5 Belgium Dishes That Will Make Your Mouth Water
Since I’m back in my home country after having been abroad for a whole year, it’s fair to say that I’ve quite indulged in the Belgian cuisine. Belgium isn’t called a culinary country for nothing. Below, I will list the top Belgian dishes, meals, desserts and snacks that you must try while in Belgium.
Belgium’s famous fries have mistakenly been called ‘French fries’ for more than two centuries now. Apparently, fries were served for the first time in the White House in the 19th century. There, the food was served as “potatoes served in the French manner.” Later on, during World War I, American soldiers in Belgium were served fries, and they deemed them to be ‘French fries’ because they thought that they were in France. So, we can see that the confusion stems from a bygone period.
But don’t worry. Belgians will never get confused about one of their best inventions. In fact, we’re so proud of our fries that pretty much everywhere you go (whether a city, town or village) will have its own frietkot (roughly translated as ‘fry shack’). These places not only serve fries, but also hamburgers, spring rolls, meat on skewers, and many other foods that you can fry. And let me tell you, these places have THE BEST fries. If there is one thing I missed the most about my home cuisine when I was traveling in a foreign country, it was this delicious food.
Fries are also often served at events, such as music festivals and national celebrations. And, of course, they are also served in abundance on July 21st during our national holiday, so you can watch the national parade while munching away.
(Wow! What an ode to the fry I wrote down here, huh?)
Mussels from Brussels.
Do you think our mussels are called this just because it rhymes? Puh-lease. Mussels are another dish that Belgians take a lot of pride in. And guess what? They will most likely be served with fries. These dishes are called moules-frites (French) or mosselen met frietjes (Dutch) and can be translated as ‘mussels with fries’. When they’re in season (which usually starts in July), the best place to eat them is at the Belgian coast. What better way to eat seafood than being surrounded by the smell of the salty sea. Whenever I would come to the coast in the summer, I would find a restaurant with a nice terrace in the sun and then order some mussels with fries, together with some white wine. Talk about relaxing.
Belgium is also known for its world-famous waffles. We don’t have any waffle shops or restaurants dedicated to waffles (as is commonly thought abroad). But we do have trucks here and there (although they mainly occur in Brussels), which sell gaufres de Liège or Luikse wafels (‘waffles from Liège’ – a province and city in Belgium). These waffles are served hot and are covered in honey. They’re perfect on a crisp autumn afternoon or a cold winter day for warming yourself up!
We also have a type of waffle called Brusselse wafel (‘waffle from Brussels’), which you can often get at restaurants and brasserie’s (restaurants where they mainly serve beer with food like fries and grilled sandwiches). These waffles are super airy, crispy and are covered in floury sugar. You often get the option to add some more butter on top. Some people tend not to like these because they are too airy. I used to love these as a child (and I still do). But to be honest, the best waffles you can find in Belgium are the ones you or most likely your grandma makes at home. These are nice and soft and are often eaten with brown sugar (that’s the way my grandmother makes it, but it’s different all over Belgium). If you’re planning on doing an exchange in Belgium, and you have the possibility of staying with a host family, ask them to make some waffles with you. It doesn’t only taste amazing, but it’s also a fun family bonding activity!
These ‘pancakes’ are not like the thick American kind; rather, they are more comparable to French crêpes. These pancakes are very thin, but slightly thicker than crêpes. They’re often served with brown or white sugar, butter, jam, Nutella, fruit or another kind of sweet. In Belgium, you will find many restaurants and café’s specialised in these pannekoeken and serve them with coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Did you think I would forget the most important food of all? No way! I was just saving the best for last. When going abroad, I’ve found that after I introduce myself (“Hi! I’m Hanna and I’m from Belgium.”), the answer I’m most likely to get is “chocolate!” Not even a full sentence. Just that word. But us Belgians don’t mind being identified with one of the best treats ever made! In Belgium, you can find so many variations of chocolate desserts that I’ve lost count. The most popular chocolate brand in Belgium is Côte D’Or. I haven’t seen it abroad that many times, but sometimes I have been lucky enough to find it (and eat it). In my opinion, Côte D’Or has the best chocolate in the world! Godiva is a very famous Belgian brand abroad, but to be honest, Belgians barely ever go to Godiva for their chocolate. A variation of chocolate that Belgians LOVE are pralines. Every city has a few praline shops. The most famous ones are Leonidas and Neuhaus. These are chocolates with some form of filling. Be careful what you order, though, because sometimes they can have liquor in them.
There you have it. A post all about the best Belgian foods by a very proud Belgian. I travel a lot and I adore foods from other countries. But, sometimes, I just long for some typical Belgian foods. (My friends have heard me complain enough about the bad fries abroad!)
Have you ever been to Belgium? Did you try any of the foods mentioned above? Or, if you haven’t been, what food are you most eager to try? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!