I just got back today from my all-too-brief trip to the Netherlands, and I’m exhausted from 13 hours of travel and a 6-hour jet lag. A fuller account will have to wait a day or two, but I must sing the praises of the tastiest street snack that I think I’ve ever had: the humble broodje haring. The literal translation is herring bread, but it’s so much more (yet still poetically simple). As I was wandering around the western canal district of Amsterdam on Tuesday noontime and feeling a bit peckish I noticed a small stand on a bridge and went in to investigate. A tall, stern old man in a red apron handed me this little bundle of delicious:
Brootje haring
A small, soft roll filled with fresh, raw herring fillets, minced onion, and sweet pickles. It doesn’t sound like much, but the silky, sushi-grade fish, fresh bread, and crunchy, tangy veggies, enjoyed on a crisp fall day with a view of a quiet canal yielded an eating experience far greater than the sum of its parts. Why can’t New York come up with such a satisfying, fresh, delicious, and cheap (at 2.20 euros) street snack? Our stale pretzels and dirty-water hot dogs are a disgrace.

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