BRUSSELS, Belgium – It’s fashionable these days to go “off the beaten path”, “travel like a local” or “look beneath the surface”. However, each city has its classics that tourists can’t miss: it would be a shame to visit Paris without taking a look at the Eiffel Tower, or go to Mexico City without tasting a taco. In Brussels, the ultimate Belgian Foods can prove a bit more elusive.
So what’s a serious traveller to do?
Do the classics right.
In Brussels, there are a few Belgian food classics that are inevitable. The Belgians are said to have invented “French” fries. They’re known around the world for their beers. And Belgian chocolate is a source of national pride. Here’s how to avoid the tourist traps, get the real stuff where the locals get it and eat like a professional tourist!
Ultimate Belgian Foods: Waffles
Even though we’re used to hearing the words “Belgian waffle” together, in Belgium, there is no such thing. Two cities—Brussels and Liège—have their own specific versions that are sold side by side. A Brussels waffle is quite thick, has extremely light, fluffy dough on the inside and a crispy thin crust on the outside; a Liège waffle, on the other hand, is thicker, denser and crunchier.
In Brussels, the old town is where the tourists hang out. On almost each corner you can find a waffle stand, most of them advertising 1-euro waffles. Don’t be fooled—they are terrible!
Some vendors even prepare the waffles in advance, which renders them soggy and chewy.
Close to the Manneken Pis, a French waffle chain called Waffle Factory has the best—and most expensive—waffles in the old town. It’s a bit of a “McDonald’s for waffles”, and the atmosphere in the restaurant leaves much to be desired, but the waffles are some of the best around. The Brussels waffle with melted Belgian chocolate is simple and delicious.
Waffle Factory Rue du Lombard 30, 1000 Ville de Bruxelles, Belgium