FEBO – Dutch Fast Food in the Wall

feboWalking down the streets in Amsterdam, it is impossible to miss FEBO, the Dutch chain of walk up vending machine style fast food “restaurants.” My friends and I always refer to FEBO simply as “food in the wall.” You will see FEBO shops everywhere in Amsterdam. A FEBO looks like a wall of microwaves with transparent doors and coin slots instead of a keypad, but the food actually sits inside little metal boxes under some kind of heating device. Behind the wall of automatic coin operated food dispensers, the FEBO employees busily prepare the food and upload it into the individual compartments.

The food inside each unit is a typical Dutch snack such as Frikandel (sausage), Kaassouffle (deep fried cheese pastry), Kroket (deep fried gravy croquette) or typical burgers. My first experience at FEBO was late one night when a friend opened the wrong door and then shoved what I think was some kind of beef croquette into my hand. I quickly woofed it down only to later wonder what it was. It looked like some kind of solidified or condensed soup which was deep-fried in batter. I think the best bets are the burgers or the chicken sandwiches and, while I’m happy to have tried a croquette, I stay away from the mysterious fried delights.

febo1In speaking with a few people, I get the impression that the locals don’t actually mind eating the stuff. Keith Jenkins, editor of the Velvet Escape and Amsterdam resident, mentioned that he thought the croquettes with rice or spicy noodles (bami) along with the veal/beef were great. While I generally prefer to hit up the falafel and shawarma stands around town for late night munchies, I still hit the FEBO every so often. If you spend any amount of time in Amsterdam, it’s really just a matter of how much time will pass before you end up putting your Euros in the slot and taking out a piece of food. You really have to give FEBO a try when you are in Amsterdam. The food is cheap and they’re also open 24 hours a day.

IMAGES VIA Alkan Chaglar and basheem on Flickr

7 thoughts on “FEBO – Dutch Fast Food in the Wall

  • It’s definitely better than the vending machines we find here in North America! How did I miss this during my last trip to Amsterdam (2004)?!

  • The Febo really is a Dutch institution. It’s also your saviour after a long night of partying! I can recommend the beef and veal croquettes. The ones stuffed with rice or spicy noodles (bami) are pretty good too. I’ve always stayed away from the frikandel. If other french fries (patat) & mayo places are closed, the Febo is your best bet!

  • My two favorite foods in Amsterdam are Vlaamse Frites and the Indonesian food. I think that Amsterdam has some of the best Indonesian food in the world, probably because Indonesia was a dutch colony for so long. I still dream about this place I stopped into that I swear they gave us, I don’t know, 15 or 20 different courses? All I know is that all of this food in small portions just kept coming and coming. It was cheap and sooooo good. We also stopped in at another Indonesian place the next day that still had many courses, but wasn’t as good. Man, I really, really wish I could remember the name and location of that first restaurant, it was one of the best meals of my life.

    I think that some of the best ‘french fries’ (Frites)in the world can be found in the Netherlands. They are even good with mayonnaise, but I’m pretty sure dutch mayonnaise is different than the American kind. Though most Vlaamse establishments have all kinds of different sauces you can try with their little bits of fried potato goodness. I also think that the way they are served, in the paper cones with little forks so you can pull each fry through whatever delicious condiment is on there, is INGENIOUS! If you work it right, you can see that each frite gets just the right amount of whatever you’ve decided to put on there. Somebody once told me that the frites were even better in Belgium but I never tried them there.

    On thing, I say don’t bother with anything tomatoey if you are an American. American style ketchup is only found in America. I think it’s because American ketchup only has enough tomato in it to make all the salt and sugar in it red, which is why it’s SO dang tasty. No other country seems to be willing to put that much sodium and empty calories into a single condiment. To an American, ketchup anywhere else in the world is a disappointment, and besides, nothing marks you like an American tourist the way asking for ketchup does, I think that’s true worldwide. So if you go to Amsterdam, try the Dutch Mayo, or at least the curry sauce, anything, just don’t bother with the tomato based stuff, it may ruin the experience for you.

  • Back in the day, the Automat was very common. It predates FEBO. “Inspired by the Quisiana Automat in Berlin, the first automat in the U.S. was opened June 12, 1902 at 818 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia by Horn & Hardart” The automat died a slow death with the spread to the suburbs and the rise of fast food restaurants. See
    Wikepedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automat.

  • Does anyone in the world know where these “automat” or “febo” food dispensing machines can be purchased. I have been trying to find them but no luck ………….thank you

  • “I think the best bets are the burgers or the chicken sandwiches”

    Way off, Kaassouffle, Kroket, and Frites… absolutely the only choices.

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