What to eat
Brussels is a truly exceptional place for gourmands and lovers of the good life.
Among the 1,300 restaurants located in the capital of Europe, you will find it a problem deciding which one to choose!
During its history, Belgian cuisine was influenced by the different culinary cultures of the countries which occupied it. Pragmatic as ever, the Belgians first adopted the best cuisine of the all-round champions, France. The best restaurants in Brussels are high up there with their Parisian counterparts, however unfortunately, sometimes so too is the bill. But overall, the quality/price ratio is much more favourable.
Recipes from other countries are also part of the range of dishes which you can find here. You will encounter all types of cuisines: from authentic Belgian cuisine and tapas bars up to seafood specialities and countless Vietnamese or Thai options, without forgetting the numerous pizzerias, Greek and Portuguese restaurants, couscous and other tagine eateries also waiting for you amongst the Middle Eastern specialities.
Find here below some typical Brussels dishes and expressions.
Do not be surprised with the curious names which you might sometimes discover on menus of restaurants serving Belgian cuisine. If you order an "Américain", you will not be served with an unfortunate inhabitant of this friendly country but a raw beef steak chopped and seasoned according to your taste. (Or a tartar steak, everyone has his/her habits…)
The stoemp, meanwhile (pronounced ‘stoump’), whose name, it seems, derives from the Dutch instrument used to mash potatoes, is also a victim (but this is a good thing) of the differences between the Flemish and the Walloons. Brussels, as always, took hold of two of our greatest joys of living. The stoemp, the Wallonne or Flemish version, is mashed potatoes with or without cabbages, with or without bacon, with or without fresh cream, with or without vegetable broth but always with one or more pork sausages or beef meatballs.The stoemp reflects the multiculturalism of Brussels.
A final word on the celebrated Belgian fries: invented around 1739 according to the Belgians, and 1789 according to the French, each country claims the paternity of this humble potato cut into strips of varying thicknesses. Our French neighbours won a race over the Atlantic: French fries have conquered Mc Donald’s. But nothing is settled yet, as the Belgian fries have several advantages, the first being the love in cooking them.Try them at a restaurant or in a kiosks selling fries (see the video). Want to know where are, following the New York Times "the best frites in the world" ? Well, click here.
These kiosks adorn certain squares in Brussels where the quality is excellent and hygiene is a priority. The queues of hungry consumers in front of these popular establishments are the best testimony of what to except. Slightly hungry? Ask for un cornet de frites sans mayonnaise (a cone of fries without mayonnaise). Too hungry? Ask for the same with the addition of a fricadelle (patty), a fried 15cm sausage. Enjoy!
Brussels sprouts are world renowned. However, most people who do not like Brussels sprouts are haunted by childhood memories of smelly, army green, bitter, mushy globs that had to be eaten before dessert. Fresh Brussels sprouts, properly cooked, are deliciously delicate in flavor. Maybe it is time to give them another chance, this time with a new attitude and a modern cooking spirit.
And now, dare and discover how to easily create the best Belgian dishes for yourself….