no stranger to satay sauce, I never imagined pairing it with french fries (leave it to the Dutch). But wait, it gets better - dip your fries in peanut sauce and mayonnaise. This is a common street food combination in the Netherlands and I highly, highly recommend it. 

Do you have any new favorite condiments or sauces? What about an unexpected application?

Be well!