What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when someone says Belgium?
Belgian chocolates, right?
That was our exact thought when we visited Brussels for the first time. Other than eating our weight in chocolate, we really had no expectations on the food scene in Brussels.
Brussels, the capital and largest city in Belgium, is known for its world-renowned chocolate…but what else? That’s the question we asked as we explored Belgium’s food scene.
WHAT TO EAT IN BRUSSELS – TOP 5
From street foods like frites or waffles to meats & seafood, the choices are endless. Belgium is filled with cafes and biergartens to enjoy their famous Belgian beers.
Here’s a list of our top 5 foods that you must try when in Brussels!
There’s no doubt that Belgium is the land of chocolate! With over 2,000 chocolatiers throughout the country, you’ll find it everywhere you go. Once you’ve tried Belgian chocolate, there’s no going back…you won’t ever see American chocolate in the same light again.
Pralines and truffles are the two varieties of Belgian chocolate. Pralines, not to be confused with American pecan version, have a chocolate shell with a soft filling interior. We strolled around Grand Palace, popping in to “sample” chocolate from many chocolatiers.
We found that the cheapest chocolate in town (great quality, too) was at the local supermarket – get your souvenirs there!
Ahh, the mussels in Brussels (check out our favorite recipe). It’s on practically every restaurant menu in Belgium. This popular dish, which originated in Belgium, consists of live mussels steamed in white wine with garlic and herbs. It’s served in a pot with a side of fries (frites) and a baguette (to dip and eat all that lovely, fragrant broth at the end – read about the kid-foodies first experience).
Avoid restaurants in the center of town, or near the train station, as a plate can cost you close to 25 euros! Our favorite place in Brussels was La Mer du Nord – there isn’t any indoor seating, just a few stools and standing room space, but the mussels were fresh and inexpensive.
Ok, this isn’t kid-foodie approved, but it’s definitely adult-foodie approved!
Belgians take their beer seriously; with more than 400 varieties, it’s more than just a hoppy beverage. There are numerous Belgian beers that have personalized beer glasses in which only that beer can be served, many of which you may have encountered stateside (think Chimay and Hoegaarden). While the kids are munching away on their foods, order a pint of beer. The one beer style we recommend trying is specific to Brussels, the lambic beer. Made from an ancient style of brewing, this non-malted wheat beer is bone-dry, tart & naturally bubbly, and tastes better with age – much like wine.
The ‘Belgian’ waffle that we’re familiar with in America, was originally created to market Brussels to the Americans. The ‘bel-gem’ waffle was first debuted in the US in 1964 at the NY World Faire by Maurice Vermersch.
In Brussels, it’s known as the Brussels Waffle, not the Belgian waffle. It’s not the same as their American counterparts; in Belgium it’s made with egg-yolk or yeast leavened batter instead of baking powder. They’re served with powdered sugar, fruit, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and other toppings.
The Brussels waffle is considered to be one of Brussels’s street food, and can be found all throughout the city with the cost of a single waffle costing anywhere from 1 euro to 10 euros.
Frites are an extremely popular snack with the Belgians. Usually served in paper cones and topped with mayonnaise you can find it practically everywhere you go. We have to admit that the Belgian Frites are really the best frites we’ve ever eaten (we’ve tried them throughout Europe). It has something to do with the way they cook them (pre-cook and then fry them again), but oh my…they are awesome! A small serving costs $3.90 while a large costs $7.00.
And there you have it – what to eat in Brussels! Have you been to Brussels before? What’s the best thing you ate/drank while you were there? Let us know in the comments!