The home of chocolate, waffles, frites and beer; when in Belgium’s capital, Brussels, what more could you ask for? If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll definitely get your fix. If you prefer something more savoury, their fries have you covered. You’ll find the belief of all capital cities being stressful a big lie as Brussels is such a relaxed city. And feeding your hunger shouldn’t be a problem. The abundance of food stands selling the typical local dishes at reasonable prices means that you’ll find food anywhere. And really, isn’t that the most important thing when travelling? Food is one of life’s necessities after all!
The flavour of Brussels
You know that the fries must be good if the country is in a battle to give them UNESCO world heritage status. The delicious fries presented in their well-known white cones are like none else you will try. There are stacks of different sauces to choose from; the typical being mayonnaise, and they come with cute mini forks so you can stay classy while eating. You can find them anywhere throughout the city, and you will have a good laugh at some of the names that they call their shops. The way that they are cooked sets one apart from another. Finding a cone of good crunchy fries to mix with the sauce is the main goal!
This frite restaurant is proudly named after two of their most prized attractions; fries and the Mannekin Pis, a statue locally known as the symbol of the city! The fries can easily be located throughout the city, thanks to creative and quirky signs such as this one.
Fritland, located opposite the Stock Exchange Building, is a fastfood restaurant/outdoor dining area, which has a large range of Belgium snack food at cheap prices. If you are on a budget or are looking to get out of the cold during winter time, this is a great place to visit. The snacks range from 2 to 5 Euro (approximately US$2.50 to US$5.60). Despite its popularity, you will be served very quickly.
If you are willing to go a little out of your way, for what the locals rank in the top of the league of frites, then Maison Antoine is a definite must. They will leave you wondering why on earth they don’t exist in your home country.
Address: 1040, Place Jourdan 1, 1040 Etterbeek, Belgium
To get here you can take Metro line 1 heading in the direction of Stockel, or Metro line 5 in the direction of Herrmann-Debroux. Both of these pass through Gare Central (the Central train station) and De Brouckere, which is near the Grand Place. It will take around 20 minutes to arrive at your stop which is called ‘Shuman’. From here turn right down Froissart street, and Place Jourdan is the third street on the right.
Worth the fuss
And for those with a sugar craving, the chocolate or waffles are the way to go. Imagine a soft - but somehow crunchy at the same time - waffle stacked high with fruit, chocolate, cream and whatever your heart desires. They’re stacked so high that there is really no way to eat them gracefully. Unlike the frites, there is no ranking. If you have a sweet tooth, you’d be happy to know that where there’s a waffle, it’s definitely a good one. You can get a plain waffle for 1 Euro (approximately US$1.25) but adding those toppings at a minimal cost will be worth it.
Window shopping for waffles
Chocolates are another specialty of Belgium. You can find cute little chocolates in any shape that you like from some of the touristy shops in the centre of town. It is good to try them and they’ll have your mouth watering! However, if you want to save a bit of money and still get the same quality, you should head down to a local supermarket and look out for brands such as Neuhaus, Cotes d’Or, Nihoul or Mary (these two are sold only in Belgium). They’re much cheaper, and irresistibly delicious!
Must-try beers of Brussels!
Belgium is well-known for their beers, and the wide range can boggle the mind! You can go into any bar and get a good half pint for around 2.50 EUR (2.77 USD). However, if you go in during happy hour (a lot of bars have these from 10 or 11pm until around 2am), you can often find a pint of beer for one EUR (1.25 USD). At the same time, you can watch the football on the big screens, or nibble on a cute little can of pistachios from the dispenser machines. Each bar has a different atmosphere, with a different range of drinks and different music, so it’s impossible not to find one that you like.
If you are looking for a unique experience, you should definitely try the Delirium cafe. It holds the Guinness World Record for the widest range of beers commercially available. With a record of 2,004 beers in January 2004, it is said that their range is now close to 3,000. Beer trays line the ceiling and the atmosphere inside is just buzzing. You can also get served beer in big glass boots! The bartenders are very friendly and know their beer well, so if you want some advice they can help you find a beer to best match your taste.
If you want a quieter night to wind down and have a sample of the local beers, it is best to go during the week or earlier on in the evening. Otherwise during the weekends and after 11pm, you will definitely meet people from all over the world! You should note that while Brussels is a very safe city, it is important to be aware of pickpockets while at the Delirium Cafe. Just like any other crowded place, it is better to keep an eye out.
The Delirium is found down a side street in the center of town. If you are catching the Metro, take lines 1 or 5 and get off at De Brouckere. If you are walking, take Rue des Bouchers, which is two streets over from The Grand Place (it is hard to miss, as it is full of touristy restaurants with employees standing outside trying to draw you in). The Impasse is a side-street off of Bouchers, and the Delirium can be found down here directly opposite the Jeanneke Pis statue.
The Pub with a Guinness World Record
Located down a side alley not far from the Grand Place, the Delirium cafe holds the record for the longest list of beers commercially available.
A waffle dream
With its offer of delicious food and drinks at affordable prices, you may find it tough to leave Brussels at the end of your trip! No matter how long your stay is, it will leave its mark. Upon returning home, you might still be able to find normal fries and homemade waffles but you will definitely find yourself craving for a taste of Brussels.
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