Bitterballs? Yes, bitterballs. Try them! We tell you where to find the good ones—even great ones in the city of Amsterdam.
America has apple pie. Scotland has haggis (a pie made with sheep’s heart, liver, lungs, and stomach). But what food is super-Dutch?
Some say it’s stamppot—a mash made of, say, potatoes, sauerkraut, and sausage. But we think there’s something way more appealing: bitterballs. Yes, bitterballs.
Before you say no, be advised that bitterballs aren’t bitter. They’re a savory snack, deepfried. Biting into a bitterball is like biting into fried chicken: there’s a satisfying crunch to the crust. What inside? Beef bouillon, usually. Minced onion. Bits of meat. Or chicken. Mushrooms. Or cheese. It’s a kind of ragout, held together by breadcrumbs.
Look for good ones—even great ones. Go to the still-trendy Ballenbar at the Amsterdam Food Halls (called Foodhallen, Bellamyplein 51). This food stand offers different flavors, including truffle, parsnip, shrimp, and the more traditional veal bitterball. If you’re near Central Station, you’ll find bitterballs at Bistro Berlage (Beursplein 1-3). And if you’re strolling around Amsterdam South, drop in at Wildschut Café (Roelof Hartplein 1).
Weirdly, one of Amsterdam’s best pastry shops, Patisserie Holtkamp (Vijzelgracht 15), sells boxed bitterballs you can deep-fry at home. They’re pricey—but well worth the dosh.