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25 Things Everyone Needs To Eat & Drink In Belgium

Fries, waffles, chocolates, beer... other than these, let's start a wicked Belgian feast!

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1. Belgian Fries

Flickr: Jeremy Keith - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: adactio

(Frieten or Frietjes / Frites)

Soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. If you want to do it like the Belgians do, go and dip it in mayonnaise instead of ketchup! It might sound weird at first but after trying it out, it’s actually a great combination!

They actually, have different kinds of dips and you should try Andalouse—a special Belgian sauce made up of mayonnaise, tomato paste, and peppers.

2. Belgian Chocolates

Flickr: Cristina Valencia - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: cristinavalencia

(Chocolade / Chocolat)

The Belgians simply perfected this type of gourmet that it's a must to try one of the famous brands like Neuhaus (the inventor of the 'praline'), Godiva, Leonidas, and Nirvana.

But of course, there are a more brands and shops in Belgium like Marcolini, Wittamer, etc. that can definitely make you cry with joy. In fact, there are over 2,000 chocolatiers here! How's that for a foodie bucket list?

3. Waffles

Flickr: Andrea - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: misterymoor

(Wafel / Gauffre)

Did you know that there’s NO such thing as a ‘Belgian Waffle’ in Belgium since that is rather a type of waffle that’s coined in North America? So what you'd rather find here are several waffle varieties that are absolutely sinful!

Three of the most common ones are: Liège Waffles (richer, denser, sweeter, and chewier), Brussels Waffles (bigger, lighter, and crispier), and Galettes Campinoises (thinner but rigid and crunchy).

4. Fry Shacks

Flickr: Halans - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: halans

(Frituur / Friterie)

It's no wonder that McDonald's isn't much of a thing here especially when they have these frituurs. Other than fries, what you can also see in a frituur are numerous types of fried meat. My favorites would be the frikandel or curryworst (I am a sucker for special curryworst which has added fresh onions and lots of ketchup + mayonnaise), bitterballen, boulet, Mexicano, and kroketten!

They also have a wide range of dips to choose from! Aside from the already mentioned ketchup, mayonnaise, and Andalouse, they also have curry ketchup, tartar sauce, cocktail Whisky sause, American, samurai, riche, Mexican, oriental, Brazil, béarnaise or Diablo.

5. Rice Tart

Flickr: Bing - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: cherrylet

(Rijsttaart / Tarte au Riz)

It’s made into big pies like this, but there are also smaller tart versions in bakeries. Basically, it’s like a custard mix of rice and milk/cream which is then glazed with egg. It’s sweet but very heavenly!

6. Liège syrup

Les Meloures at lb.wikipedia - Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

(Luikse siroop / Sirop de Liège)

It's more like jam or sticky jelly which is from the city of Liège. Made from evaporated fruit juices like apples, pears, and dates, it's primarily used as a spread for bread (often accompanied with cheese). It can also be used as a sauce or part of a sauce for some meat dishes, or as toppings for waffles and pancakes.

7. Speculoos

Flickr: Laurence Vagner - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: redisdead

(Speculaas / Spéculoos)

These spiced shortcrust biscuits originated in the Netherlands and Belgium as it's customarily served on December to celebrate St. Nicholas' Day, created and shaped in the figure of this saint. Today, it has become more commercially available in small biscuit cuts.

TRIVIA: The well-known speculoos spreads (creamy, granular or crunchy) was actually started in Belgium and it was in 2008 that it gained worldwide fame when some contestants in a Belgian TV show made them.

8. “Lard Balls”

Flickr: Halans - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: halans

(Smoutebollen / Croustillons)

Also called as Dutch Doughnuts or Dutchies (as it's also famous in the Netherlands), these are deep-fried balls made of sweet dough that are normally found in fair grounds and in Christmas markets.

9. Sandwiches

iAmAileen.com - Aileen Adalid (Writer of this post) / Via iamaileen.com

(Broodjes)

This is of course not a true-blue ‘Belgian food’ since it’s universal and also eminent in most of Europe; however, if you want to experience a ‘Belgian thing’ and eat like the Belgians do, then try one! There are a lot of sandwich shops that have a LOT of choices for bread type, toppings, and spreads. (Try the sandwich: martino!)

Broodjes usually have these sandwiches as a meal, usually for lunch.

10. Charcuterie

Flickr: http://H.C. - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: la-oc-foodventures

Charcuterie is a form of meat preservation that produces forcemeat, sausages, etc. and it is one of the ways of cooking in France.

Belgians have this in their diet too but more primarily composed of smoked ham slices and pâté that's paired with bread and cheese—a good composition for a meal or snack! (The south of Belgium, Ardennes, is renowned for this kind of food). Another kind of pâté that you might have heard of is Brussels pâté which is a paste of ground pork liver.

11. Tomato with Shrimps

Flickr: Karel Titeca - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: titeca

(Tomaat garnaal / Tomate-crevette)

The shrimps are tiny and grey, known as the ‘caviar of the North Sea‘ and it is frequently served in a salad stuffed inside a tomato. But they can also be just on top of a salad mixed with mayonnaise and spices, just eaten directly with no mixes, or served unpeeled (commonly accompanied with a good Belgian beer!)

12. Steak Tartare

Flickr: Kotomi_ - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: kotomi-jewelry

(“Martino” / Préparé, or Filet Américain)

Made from finely chopped, crushed, and minced raw lean beef steak, the Belgian variety is served with onions and more spices than the regular steak tartare.

Other than spreading it on bread slices, it is also used as a sauce for fries. Personally, I want this steak tartare to be in the popular Belgian sandwich called ‘martino‘ which constitutes martino sauce (that has a hint of tabasco, otherwise you can just have ketchup and/or mayonnaise as sauce), onions, pickles and salad. It is soooo good!

