What to eat in Brussels? Discover the typical Belgian food
Are you traveling to the city and still don’t know what to eat in Brussels? Haven’t you tried the typical Belgian food yet? Find out here!
Although Belgium is a small country, it has a long and rich history dating back to Ancient Rome. During the Middle Ages, it became relevant thanks to trade. For that reason, nowadays, it has thousands of spectacular medieval and Renaissance buildings in cities such as Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, and Leuven. And, Even though it does not look like it, in addition to an extensive cultural heritage, it also has a varied gastronomy that not everyone knows. So, if you do not know how to answer the question: “what to eat in Brussels?”, continue reading this post! You will find out the typical Belgian food.
What to eat in Brussels at first? The famous Belgian fries!
While there are different theories about the origin of French fries, many claim that the potato frying technique was invented in Belgium. Be that as it may, this is one of the star dishes of Belgian gastronomy. Indeed, many people consider them the best in the world. But why? Because, like Dutch fries, people often fry them twice to obtain a crunchy texture on the outside and creamy on the inside. In addition, sauces such as mayonnaise or andalouse are usually served with them.
Over the years, fries have become an emblem of Belgian culinary culture, and their popularity has spread worldwide. Today, you can find them everywhere, from fancy restaurants to small takeaway stores. One of them is Fritland. We are talking about one of the most popular places to enjoy this typical Belgian food. It is located in the heart of the city, near the famous Grand Place. Although it is popular among tourists, locals are also regular customers.
In short, if you don’t know what to eat in Brussels, you can’t miss the chance to try them!
CUBERDONS, THE LEAST KNOWN SWEETS OF THE TYPICAL FOOD OF BELGIUM
Don’t you know what to eat in Brussels yet? Are you a sweet lover? Then, you will find this interesting. Why? Because cuberdons, although they are from Ghent, today you can find them in almost any tourist city. These sweets, also known as “witches’ noses” because of their conical shape, are made with a mixture of sugar, gum arabic, and glucose syrup. That gives them a unique texture as they have a crunchy outer layer surrounding a liquid, gelatinous filling.
Its recipe is almost as mysterious as its origin. On the one hand, Belgian confectioners have kept it a secret for many years. On the other hand, no one knows precisely when they were invented. However, the most widespread theory is that they were created by a pharmacist in Ghent around 1870 while trying to produce cough syrup.
They are traditionally raspberry flavored, although many new flavors have appeared in recent years. Frankly, their sweetness is so intense that it can be cloying, but you should not miss the opportunity to try them. Cuberdons are one of the great unknowns of Belgian gastronomy!
Frikandel, one of the most popular snacks to eat in Brussels
Although frikandel is not a traditional Belgian dish, we decided to include it because it is an appreciated snack in Brussels. You can easily find it in almost every takeaway in the city. It is a sausage made with a mixture of minced meat, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, and other spices that can measure more than 18 centimeters. They are usually brown and have a rough texture.
It is served in a roll or a paper box accompanied by mayonnaise or ketchup. For this reason, many people often order it to go. That makes it an ideal snack for any time of the day and one of the cheapest options to trick the stomach while sightseeing. Their origin is uncertain, but historians suspect it may be German. Anyway, they have quickly become one of the icons of typical Belgian food. You can’t leave without trying them!
Mussels with fries, the star dish of the typical food of Belgium
If you hear about this for the first time, you will probably think it is a strange combination. To understand it, you have to go back to the 19th century. On the one hand, at that time, mussels were abundant on the Belgian coast and were considered cheap food. On the other hand, potatoes were already a popular food because they were low-cost and nutritious. Because of these two factors, workers began to buy them from street stalls. Over time, the combination became so popular that it became the star dish of the country’s gastronomy.
Nowadays, you can find mussels with fries accompanied by Belgian beer in countless restaurants. And if you’re looking for one that stands out above the rest, that’s Chez Léon. Although it has more than 130 years of history, it has remained true to its historic roots by focusing on the typical food of Belgium. Mussels and fries are their specialties. So don’t hesitate to order the “Formula Léon.” It consists of a pan with mussels, a plate of fries, and a beer brewed in the same restaurant. Doesn’t it sound great?
