If you've never tried Stroopwafel, don't let yourself leave Rotterdam without doing so. These may look similar to sweet waffles you've had before, but the secret to the Stroopwafel lies between the layers of baked dough, where you'll find sweet, tasty syrup. This keeps it soft on the inside, while the outside remains crispy. Stroopwafel are sold throughout Rotterdam, in stores as well as on the street, so there'll be plenty of opportunities to try them out and develop an addiction.
Oil spheres! This literal translation from the Dutch 'Oliebollen' is a pretty accurate description of this dessert pastry. They're made by dropping balls of dough into a deep fat fryer, which are then extracted and served covered in powdered sugar. Basically, imagine a deep fried hot crossed bun, complete with all the fruity bits you'd come to expect from that, like currants, raisins, saltanas and citrus zest. You can find them sold on the street at special stands, called Oliebollenkraam. Perhaps the most famous of these is Richard Visser's, which stands on the corner of the Heemraadssingel and the Vierambachtsstraat and has been voted to have the best Oliebollen in the Netherlands many times over the years.
Rookworst actually means "smoke sausage", which is ironic since most rookworst isn't actually smoked nowadays. Instead, smoked aromatics are added to the ground meat and spices to give it that smokey flavour and taste. These make a tasty snack on their own, or as a sandwich filling. You can pick them up in most supermarkets, but the most famous is to be found at HEMA, who boast a 60 year old recipe. You don't keep doing the same thing for that long for no good reason.
Haring en ui
This is probably the most niche item on the list. Soused herring will likely not be to everyone's taste, but that doesn't prevent it from being one of Rotterdam's most famous foods. There are many ways to eat Dutch herring, but the 'haring en ui' is a specific way of serving the fish, completely raw and covered in chopped onions. The herring will have been soaked in a preserving marinade, involving herbs, spices, cider and wine. The best part of 'haring en ui' is the traditional method of eating. No knives and forks here, instead you'll hold the fish by the tail and dangled into your mouth. You'll find stalls selling it on the roadside, or at the Market Hall, if that sounds like your kind of thing.
Frikandel is the second sausage on the list, but probably couldn't be much more different from the rookworst. This tasty frankenstein creation contains different types of meat (chicken and pork, traditionally, with sometimes a hint of horse) and has no skin. It's deep fried, which means it's automatically delicious, and served with a curry ketchup or mayonnaise. You can usually get a side of fries to round out the meal from most street sellers.
These aren't the only traditional foods you'll find in Rotterdam, but they're definitely our top five. If you make it through all of those, you may want to hunt down some bitterballen, gouda cheese or chocoladeletters. All of which should be available from street sellers. If you're having trouble tracking down anything on this list, you'll be able to find it all at the Market Hall. Happy eating!