A version of this article originally appeared on MUNCHIES Netherlands.
We’ve all been there: One post-work drink on Friday turns into 10 post-work drinks, and before you know it, whether or not you’ve already eaten dinner doesn’t matter, and neither does the balance of your bank account. You’re ravenously hungry and hightail it to your local greasy spoon, where you immediately place an order for two hot dogs, a double cheeseburger, and a large order of waffle fries. Studies show that drunk people spend their hard-earned money much more easily than those who stay sober and, by comparison, also spend much more of it. This may explain why you woke up on your couch last weekend with a massive hangover and also while cradling a bucket of 40 chicken wings in your arms.
To discover what foods people crave when they’re under the influence, our colleagues at MUNCHIES Netherlands took to the streets of Amsterdam and asked passersby about their impulse buys, overspending, and what it's like to make new friends by drunkenly sharing our food with a total stranger.
Zoe (18), Student
MUNCHIES: Hi, Zoe! Let’s say you just left the club and you’re hammered. What do you eat?Zoe: McDonald’s, always. My friends and I always share a box of twenty chicken nuggets. It’s nice and cheap. Being drunk makes me a bit greedy, because I feel guilty about the amount of money I’ve spent.
So you’re never hungry while you’re going out?
A lot of the time, I feel like sneaking out to quickly get a snack. But I usually don’t, because my friends wouldn’t approve. If you leave to go eat something, you go with the whole group.
Tell us about your most legendary drunk meal.
After a party at school, I was at Burger King very late at night. We were way too young to be that drunk, but I think I was actually sober. Standing next to me was a girl from school who was very drunk and high, and she’d probably taken other drugs as well. At some point, she dropped her drink on the floor. She then laughed so hard that her legs gave out, so she ended up sitting on the floor in a pool of soda. She couldn’t stop laughing and kept rolling around in her beverage.
Jasper (22), Bartender at Kopstootbar
MUNCHIES: Hey Jasper, what do you eat when you’re drunk and get the munchies?
Jasper: ‘Kappa Mikey,’ which is what my friends and I call kapsalon [a Dutch snack food consisting of fries, topped with döner or shawarma meat, grilled with a layer of Gouda cheese until melted, and then covered with a layer of dressed salad greens]. I don’t actually know why.
When you’re drunk, do you usually eat with friends or would you rather snack alone?
Usually with friends, but if the bike ride is too long, I usually go to de Rozengracht [a street in central Amsterdam]. Mesut 2 is located there, which is my favorite restaurant and coincidentally also across the street from my house.
Have you ever made an impulse purchase while you were drunk?
Last week, I got drunk and bought a leather jacket. I was at work in Kopstootbar and had taken a few kopstootjes [which is Dutch for “little headbutt,” and consists of a beer and a shot of Dutch gin] already.
A leather jacket, that doesn’t sound cheap.
I spent 150 euros. A friend showed it to me on his phone while I was behind the bar, and I told him, ‘Just buy it.’ I logged into my PayPal account on his phone and bought the jacket. It hasn’t arrived yet, but I think I’m going to keep it.
Idris (22), works at Petit Caron Wine Bar
MUNCHIES: Hi, Idris! What’s your favorite thing to eat when you’re drunk?
Idris: Kapsalon, if any restaurants [that serve it] are still open.
Do you spend a lot of money after a few too many drinks?
The eyes are sometimes bigger than the stomach, right? When you’re drunk and you see all these pictures of food, you can imagine eating anything. It makes you order some of this, that, and a little bit of something else on top. So sometimes you end up spending a lot. I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m a big eater. That’s just who I am.
"I just realized that over the past year, I’ve spent more than $800 on kapsalons."
What is the biggest meal you’ve ever ordered?
I once ordered two kapsalons, and I managed to eat both of them in a very short amount of time. Ultimately, I wasn’t too happy about that. I had heart palpitations and started to sweat. I’m not proud of it, but hey, these things happen.
