Bitterballen & the best breakfast: Netherlands foodie adventures of 2023

. 2 min read

In April this year, my partner and I visited Amsterdam. I've never been in the Netherlands before and was above all super excited to see all the little canal bridges everywhere. But if you're going there, you might as well try the local cuisine, so at lunch on the first day, I ordered a Dutch delicacy called bitterballen.

I was confused. The little deep fried ball was full of this thick meat sauce, but it didn't taste like anything, let alone bitter. The only thing that tasted even remotely bitter was the Dijon mustard the balls were supposed to be dipped in. I later researched the matter online and found out that Dutch cuisine is characteristically flavorless as a legacy from wartime rationing.

This lead me to conclude that the dish is called bitterballen because naming it that was the only way to add flavor to it, much like Andrew Tate called his flavorless bean and rice mush "flavor" - just to add some flavor.

After finishing that lunch, I thought that my bitterballen eating experience was over for good. Until the very next day, when we found out that our hotel was serving bitterballen at a cocktail party to celebrate the king's birthday.

(If you've been in the Netherlands on the king's birthday, you know it's no joke. Orange-wearing people flood the streets and there are pop-up Heineken and Aperol bars at every corner. The canals get filled with booze cruises. By 3 pm, everyone is drunk. It gets crazier from there.)

But moving on with the story!

After exploring Amsterdam exhaustively on the first day of the trip, the next morning we decided to take the train to a nearby little town by the sea, called Zandvoort. I had no idea that the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix takes place there, and I was even more astonished to see that it's so close that you can walk there from the station. (We were a few months early though, of course.) After freezing our feet in the water while looking for seashells on the shore, we walked to the center of the town and found a breakfast place that conveniently also served cocktails in the a.m. There I ordered a Moscow Mule and scrambled eggs with bacon and avocado.

That's probably the best breakfast I've ever had. In fact, the whole town was so freaking cute that we had to go back there the next day. We ate at that same place and I had the same dish again.

Both those days, we came back to Amsterdam in time for dinner, since we found a good steakhouse early on on the trip and wanted to exploit it to the max.

Needless to say, our trip to the Netherlands was epic.


P.S. In Iceland, however, I experienced a little curiosity called a swim-up bar...