13. Mussels with Fries

Flickr: VISITFLANDERS - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: visitflanders

(Mosselen met friet / Moules-frites)

The unofficial national dish of Belgium! It seems like an odd combination, but it really works.

Other than this combo, mussels are prepared in a lot of ways: it can be natural, in a garlic cream, or in an amazing form called ‘Moules marinière’: it has white wine, shallots, parsley and butter.

14. Gratin with Chicory

Wikimedia Commons: Jiel Beaumadier - Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

(Gegratineerde witloof / Chicons au gratin)

How about a peculiar yet delicious kind of gratin? This dish is made of potato gratin with endives or chicory, typically in béchamel sauce with cheese. A ‘Belgian way’ of preparing this is that the endives are each wrapped in a slice of ham, topped with gratin, béchamel sauce, and melted cheese (also called Witloof met hesp).

15. Blood Sausage

Flickr: David van der Mark - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: d_vdm

(Bloedworst (Pensen or Beuling) / Boudin)

As the name goes, this sausage is mixed with blood (it also has breadcrumbs). The mention of ‘blood’ might scare you from this but give it a try! It’s delicious in its own way; it is grilled, sauteed, barbecued or eaten raw and best served with potatoes and apple sauce.

16. White Sausage

Flickr: Ross Grady - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: rossgrady

(Witte pens / Boudin blanc)

If you think you can't take the blood sausage, then here's a more delicate alternative! A pork sausage without the blood, but with milk. Belgians in general, grill or saute this and mix it with mashed potatoes or apple compote.

In some regions, these white sausages have green bits as they are speckled with spices like parsley or chives; but near Antwerp, they are purely white.

17. Stoemp

Flickr: TQT - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: thrownoverbored

A typical fare in Flanders (north of Belgium): stoemp is made of mashed potatoes with vegetables like celery, shallots, and onions. Some restaurants offer this with cream and/or milk and then paired with bacon, fried egg, sausage, minced beef, fish, or even horse.

18. Belgian 'Beer' Beef Stew

Flickr: Domitille Parent - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: domit

(Stoofvlees or Stoverij / Carbonade flamande)

Most beef stews or beef bourguignons are prepared with wine, but in the Belgian way, they mix it with something different. What else, but… BEER!

It is pure genius. It’s very tasty and rich! Lekker! Pair it off with fries or bread (or if you’re Asian like me, rice) and it becomes even more of a wonderful grub!

19. Waterzooi

Smabs Sputzer / Via Flickr: 10413717@N08

Originating from Ghent, waterzooi is a rich and creamy stew. Its soup base is usually made up of egg yolk, cream, butter and thickened vegetable broth. At the start, it was mixed with fish but today, chicken is used more. This is the perfect go-to food especially when the colder days in Belgium are in!

TRIVIA: This is said to be the favorite meal of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V (who was born in Ghent).

20. Meatballs with Cherries

Flickr: Tobin - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: tobin

(Frikadellen met krieken)

The title says it all: meatballs with sweet-sour cherries and syrup. It’s absolutely delicious and the flavors are a great mix!

21. Rabbit with Prunes

Flickr: Jean Pierre Tijsebaert - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 126842855@N02

(Konijn met pruimen)

Yes, rabbits. I was actually only told that it was rabbit meat after I ate a plate… and well, I kind of felt bad because I thought of a cute furry rabbit. But then again, a part of me felt a bit good because it was delectable. (It was clearly a dilemma). Anyhow, I’d still recommend this because of its wonderful flavors; trying it once should be fine.

22. "Eel in the Green"

Wikimedia Commons: Takeaway - Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

(Paling in ‘t groen / Anguilles au vert)

Meaty eel pieces are stewed in a thick green sauce made of mixed herbs, giving it an overall savor that’s pronounced and refreshing!

23. Chicken with Fries & Apple Sauce

Flickr: Travelust - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: travelust

(Kip met frieten en appelmoes / Poulet-frites-compote)

Chicken + Fries + Apple Sauce = simple, but a mix that really works! If I say so myself, it’s the perfect Belgian comfort food!

24. THE BELGIAN BEERS!!!

Flickr: Karen Blaha - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: vironevaeh

A DEFINITE MUST! There are over 800+ different kinds of great-tasting Belgian beers so I'll just leave it up to you to find your fancy!

TRIVIA:

Some of the most popular Belgian beers are made by monks in monasteries – they are called Trappist beers and they have their own ‘order’ or association: 6 from Belgium, 2 from Netherlands, 1 from Austria, and 1 from the US. In Belgium, these 6 monasteries are: Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, and Westvleteren.

Almost every beer has its own particular, uniquely shaped glass – they are only served in those glasses. It’s said that using the correct glass is considered to improve the beer’s flavor.

Most come in bottles - not cans, and again, mostly being drank from its corresponding glass and not straight from the bottle.

25. Jenever

Flickr: Kerry L - Creative Commons / Via Flickr: kerrypolka

(Genièvre, Genever or Peket)

Other than the beer, you should not forget Belgium's jenever, said to be the traditional and national spirit of the country for over 500 years!

It is juniper-flavored and it is where gin had evolved from! However, the taste may vary; there’s jonge jenever (tastes like vodka), oude jenever (smoother + malty), and other types of jenevers with distinct grains, giving it various flavors.

In Christmas, for example, jenever is served in shot glasses (like the photo above) and they can be in flavors like vanilla, chocolate, apple, passion fruit, and more!

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» If you want to learn more about each dishes, visit this link at 'I am Aileen'

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