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Classic Belgian Food and Drinks to Try: Top 10 in Belgium

ramblingtravel
March 24
5 min read
Enchanting view in Brussels, Belgium, with ornate medieval architecture and bustling activity, capturing the essence of Belgian heritage and culture; classic Belgian food and drinks to try; best places for fries in Brussels
Table of Contents

    Every time I visit a new country, I prioritize trying the local cuisine. During my trip to Belgium, I overloaded with the fries, chocolate, beer, and waffles. All were delicious and did not disappoint, but definitely maxed out my sweet tooth for a while. While these four things are prominent parts of Belgian culture, and what draws in the tourists, there’s more to Belgian cuisine to help you balance all the sweets. Continue below for my list of the top 10 classic Belgian food and drinks to try in Belgium.

    Belgian Fries

    Not to be called “French Fries,” these Belgian frites were supposedly the inspiration for the iconic French fries. The U.S. soldiers are believed to have eaten them during World War II and mistaken Belgium for France when making them back home. The main stand-out of Belgian frites is that they’re double-fried, making them a little more crunchy, and are usually served with mayonnaise or other homemade sauces rather than ketchup. Frites can be purchased from different street vendors, small shops, or restaurants, with the smaller shops usually operating late into the evening to accommodate the nightlife crowd.

    Belgian Chocolate

    Home to many world-renowned brands and chocolatiers, Belgium is known for its delicious chocolate. Even as someone who doesn’t really enjoy chocolate, I found my favorite brand in Belgium, but if you ask anyone or any local, they all have their own preferences and favorites. With over 2,000 chocolatiers, there are chocolate shops everywhere. I recommend trying different types and brands before deciding on your favorite and purchasing chocolate to bring home.

    Mussels

    For seafood lovers, if you’re visiting by the sea or during the warmer months you need to try Belgium’s mussels and fries combination. These mussels are harvested from June through April and are served in a bowl with fries in a separate bowl to dip in the sauce afterward. You will just need to choose whether you want to pair the meal with white wine or with Belgian beer.

    Enchanting view in Brussels, Belgium, with ornate medieval architecture and bustling activity, capturing the essence of Belgian heritage and culture; classic Belgian food and drinks to try

    Waffles

    Also widely available like the Belgian fries are the Belgian waffles that come in different shapes, sizes, and with different toppings. These waffles differ in that the grooves are deeper so the waffles can hold more toppings. The three most common are Liège Waffles, Brussels waffles, and galettes. Similar to chocolate, locals all have their own favorite shops and who they believe “do it best.” You will just need to try them all and choose your personal favorite.

    Stoemp

    A creamy comfort dish composed of mashed potatoes and a side of mixed with vegetables like carrots, Brussels sprouts, or leeks. The dish is sometimes served with a sausage or stew. It’s a hearty side dish that pairs well with sausages or stews.

    Waterzooi

    A Flemish dish dating back to the times when Belgium was known as “Flanders” and was said to be the favorite dish of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Waterzooi is a stew or soup that is made with either chicken or fish, vegetables, cream, and egg. As a comfort dish, this stew/soup is great during cold weather or a rainy day. Today, it is more often served with chicken than fish and sometimes has a splash of Belgian beer added.

    Jenever

    While Belgium is known for its beer, most tourists tend to forget about this traditional and national spirit of Belgium for over 500 years. This spirit comes in different flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, apple, and more, but the classic is juniper-flavored. While jenever is a gin, it sometimes tastes more like a vodka or malty depending on the distilling process. Enjoy in moderation.

    Carbonnades Flamandes

    Essentially beef stew. While the majority of beef stews or beef bourguignon are prepared with wine, this Belgian version differs in that they add Belgian beer instead of wine. This makes the sauce thicker and gives a sweeter flavor. The comfort meal is served in a casserole pot with a lot of sauce and a side of Belgian fries on the side for dipping.

    Enchanting view in Brussels, Belgium, with ornate medieval architecture and bustling activity, capturing the essence of Belgian heritage and culture; travel guide to Belgium; classic Belgian food and drinks to try

    Beer

    With over 1000 breweries in the country and over 700 types of beer to choose from, even the non-beer lovers are bound to find their new favorite drink. Belgians drink 150 liters of beer per year, per person… wow! Belgium is also known for its Trappist beer made by monks in monasteries. These beers are unique and special to Belgium, which makes them a great souvenir to bring home.

    Anguilles au Vert

    Popular in Antwerp is a seafood dish which is composed of eel. Without the translation, you may otherwise think that it is chicken or a different meat but eel that has pale and meaty flesh. The eel is served with a thick, green sauce that is made of herbs chervil, and sorrel.

    Belgium’s culinary scene is a delectable journey through a rich tapestry of flavors, offering an array of classic dishes and drinks that truly define the essence of Belgian gastronomy. From the crispy goodness of Belgian frites to the irresistible allure of chocolate, the diverse selection of waffles, and the extensive variety of beers, every bite and sip tell a story of tradition, culture, and culinary mastery. Whether you’re strolling through the charming streets of Brussels or exploring the historic town of Bruges, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in these classic Belgian food and drinks to try in Belgium. Your taste buds are in for an unforgettable treat!

    Considering visiting Belgium? Check out this complete travel guide!

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