Belgium is known for being the European Union’s capital, Jean-Claude van Dame, and… Food! And you know what I love about Belgians and their foods? They’re not afraid to double down on their famous foods. Mussels on frites? Sure! Cookies on waffles? Yes! Take a look, and bring your appetite!
I have some news for you… You won’t be getting any ketchup with your fries. But I hope you like mayonnaise! That is the preferred dipping sauce for Belgian frites. What else makes them different? They’re thick cut, then fried twice. You read that right! The first fry is to cook them through, and the second fry several hours later to crisp them up. They’re less greasy than American-style French fries, ironically enough!
Why are they Belgian and not French? One story goes that American soldiers in World War I ate frites while in the French-speaking area of Belgium. Because everyone was speaking French, the soldiers thought they were in France, which led to them calling these fried potatoes “French fries!”
Read next: The Best Places to Eat in Bruges
Jean-Claude van Dame isn’t the only “Muscles from Brussels!” Mussels are a popular dish all over Belgium, not just Brussels, and you can find them prepared in plenty of different ways. Most of the time, you’ll find them served with–you guessed it–frites! They have been a Belgian staple, since at least the 1780s, especially in the wintertime when fish were scarce but mussels were plentiful.
Must read: What to Know Before You Visit Belgium
Are Belgian waffles the most famous Belgian food? Maybe! They certainly are one of the most popular. Belgian waffles are different from Eggos due to their thickness, deep pockets, and fluffiness. The dough is round when it goes into the waffle iron, but the way it spreads gives it an irregular shape when it comes out. Traditional toppings are whipped cream, fruit, ice cream, or chocolate sauce (or a combination of all those things), and they’re typically served for breakfast or dessert! I’ll sign up for both, please.
Belgian chocolate is a treat that’s hard to beat! It’s creamy, it’s delicious, and when it’s filled with a surprise, it’s delightful. We tried a lot of varieties from a lot of coffee shops (I’m an unashamed sampler when offered!), but my favorites came from the Old Chocolate House in Bruges. Wherever you get your chocolate in Belgium, be sure to get a box to take home with you as well!
Have you heard of Cookie Butter? It’s made from Belgium’s famous Speculoos cookies! You may have seen the Biscoff brand as well, especially if you’ve flown United lately. It’s a spiced cookie that’s similar to gingerbread, but a little different. They’re delicious. You’ll find them any number of ways on a trip to Belgium, but when I found out I could get them sprinkled on a chocolate-covered waffle on a stick, I knew that was the winner for me! How much more Belgian can you get?
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