LIVE TO EAT: In Haarlem, the delicious “Hollandse Nieuwe” herring experience.


The approach was carefully rehearsed. Hell, I’d been thinking about it for nine years.

We were at the Grote Markt, Haarlem’s main square. Inge’s daughter was in school, and the three of us were planning on a 20-minute walk to a recycling/thrift store, but first … heavenly street food sustenance.

There was a preview of “Hollandse Nieuwe” haring (herring) in this space last Friday, including comments by travel impresario Rick Steves:

TRAVEL PRELUDES: Herring, preferably by the tail.

 … I’m under the towering church spire in the tidy Dutch market town of Haarlem, tempted to eat a pickled herring. The sign atop the mobile van reads: “Jos Haring — Gezond en Lekkerrr” (healthy and deeeeeelicious).

It appears that Mr. Steves and I dined at the very same mobile herring delivery vehicle.

First the chopped onion dredge.

Then, the hoist and descent.

My, my; how very fishy and satisfying.

As you can see, they’re sizable edibles; the haring had been deboned and sliced mere seconds before ingestion.

By the way, Haarlem’s town hall is in the background.

The second and final bite was about to land.

Two delicious tastes, and the haring was finished. Seconds? Don’t worry, because plenty of quality time remained.

Now we were ready to walk.

Originally the “Hollandse Nieuwe” haring being recounted here was intended for consumption on Wednesday, the day of our arrival. However, by the time we finished an opening round of drinks and got organized, the proprietor was depleted for the day.

Hence, the saddest sight in all of the Netherlands.

Luckily, these haring-and-fish vending stands are all over Haarlem. This one’s a classy joint …

 … and yet another was busy on the Grote Markt on Saturday, market day.

Nine years between fresh Dutch new herrings?

It just isn’t right, and you can bet your bottom Euro that it won’t happen again.