The “Snackbar” is the Dutch equivalent of the British chip shop – snackbars are light on the wallet, heavy on the stomach, sparse on the interior decoration, found everywhere around town, and doubly appealing when inebriated. The snackbars often have a retro vibe, their names written across outdated-looking signs printed in amateurish fonts. They tend to be uncreatively named, usually called “Broodje– something,” for example Broodje van Martin (Martin’s Sanwiches).
However, unlike the kebab shops in the UK, they fortunately don’t engage in the habit of advertising their menu selection with revolting photos of the various dishes on offer. The Dutch snackbars are also a cut above their British counterparts because they often have a relatively clean and comfortable seating area free of vomit and pigeons pecking at chip crumbs.
The Dutch snackbar menu is predictable but comforting – French fries, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, kroket (meat croquettues), kaassoufflé (cheese pastries), frikandel (more on this mystery meat product in a future post), soft drinks, and ice cream. These are typical Dutch snack foods, but there are also many “ethnic” snack bars, like the Greek snack bar at the end of our street that does rock-my-world giros. There is also an Italian snackbar nearby called (surprise) Broodje Mario which sells finger-licking calzones and pizzas.
P.S. I don’t know if this is true, but I’ve heard that most snackbars – including the ones selling typically Dutch snack foods – are owned and operated by foreigners (e.g. Chinese, Moroccans, Greeks, etc.).