Belgium

The Five Best Foods To Eat In Belgium

I’ve passed a travel milestone, you guys. Although, I’m not really sure that what it says about me is a good thing –

Travel Somewhere Just For The Food.

Check!

That’s right. I showed up in a new country with no plan, no schedule, just a list of foods I wanted to try. And my stretchy pants on, of course.

Belgium is truly the perfect place to enact such a plan because there are so many foods that they’re famous for, and most of them are fairly cheap! (At least by European standards, anyway.) For the three days we were in Belgium, we sought refuge from the stormy weather inside cafes and bakeries and chocolate shops, eating the hours away. While I certainly would have wished for better weather, there is still something to be said for lazy afternoons spent sipping on hot cocoa and watching the rain fall from the comfort of a cozy cafe. We made the best of our circumstances and I came home a good deal more sizable for it. But honestly, who could turn down food like this?

Grab a snack, because trust me, you’ll need one after this, and join me as we eat our way through the five best foods to eat in Belgium!

The Five Best Foods To Eat In Belgium

Frites

Frites – or French fries, or chips, whatever you choose to call them – are thought to have originated here in Belgium, and after having eaten them in at least a dozen other countries, I’d have to say Belgium does them best! Traditionally, Belgian frites are double-fried, then served in a paper cone with a healthy splash of your choice of mayonnaise-based sauce on top. To be honest, even just thinking about mayo can sometimes make me gag, so I almost passed on this little culinary delight, but I’m glad I didn’t. Most frites stands offer a wide variety of sauces, and given my distaste for mayo, my local friend, Jo, recommended I choose the andalouse – a slightly spicy sauce with tomato paste and peppers. It was delicious, and almost no hint of mayo flavor to be found! At around €3 a pop, frites are a super budget-friendly lunch, and they’re incredibly filling.

Frites stands, or frietkots, are located practically every few meters in downtown Brussels, but I didn’t want frites from just any old frites stand – I wanted them from the same place the Rolling Stones like their frites from, Maison Antoine in Brussels’ European Quarter. This frietkot came highly recommended online, and now it’s got my stamp of approval, too. (If it’s good enough for Mick Jagger, then it’s definitely good enough for me!)

The Five Best Foods To Eat In Belgium The Five Best Foods To Eat In Belgium

Belgian Chocolate

I really surprised you with that one, didn’t I? Belgium is known the world over for its high quality chocolate, and chocolatiers seem to fill all the spaces in the tourist areas of Brussels and Bruges that haven’t already been inhabited by frites stands and souvenir shops. While it may seem like a touristy thing to do to peruse the rows upon rows of various chocolates in an endless line of shops, there is a reason that it’s so popular – scientifically speaking, chocolate in Belgium is really freakin’ good.

In most of the shops, you can grab a bag and fill it with loose chocolates to your heart’s content, or at least until you run out of money. The loose chocolates are fun because you can mix and match and try a lot more flavors than you can when you buy a pre-made bag, but you have to be careful – they’re sold by weight, and trust me, it adds up quickly!

When it comes to choosing a shop, I don’t really think you can make a bad decision. Although, I’d try to stick with the independent shops since chocolates from the big guys like Neuhaus and Godiva can be bought in any number of places outside of Belgium. Just make sure you stop in at least 2-3 shops before making any decisions on where to buy from. Nobody likes chocolate buyer’s remorse.

The Five Best Foods To Eat In Belgium

Hot Chocolate

I suppose that, technically, hot cocoa could fit under the umbrella of ‘chocolate’, but in Belgium, it really deserves its own category. Here, hot chocolate is not just a steaming cup of goodness in a cardboard to-go cup – it’s practically its own meal. It would probably be a good idea to check before you order, but in most cafes and restaurants when you order a hot chocolate, this is what arrives – a perfectly heated mug of frothy, sweetened milk that you might possibly need two hands to hold, a separate bowl of chocolate for pouring into your milk, and a whipped cream topping. If you’re lucky, it’ll also come with a selection of additional chocolates on the side. See what I mean? That’s a meal. Or at least a bangin’ snack.

Lexie was the first one to discover the benefits of ordering a hot cocoa in Brussels, and later we all did in Bruges at this lovely little tea room, De Proeverie, that I feel deserves mentioning specifically. The staff there were some of the kindest that we met in Belgium, and their tea room is super cozy and comfortable. We sat in their back room for quite a while one morning and no one ever made us feel that we were overstaying our welcome. For only €5, we received a platter bearing everything pictured in the photo above – a great deal, in my opinion. The chocolates they serve with the hot cocoa are even hand-made by the chocolate shop across the street.

