Surprise, surprise! Did you know Brussels sprouts are really uncommon in Belgian restaurants? Well, neither did we until we started snooping around. On the other hand, if you love chocolate, beer or waffles you will be spoiled for choice. Unfortunately, we have some bad news for vegetarians…Belgian cuisine is all about fish, seafood and red meat. But don’t worry, even if it might be challenging to spot vegetarian bistros or restaurants, it’s not impossible, particularly if you’re travelling to major cities like Brussels or Antwerp.
Although a small country, Belgian gastronomy has a very good reputation for being incredibly varied. You will find that during the cold months of winter street vendors sell freshly roasted chestnuts, and in summer, you can go fill your cup with free beer at the famous Mannekin Pis statue. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t get better than that!
Regardless of the season or the dates when you book your flights to Brussels, there are a few classics you can enjoy all year long:
It’s no secret Belgians love their seafood dishes, particularly steamed mussels (moules) served with fried potatoes. Ale braised, with garlic, cooked in wine sauce…depending where you go, mussels are prepared in different ways. Even if you want to, you probably won’t have enough time to try them all!
Tip: The best time to eat mussels is normally from September – March
2. Fried Potatoes
Turns out French fries (frites) don´t come from France after all! They originated in Belgium in the 1600, in the Meuse Valley. Story has it that local farmers could only afford to eat small fried fish, and in winter, when the lake froze over, they would substitute the fish for potatoes.
Fried potatoes with ketchup or mayo are not only the most popular street food in Belgium, but you will often see them served in restaurants with mussels or red meat.
Some say Brussels is the capital of chocolate, and sure enough, not many will disagree. Since Jean Neuhaus II invented the pralines in 1912, the country has attracted more and more chocolatiers and enthusiasts. Today, chocolate is a true cultural phenomenon, and whether you believe it or not, Brussels has a chocolatier for every 2,000 residents!
From the basic to the more artistic and unconventional creations, chocolate gourmands will feel right at home in Belgium.
Belgium sure has a lot of beer! There are hundreds of varieties of artisanal beer on the market, and unlike any other place on the planet, they also have a little boy statue (Mannekin Pis) that pees beer on several occasions throughout the year. Whether you like amber or golden ale, pale or Scotch ales, pils or Flemish red, there is something for all tastes and preferences. And now that winter is almost here, the Christmas beers will be back in season!
We wish you a pleasant holiday in Brussels and happy eating!