Grocery Stores & The American Flag

25 Jul

If you spend much time in a Dutch grocery store, you’ll notice the American Flag can be found scattered throughout the shelves, freezers, and bins. Certain foods here have a reputation of being “American” foods, and are usually marketed with the familiar stars and stripes. Hot Dogs (and hot dog buns), pizza (not the “authentic” kind, but the kind loaded with toppings), popcorn, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise (though only when it’s called “mayonnaise” is it American. It’s also known as “Fritesauce”, for putting on your fries, and then it lacks the American packaging), and the confusing “Fillet American”. This last one is what Americans would call Steak Tartare, and I don’t know a single American who eats it, so I have no clue why the Dutch think it’s an American food.

Albert Heijn has recently started carrying “Big American” pizzas. These are usually thick crust pizzas, with topping combinations such as “Hawaii”, “Supreme”, “Deluxe”, “Texas BBQ”, etc, as well as a host of other combinations that I would never even consider.

The local Aldi markets have started carrying a few items from their “Trader Joe’s” corporate sister. TJs are only found in the US, so the page in the Aldi circular is filled with the red, white & blue, and trumpets how “American” these products are.

A few weeks ago, we were out with some of Roxy’s colleagues, and 2 of them ordered Hot Dogs. They arrived, fresh out of the microwave, in a cardboard box with a giant American flag on them. The Dutch among them asked us “Is this really what hot dogs in America are like?” “Yup”, we assured them, “except we don’t microwave the bun with the hot dog.” I tried to then explain a “foot-long” hot dog to them, but that was just met with disbelieving stares.

Finally, we went to see Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 last night, and the popcorn tubs were, of course, emblazoned with the American flag.

I don’t see much of the British Flag here, in stark contrast to Budapest, where it seemed like every block had a “British Second Hand Store”, selling used clothing, presumably from the UK. I have yet to see anything like that in Amsterdam, probably because it’s only a 45 minute flight to London from here, so people can just go buy their own British clothing, were they so inclined.


Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Life in the Dam


5 responses to “Grocery Stores & The American Flag

  1. Invader_Stu

    July 26, 2011 at 22:32

    Maybe if the Dutch start selling bangers and mash we’ll get to see more of the British flag

  2. Ghyl Tarvoke

    July 28, 2011 at 12:26

    The origins of filet americain explained (in dutch)
    and as mentioned in the article it weren’t the Dutch who named it filet americain, you can blame the Belgians for that

    • thedewaddict

      July 28, 2011 at 17:23

      Interesting, thanks! I was reading the other day that American call frites “French Fries” because they were introduced to them by Belgian soldiers who spoke….French. I guess since the Belgians brought us frites, I’ll let them pass on Filet American.

  3. Bear

    March 27, 2012 at 07:13

    I really like your blog. I’m not a expat, but i’m really enjoying your blog.
    So what is a dutchie doing here. I was reading about expats that lived in other countries like japan and america so i was curious what expats living in the netherlands experience.

    So i know this one about fritessaus.
    The american fritessaus is not the same as fritessaus.
    Dutch fritessaus is a saus based of mayonaise which contains less oil.
    The american fritessaus is based of a saus from utah i think where they have a sauce called fry sauce its mayo mixed with ketchup and added spices and other flavoring. But because those companies targeted dutch people they removed the ketchup from the mix. So american fritessaus is called american fritessaus to distinguish from the dutch version and also point to the origin of the saus. If you would buy you see that the color is different from the dutch ones.

    What i also wanted to say was if you find dutch mayonaise to be too sweet, because in my knowlegde in most countries it tastes more sour. You maybe want to take a look at the belgium mayonaise “belgische mayonaise” which is more sour.

    • thedewaddict

      March 30, 2012 at 09:31

      Wow, I had no idea. Thanks! I’ll have to try some of those out!


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