Frikandel

No, it's not dog poo. It's a snack.

I don’t really know where to start with this post – how does one begin to write about something that is so wrong, and yet so good, as the frikandel?

I would say that frikandel is a Dutch snack, except that I actually had it for the first time in France (under the name frikadelle) and I’ve also heard that it is Belgian. It is one of those things that everyone claims as their own (the Dutch say it’s Dutch, the Belgians say it’s Belgian, etc.) and yet its true origins are likely to remain as mysterious as its contents.

You know you want one.

So, what exactly is a frikandel, you ask?  Well, it’s a sort of sausage, except it it doesn’t have any skin, and it’s deep fried. This is obviously not haute-cuisine but pure, unashamed fast food. The frikandel is classic snack bar fare and also a staple in the automatic snack windows. It comes served in a paper bag or – be prepared for class – in a little frikandel-shaped plastic tray. You eat it with your fingers – no utensils necessary!

Most of the time it seems to be served plain, looking all dry, shrivelled, brown, and lonely on its disposable tray. But it can also be topped with ketchup, mayonnaise, or curry sauce. If you want to splash out, you can try a frikandel speciaal, a frikandel sliced open length-wise and stuffed with chopped onion and various sauces. You can also get a frikandel sandwich, called a broodje frikandel, which looks quite like an American hot dog on a bun.

Now for the most important question: what meat is inside the frikandel? I have posed this question several times to several different people, and I always get variations of the same answer: “Nobody knows,” or “Don’t ask,” or “You don’t want to know,” or “It’s mystery meat.”

I’ve checked the all-knowing Wikipedia, and it says: “The frikandel mainly consists of a mixture of pork, beef, chicken, and by some manufacturers, horse meat.” This description is disturbing for so many reasons. First of all, obviously, the fact that it may contain horse meat. But second of all, the fact that it “mainly consists of” at least three different meats – even Wikipedia can’t be precise about the contents of a frikandel. And third of all, it just can’t be natural to combine a pig, a cow, a chicken (and occasionally a horse) into one little log… and then fry it.

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About Home Strange Home

I first left the US in 1999, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve spent 13 years living abroad - 3 in Canada, 7 in Europe, and 3 in Africa. Now I've finally returned to the US on a one-way plane ticket. I arrived home in late January 2014 and set foot in the US for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. In Home Strange Home, I blog about the ups and downs of my re-acculturation experience.
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4 Responses to Frikandel

  1. Pingback: Let’s Have Dutch Tonight? « What the Dutch

  2. John Hollander says:

    You forgot to mention the taste, wich is quie delicious.

  3. Harry kosters says:

    Wish i could purchase in the U.S.. I have not been back to holland for over 20 years and miss the frikadel alot, almost worth the trip back to the motherland and Mussel also. If anyone knows a vendor in the U.S. please E-Mail back.

  4. LB says:

    Misschien zou iemand een dutch-snackbar moeten beginnen in Amerika. Maybe someone should start a dutch-snackbar in the USA

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