Bitter… balls?

The name bitterballen, or bitter balls, conjures up all kinds of images and not entirely wholesome ideas from sour edibles hardly fit for consumption to a sex toy you might find in the Red Light district. In fact, these deep-fried morsels of God knows what are a staple of Dutch cuisine and are on offer in nearly every brown bar, café and restaurant throughout the country. You’ll see refined people in suits and evening dresses gulping down these breadcrumb encrusted snacks at gallery openings and charity events just as often as you see construction workers slowly chewing them with a beer after a day’s work.

Why slowly you might ask. The soft interior, a ragout of meat, parsley, onion, spices and other mystery ingredients is often served at a temperature usually only seen in magma chambers beneath volcanoes or on the surface of the sun. This always creates interesting facial expressions, unusual sucking sounds and the inevitable grasping for any cold liquid available, even in experienced Dutch snack eaters. If you’re too scared to try this national treat, watch our bitterballen video, but if you do decide to give it a go, then don’t forget to dip it in some tasty Dutch mustard.


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