- On July 12, 2018
- In Tips for travellers
What are Amsterdam bitterballen?
“Bitterballen” are typical Dutch snacks. Often eaten whilst having drinks with your friends in a pub at the end of a workday or during receptions. The standard Bitterbal consists of a tasty meat ragout made from either veal or beef at the centre which is then covered in breadcrumbs and then deep fried. There are some unique variations on this basic recipe. We’ve selected the 5 most special Amsterdam bitterballen options for you to try out during your stay in Holland’s capital.
Bitterballen at Kantjil & De Tijger
The Indonesian restaurant Kantjil & de Tijger has been on the Spui street for over 25 years. A lesser known fact: bitterballen are also on the menu there besides the traditional rice tables. To be a little more specific: rendang and ajam ritja balls. One is filled with spicy beef, the other has a ragout filling made from spicy chicken fillet. The balls can only be ordered during the lunch. They are included in the high tea, but you can also order them separately (€ 7.90 for five balls).
Address: Spuistraat 291-293
Bitterballen at Mediamatic
The king of vegetarian bitterballen, that’s what you may call chef Thor of Mediamatic. Of the seven vegetarian balls (seven balls for € 8.50) that he sells, five are vegan. They all have different colors and with different tastes. The white coco-Thai, red Chili mexx and yellowish Baltibal have been eaten at the restaurant for five years, where almost everything is produced sustainably and locally.
Address: Dijksgracht 6
Bitterballen at Café Luxembourg
In 2012, Café Luxembourg’s bitterbal was chosen as the tastiest in Amsterdam. A title that the café can still proudly use, as there have been no new elections since. You pay € 7.50 for six classic bitterballs. Not all credits go to the cafe. The veal bitterballs are made by the Amsterdam patisserie Holtkamp, the iconic pastry shop that has been on the Vijzelgracht since 1969.
Address: Spui 24
Amsterdam Bitterballen at Café de Ceuvel
Balls made from coffee – well, something like that. Oyster mushrooms are grown on coffee-grounds, after which they are ground with spices and processed into a ragout. A layer of breadcrumbs around it and you have sustainable oyster mushroom balls (Five for € 5.95). For sale at the Ceuvel, the café where almost every dish and drink has a sustainable edge.
Address: Short Papaverweg 4
The walhalla of Amsterdam bitterballen: more than 25 varieties can be tasted at Bar Bitterbal. Half are vegetarian, the other half with meat. Peking Duck Ball is the most popular. Anyone who’s afraid that Bar Bitterbal is full of tourists is worried about nothing: it’s mainly Amsterdam residents who come here to enjoy the regular beef and veal bitterballs (€ 5.50 for five) to the North Sea shrimp balls (€ 11.50 per five) ).
Address: Utrechtsestraat 18
How to make bitterballen?
Making bitterballen is a labor of love. First, you start with a roux, which is a mixture of flour and fat. Then, you add stock, typically beef or chicken, and let the mixture simmer until it thickens.
Once the roux has reached the desired consistency, you add your flavorings: salt, pepper, nutmeg, and sometimes vinegar. Next comes the tricky part: shaping the mixture into balls.
This can be done by hand, but many people prefer to use a bitterballenmaker. Once the balls are formed, they’re fried in hot oil until they’re golden brown and crispy on the outside. Serve them with mustard for dipping and enjoy!
What meat is in bitterballen?
For the uninitiated, bitterballen are a Dutch snack made of deep-fried balls of meaty goodness. The key ingredient in bitterballen is, of course, meat. But what kind of meat? Well, that’s a bit of a mystery.
The traditional recipe for bitterballen calls for “beef or veal knuckle,” but many modern chefs use a variety of meats, including chicken, pork, and even lamb. So, if you’re looking for a taste of bitterballen, you’ll just have to try a few and see for yourself!