The Five Best Foods To Eat In Belgium

Meat & Seafood

At dinnertime, meat and seafood dishes take center stage on the menu. Our first night, Jo and her husband took us out for an authentic Belgian dinner at Le Clan Des Belges in downtown Brussels. Besides the fact that the menu was in French, I was a little intimidated. I don’t eat things like steak, sausage, or beef at home and was at a complete loss for what to order. Ultimately, I chose the sausage, which I ended up giving to Cory, and two sides of stoemp. The stoemp was amazing – sort of like mashed potatoes mixed with different vegetables. One of mine came mixed with leeks and the other, carrots. I loved them both!

But you know what surprised me the most about Belgian cuisine? Discovering that I actually like mussels. Rubbery, slippery mussels. Who’d have thought? I never ordered them for myself – I’m not that brave yet – but I did try them when Cory would order them. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll order them myself next time. The mussels make two new seafood dishes I’ve tried this year – the other was calamari in London!

While you might be able to get breakfast and lunch cheaply in Belgium (even in the highly saturated tourist areas!), dinner is another story. The restaurants are pricey and if you order multiple courses, as is the usual custom in Belgium, it can really eat into your trip budget. As always, the further you get away from the tourist sights, the better prices you’re likely to find. Also, keep in mind that some things you’d usually assume to be free, may not be, especially if you’re clearly not a local. One evening we had to pay €2.50 for a squirt of ketchup. A squirt! The good news is, portion sizes are large, so you’ll feel like you’re getting your money’s worth!

The Five Best Foods To Eat In Belgium

The Five Best Foods To Eat In Belgium

Belgian Waffles

And last, but not least (actually, this is a case of saving the best for last) – Belgian waffles. Just saying those words makes my mouth water! Doused in chocolate, smothered in Speculoos cookie butter, topped with whipped cream and fresh berries – you can find the infamous, fluffy Belgian waffles in all these forms and more from street vendors, cafes, and even specialized waffle shops. All these delicious choices and you want to know which one was my favorite? The little, old, plain ones. Except that there’s nothing little, old, or plain about them. €1 will get you a fresh, decent-sized waffle sprinkled in sugar crystals. They are positively one of my newest favorite foods.

All of the other varieties are good as well, and we never paid more than €4 for any of them, but even though I have a wicked sweet tooth, sometimes I actually found them to be too sweet, especially for a breakfast meal. And in the case of the Speculoos, the flavor was amazing, but halfway through I felt like I had eaten an entire jar of peanut butter. I had to be rolled to the train station after that. But to each his own – I recommend you try them all and decide for yourself!

Lots of nutritious recommendations here, obviously. :) With as many sweets as we were stuffing our faces with, I often found myself needing a little something healthier to balance out my gut. When that would happen, I’d make a quick stop into Exki and grab a pasta salad or a wrap. These natural, fast food joints are everywhere and they’re cheap. Just something to keep in mind if all of the sugar you’re sure to be taking in starts getting to you!

HOVER OR TAP TO PIN!

The Five Best Foods To Eat In Belgium

You Might Also Like...

33 Comments

  • Reply
    Melanie Fontaine
    September 10, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    Yummy! I would do a lot right now for some great fries followed by a Belgian waffle! And Belgian chocolate, of course! ;) And the love sugary food gives to our mind is important as well, right? ;)

  • Reply
    Katrin
    September 10, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    I love frites and I could eat them pretty much every single day! My mom loved Belgian chocolate and my dad always surprised her with some pralines. Those lotus biscoff cookies are so delicious, they are even vegan!

  • Reply
    Julieta | Juliet Oscar Yankee
    September 10, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    OMG the food! :O so hungry now!

  • Reply
    Betty J. Ogburn
    September 10, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    …Oh, man–bring on my fat boy pants, ’cause I just gained 10 pounds reading this!!…

    But, 2.50 for a smidgen of ketchup, though–SERIOUSLY???…

  • Reply
    Rika - Cubicle Throwdown
    September 10, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    I love the dis ‘moules frites’ – mussels & fries – so it sounds like Belgium would be a great place for me to eat :)

  • Reply
    Jo
    September 10, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Next time you guys are over we will have to let you taste the nougat and some propper Belgian veggies like Brussels sprouts & Chicory :)

  • Reply
    Emmymom
    September 10, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Those post is purely evil! Seriously I want it all! i am glad I read this after lunch at least or my lunch would have seemed so blah. My sister-in-law once took a trip up and down the east coast just to try all of the different BBQ places- so I think a trip with the purpose of food is awesome!

  • Reply
    T. Lennie
    September 10, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    This just made me very, very hungry :)

  • Reply
    Jenn
    September 10, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    I’m drooling over here!

  • Reply
    Adelina // Pack Me To
    September 10, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    Yum! If anyplace inspires you to eat then its definitely Belgium. So many amazing treats.

  • Reply
    Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
    September 11, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    oh heavens. yes. I always travel to eat. and shop. how american of me! ;)

    • Reply
      Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
      September 11, 2014 at 12:27 AM

      PS the pin it button on your photo worked! But still not the bookmark…task bar…whatever you want to call it!

