Belgium
Belgium, Countries
 19 Jun '23
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Belgium is a small country at the North Sea, divided into three regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. Each region has its own cultural identity, history and language.

Flanders

Flanders is the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, where you can find medieval cities like Bruges and Ghent, as well as the cosmopolitan port of Antwerp.

Bruges – Ghent – Antwerp – Ostend

Wallonia

Wallonia is the French-speaking part of Belgium, where you can explore the Ardennes forest, the Meuse valley and the charming town of Dinant.

Brussels

Brussels is the bilingual capital of Belgium and the European Union, where you can admire the Grand Place, the Atomium and the Manneken Pis.

The culinary tradition of Belgium

But Belgium is not only about its diverse landscapes and architecture. It is also a country with a rich and varied culinary tradition that reflects its multicultural influences. Belgian cuisine is famous for its chocolate, beer and waffles, but there is much more to discover and taste. Here are some of the most typical Belgian dishes and where to eat them in Brussels.

Mussels

One of the most iconic Belgian dishes is moules-frites, or mussels and fries. This dish consists of fresh mussels cooked in a pot with white wine, garlic, onion and parsley, served with crispy fries and mayonnaise. You can find moules-frites in almost any restaurant in Belgium, but some of the best places to try it in Brussels are Chez Léon, Aux Armes de Bruxelles and La Quincaillerie.

Fries

Speaking of fries, they are not just a side dish in Belgium. They are a national pride and a snack on their own. Belgian fries are different from other fries because they are double-fried: first at a lower temperature to cook them through, then at a higher temperature to make them crispy. The best fries are found at street stalls called friteries or frietkots, where you can choose from a variety of sauces to top them with. Some of the most popular sauces are mayonnaise, ketchup, curry ketchup, andalouse (a spicy mayo), samurai (a hot chili mayo) and stoofvleessaus (a beef stew sauce). Some of the best friteries in Brussels are Maison Antoine, Fritland and Friterie de la Barrière.

Meatballs

Another classic Belgian dish is meatballs, which vary by region. In Flanders, they are called balletjes or bouletten and are made with a mix of beef and pork meat, seasoned with bread crumbs, egg, onion and parsley. They are usually served in a rich tomato sauce with fries or mashed potatoes. In Wallonia, they are called boulets liégeois or boulets à la liégeoise and are made with the same meat mixture but served in a sweet and sour sauce made with beef stock, onion, vinegar and fruit syrup (usually apple or pear). They are often accompanied by fries or salad. In Brussels, you can try both versions of meatballs at Balls & Glory, Balls & Wine or Balls House.

Flemish Stew

Flemish stew or stoofvlees is a hearty dish that originated in Flanders but is popular all over Belgium. It is made with beef chunks that are slowly braised in dark beer (usually a strong ale like Leffe or Chimay), onion, bay leaf, thyme and brown sugar. The result is a tender and flavorful meat that melts in your mouth, served with fries or bread. Some variations of the dish include adding mustard, gingerbread or chocolate to the sauce for extra richness. Some of the best places to enjoy Flemish stew in Brussels are Nüetnigenough, Restobières and Fin de Siècle.

Grey Shrimp Croquettes

Grey shrimp or grijze garnalen are tiny shrimps that are caught in the North Sea and are considered a delicacy in Belgium. They are used to make croquettes or kroketten, which are deep-fried balls of creamy béchamel sauce mixed with cheese and shrimps. The croquettes are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, served with lemon wedges and parsley. They are usually eaten as a starter or a snack, but can also be a main course if accompanied by salad or fries. Some of the best places to try grey shrimp croquettes in Brussels are Chez Vincent, La Roue d’Or and Brasserie de la Presse.

Waffles

No list of Belgian food would be complete without mentioning waffles or gaufres. Waffles are one of the most famous Belgian desserts and snacks, sold by street vendors and cafes all over the country. There are two main types of waffles in Belgium: Brussels waffles and Liège waffles. Brussels waffles are rectangular, light and airy, with large holes and crispy edges. They are usually topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, strawberries or other fruits. Liège waffles are round, dense and chewy, with smaller holes and caramelized edges. They are usually eaten plain or with a sprinkle of sugar, as they are already sweetened with pearl sugar in the batter. Some of the best places to eat waffles in Brussels are Maison Dandoy, Le Funambule and Waffle Factory.

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