You like kapsalons a lot, don’t you?
I do. In 2017, I kept a list of how many I ate. I put every kapsalon I consumed on Snapchat, accompanied by how many I had already eaten. Suddenly everyone asked "So, how many do you want to eat?"—and then "how many do I eat?" turned into "how many can I eat?" My goal was to eat 100 of them. On December 31, I ordered my 100th kapsalon at my favorite snack bar, Big Snack Heuft on Victoriaplein. I got it for free and they allowed me to make it myself. And then I realized that, over the past year, I’ve spent more than $800 on kapsalons.
How did you do it?
It was a battle. Sometimes I wouldn’t eat a kapsalon for two weeks straight, so in the three weeks after that I had to really make an effort. I had kapsalon for breakfast and dinner. It wasn’t easy. At some point, everyone is expecting you to make it to 100. So you ignore pasta bolognese and head out to the snack bar again.
What did the people around you think of the challenge?
My roommates were my biggest fans and most loyal supporters. They’d often say, ‘Idris, you have to go get one now, because otherwise you’re not going to make it.’
Lidie (23), Student
MUNCHIES: Hey Lidie, what do you eat when you’re drunk?
Lidie: Pizza, McDonald’s, or FEBO [a Dutch chain of snack bars]. Preferably FEBO, because there’s never a line. For pizza I go to Luna Rossa; they serve the best quality for the price. My food ordering app was bugging out recently, doubling all my orders for a week. I had already ordered twice that week and called after because of that bug. After my third order, they called me and literally said, ‘Hey Lidie, you placed a double order again, right?’. They actually knew my name.
Research shows that drunk people spend more money. Does that sound about right?
I spend a lot of money on food in general, but after I’ve been drinking I definitely spend more. I usually order too much, like a patatje oorlog [which is Dutch for ‘war fries,’ and is made from French fries topped with mayonnaise, chopped raw onions, and Indonesian saté sauce]. But when I subsequently try to give it away, people look at me like I’m insane. Once I’ve found a drunk victim [who wants my food], we become very close friends.
Does that mean you usually buy most of the rounds when you’re going out?
I’m always buying everyone drinks. Usually mixed drinks like vodka-lemon, which get quite expensive. Once I’m half in the bag, I want everyone to drink what I’m drinking. So I buy them all expensive drinks.
Have you ever made a drunken impulse buy?
I bought a winter coat in Berlin in the middle of summer. I was on a trip with a friend and we had spent the day drinking wine. The weather was beautiful and we decided to go to a vintage store. I put on a coat that cost $50 and my friend immediately said, ‘This coat is made for you!’ and so I bought it.
How many times did you wear that coat?
The next day I thought, this thing weighs 200 pounds and it’s fucking summer, why did I buy this coat? I put it on in Berlin for a bit, but was sweating bullets. The first time I wore it, it was out of principle. I didn’t want it to disappear into my closet. But ultimately, I’ve been wearing it for the past three winters.
Gabriel (18), Student
MUNCHIES: Hey Gabriel, what do you eat when you’re drunk and hungry?
Gabriel: Junk food. Anything I feel like eating. Usually a box with nine chicken nuggets. Just a menu, you know. Fries, a drink, all together.
Compared to when you’re sober, do you eat more when you're drunk?
No—dude, I’m not going to spend a lot of money when I’m drunk. I just want a quick snack. I spend $15 to $20 tops.
That’s quite a lot for a quick bite.
What do others spend on food? Sixty dollars? For $15 to $20, I’m happy. I usually don’t spend more money when I’m drunk. What I eat at night, I’d eat just as easily during the day.
Have you ever done a drunken impulse buy?
When I’ve had too much to drink, I usually can’t remember anything the day after. I think I might have once drunkenly bought a bucket full of chicken at KFC. I [later] thought, Hey, how did that end up there? I had no idea.