      • Reply
        Sarah Shumate
        September 13, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        I just installed the pin-it buttons over the photos to compensate for the toolbar button not working. It’s driving me nuts that it’s not fixing itself!

  • Reply
    Sammy @ Days Like This
    September 10, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    Haha so nutritious ;) LOVE the waffles in Belgium!

  • Reply
    Laura
    September 10, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    This post almost makes me miss not living in Belgium anymore, especially for the chips with mayonnaise.
    If you ever go back, make sure to try the crepes as well, they’re almost as good as (or even better than) the waffles.

  • Reply
    EvaS
    September 11, 2014 at 1:39 AM

    Oh man, I just gained 5 pounds by looking at this. Why did I click the link? I LOVE that food. I’m from Spain so having those “real” waffles, Belgium chocolate, or delicious hot chocolate…mmmm Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      September 13, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      Spain had pretty incredible food, too! I ate my weight in tapas over 5 days in August. :) Where are you from in Spain? We stayed in the south, but I’d love to explore more of the country when we go again!

      • Reply
        EvaS
        September 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        I’m from Madrid. I love the south, especially Granada. It’s such a cool and authentic place, plus the tapas are just incredible.

        • Reply
          Sarah Shumate
          September 13, 2014 at 3:34 PM

          We didn’t get to see Granada this time, but we did see Seville and Ronda – both absolutely gorgeous places. Then we went to the beach for a day and a half. I wish we could have stayed longer and seen more.

  • Reply
    Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    September 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    I didn’t get special sauce on my frites! I did try the mussels, and I loved them there, and the stoemp, sooooooo good, we’ve tried to recreate it, it doesn’t taste as good as it did there.

    • Reply
      Sarah Shumate
      September 13, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      When I try to recreate recipes similar to foods I’ve eaten in other countries, I always end up disappointed. I’m no chef, so that might be the problem. :) No sauce on your frites? Was that by choice? Or did the stand not offer you any?

      • Reply
        Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
        September 15, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        I don’t think it was an option! I feel jipped! I think the spices are just so different, and even if you get the same ones in stores and things, they probably aren’t as fresh.

  • Reply
    Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe
    September 11, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    I’ll take one of each! And go back for seconds! Ha! It all sounds so good!! Then lots of walking is in store to burn it all off! =)

  • Reply
    Naomi Todd
    September 11, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    Belgium is such an underrated destination and I can’t understand it when there’s culinary delights such as the above. Speculoos is such a guilty pleasure, could quite easily eat a whole tub of the spread!

  • Reply
    S Marks The Spots
    September 11, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Maison Antoine together with Frites Flagey are the most famous in Brussels – good choice! Hope you also had the chance to stop by Pierre Marcolini for chocolate and Maison Dandoy for speculoos :) Oh and a tip for your next trip: Try the cuberdons (Belgian candy).

  • Reply
    Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    September 12, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    Belgian treats are (freudian slip of ‘ate’) pretty tempting, and as they say “when in Rome…”
    I love that you hit pretty well all of the bases!

  • Reply
    Lizzy
    September 12, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    I absolutely loved the chocolate in Bruges- so good!

  • Reply
    rorybore
    September 13, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    oh my gosh.. I’m starving now and there is no way EVER that the simple spaghetti I had planned for dinner is going to satisfy. And I seriously just ate a handful of Nestle chocolate chips because… Desperation!! LOL
    I love mussels. the best ones I ever had were in Halifax — fresher I suppose. I think it’s a great idea to travel some place just for the food. Our most disappointing trip ever was due to not being able to find one single decent place to eat. ugh.

  • Reply
    Jess {JessOnThames}
    September 14, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    Oh this reminds me of my Belgian days!! Love the way you’ve broken it down to the essentials so nicely! I worked a block away from Maison Antoine and it was pure torture not to eat fries everyday. If you go back, you have to get chocolate from Pierre Marcolini. Simply the best.

  • Reply
    Rachel G
    September 15, 2014 at 1:07 AM

    Okay, I cracked up at your food travel goal, and at first I was having a hard time thinking of what foods Belgium is famous for–but apparently I forgot all of these really obvious dishes. Sure sounds like a tasty trip, and the sauce you described for the fries sounds very interesting to me…

  • Reply
    Stacie Stamper
    September 15, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    The hot chocolate set up is almost enough to make me forget that you mentioned mayonnaise…almost….and the waffles, oh my!

  • Reply
    Miwa
    September 15, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Oooh, yum!!! You’re killing me with all that chocolate! (The hot chocolate in particular!!)

  • Reply
    Claire (@Kurea_San)
    September 26, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    Ahhhh – I am so hungry. Thanks for the hot chocolate tip :)
    Claire xx

Leave a Reply