If you don’t know what to eat in Brussels, these dishes are your best option.
Although carbonade flamande is not one of the best-known dishes of Belgian gastronomy, it has a long history. Its origin dates back to the Middle Ages when peasants and hunters used to cook stews based on game meat, vegetables, and beer. Over time, the recipe gained popularity and became one of the pillars of typical Belgian food. Today it is made with veal, but countless regional variations have emerged with different ingredients and preparation methods.
If you still don’t know what to eat in Brussels, this should be one of your best choices because it is usually abundant and perfect for cold days. It is also relatively easy to find since many cafes and restaurants have it on their menu. One of them is Chez Léon which, to be honest, may not be the best option to try it. Although we considered it an exquisite dish, its price was too high for its size.
Anyway, even though it is expensive, it is worth a try!
Waffles, the most popular sweets to eat in Brussels
Like flemish carbonade, waffles have a long history too. Their origin dates back to the 12th century when monks began to make cookies from leftover dough from bread making. Over time, this dough evolved into a sweeter mixture, served as a flat cake. Then, in the 18th century, they gained popularity among the city’s upper classes and began to be prepared in cafés. Eventually, they gradually became more accessible and turned into a very common sweet to eat in Brussels.
Although they are considered a traditional dessert, nowadays, people usually eat them at any time of the day, even as a breakfast or snack. The way to serve them can differ considerably. You can find waffles with a scoop of ice cream and different flavored syrups or simply with powdered sugar over them. They have also become another typical Belgian food icon, which means you can try them in restaurants, cafés, and street food stalls.
Don’t resist the temptation, and try them! We are sure you will love them.
Chocolate, the star product of the typical Belgian food
The reputation of Belgian chocolate is due to the long tradition of chocolate production in Belgium, the quality of the ingredients used, and the attention to detail in the manufacturing process. The last one is considered an art, so many chocolatiers take their time to create each piece of chocolate carefully and artisanally.
In addition, most producers use high-quality ingredients, contributing to the finished product’s flavor. The complex and deep flavors characteristic of this style of chocolate are achieved thanks to a high proportion of cocoa butter and cocoa in the mix. Belgian chocolatiers also pay close attention to the selection of additional ingredients, such as nuts, fruits, and spices, to ensure that they complement and enhance the flavor of the chocolate.
For all these reasons, it is considered one of the best chocolates in the world. If you want to try it in Brussels, you will find a wide variety of chocolate shops offering a wide selection. From small family stores to large companies. One of these is Leonidas. It has more than 100 years of history and more than 1,300 stores worldwide, so visiting its flagship store on Rue des Sablons in Brussels should be a must for chocolate lovers!
Belgian beer is also worth trying
Belgium has a long brewing tradition dating back to the Middle Ages and today produces a wide variety of beers that differ in style, flavor, and aroma. There are so many different ones that it is not difficult to find beers of high and low fermentation, as well as others flavored with fruits, spices, and herbs. Among the most important are Trappist beers, Witbier, Blond, Dubbel, and other stronger beers such as Tripel and Quadrupel. Each has its own personality and unique characteristics.
In addition, one of the most striking things for tourists is that Belgian beer culture is reflected in how it is served and consumed. Many breweries and specialized bars offer a wide selection of beers, often served in style-specific glasses. And there are so many pubs in Brussels that it is practically impossible to visit them all.
One of the most famous and well-known among tourists is Delirium Village, owned by the world-renowned Delirium Tremens brand. It is in the heart of the city’s historical center. There you will find a series of pubs specialized in numerous styles that offer more than 3,000 different beers. Although, in my opinion, their prices are higher than other places in the area, it is worth visiting this grouping of pubs at least once. The large selection of beers, its lively atmosphere, and its unbeatable location make it one of the best options for all beer lovers.
In short, the typical food of Belgium is varied and has a wide range of elements to satisfy all tastes. From its famous chocolate to its delicious beers, through its typical dishes such as carbonade flamande, mussels, and fries. So now you know what to do to enjoy your trip to this fascinating country, follow our tips on what to eat in Brussels!
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