Early last year, I got a chance to have a quick pass through Belgium which included a day long stopover in Brussels. What I discovered there – in the few hours that I roamed the streets – was that Brussels (and the rest of Belgium for that matter) has some amazing architecture, awesome street art, and of course a love for food, beer, and chocolate.
While I couldn’t experience the culinary offerings in detail, here are four food and drink items you can easily find in Belgium, while walking the streets, that you must try no matter how long you are in the country for.
I’ll must warn you though, on the surface, they aren’t anything special or unique to the region; rather it’s the taste, flavours, and of course the fact the Belgians make them really good that matters;
Belgian Fries – Potato chips, French fries, call them whatever you like, but it seems the folks in Belgium got the recipe perfect and just decided not to share it with the rest of the world.
Sized slightly thicker than the lousy thin ones often found at fast food restaurants and thinner than the thick hand-cut or wedges, Belgian fries can be found in specialized shops or as part of bigger restaurants and at cafes.
They come with a variety of condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, onions, and so much more) and are cooked so as there is no oily residue and have the perfect subtle outside crunch with a softer inside that makes every bite simply scrumptious.
Belgian Waffles – You’re likely to find “One Euro Waffle” signs round every corner – and a long line of people outside the shops waiting patiently to take their pick no matter the weather – as you move through the main touristy spots in Brussels.
Sweet or savory, plain or loaded, trademark chequered design, thick and soft, waffles have never been this good, anywhere else in the world.
Strawberry Dipped in Chocolate – Godiva is heavenly when it comes to chocolates and guess what, they rule the streets of Brussels. I came across four Godiva shops in about a two kilometer radius around Grand Place and in addition to this there are many more chocolate stores.
Belgian Chocolate is world renowned and for good reason, but here’s the thing, try a cone of Godiva’s fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate because that freshness of the bright red juicy strawberries with the sweetness of chocolate is a sure-shot one-way ticket to heaven.
Beer – Belgians have so many varieties of beers that if you try one every day, you’ll easily make it through most of the year without having to repeat.
But, the best way to experience beer in Belgium is by having a seat at one of the many cafes that dot the streets and enjoy it while you watch people go by.
I’ve always found “street” food to be the perfect way to experience local culture and specialties. Moreover, when left with only a few hours to visit a city, it serves the best way to replenish some energy while on the move.
Hopefully you too will find these quick bites, which are also cheap, a tasty way to fill up your tummy as you walk through the streets admiring all that Brussels have to offer.