Eating out on your Belgium holiday

Popular Belgian Dishes and What to Eat:

brusselsrestaurants_300 Follow Me on Pinterest To have a little understanding of what constitutes Belgian food, it’s necessary to firstly have some background knowledge of the country’s history.

The Dutch, Spaniards, Franks, Romans, Austrians and French have all invaded Belgium at some point in time in history and their presence in the land have contributed to shaping what is Belgian cuisine.

Today, the people of Belgian are split into two major ethnic groups. The Flemings in the north are a Flemish speaking Germanic race whereas the Walloons in the south are Celts, speak French. These two groups have their own distinct dishes as well as variations local dishes.

A man whose wife can cook is a Proud Man!

The Belgians take great pride in their food and any man who has a wife who can cook good Belgian food is a proud man. The Belgians, it seems, do not only like to eat good food, they like to eat lots of it. I must say that this is a common trait of many nationalities.

With the mix of ethnic groups in Belgium, the prospect of fusion cooking could be very amazing. However, the Belgians are not keen on experimenting with food and stick strictly to their traditional recipes. Whilst the Flemish like using a wide variety of cream sauces and eggs in their food and the Walloons rely abundantly on pork, the overriding look and taste of Belgian food is that of French influence.

Red meats, sausages, cold meats, pates, salads, bread and butter are the major components of Belgian cooking and the Belgians certainly love their sweets as well. You can expect to see Brussels Sprouts somewhere on the menus and Chicory is one of the most used vegetables in Belgian cuisine, featuring in foods such as Witloof.

Some popular Belgian Dishes

  • Kippenwaterzooi – this Belgian dish has definite French leanings. It is a chicken stew prepared with potatoes, carrots and leeks. Cream, butter and eggs are added to give it the Belgian flavour.
  • Croquettes aux Crevettes Grises – this shrimp croquettes made with North Sea shrimps is also of French influence
  • Anguilles au vert – an eel based soup and Andouillette, a type of sausage
  • Konijn in Gueze – this special rabbit dish is prepared in Belgian Gueze beer!
  • Mosselen friet or Moules et Frites - this national dish is well known the world over
  • Filet Americain - raw mince mixed with onions and several spices (sounds like Steak Tartare)
  • Ragout d’agneau – a braised lamb dish that’s marinated with herbs
  • Gegratineerd Witloof – a rather simple Belgian dish made from endives prepared in melted cheese
  • Luikse sla - This is a salad made using green beans, bacon, onions and vinegar.  In Liège, this popular salad is called “salade liégeoise” – thanks Pierre.

With an international community of employees from the EC and NATO based in Brussels, there is no shortage of local as well as international restaurants, especially in Brussels. When holidaying in Belgium, visitors will no doubt eat as well as the Belgians do.

Also see Eating out on your Brussels holiday

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Comments

  1. avatarPierre says

    Hi Helen, I came across your interesting blog (Belgian food, April 17, 2009) and the list of specialities… Your quick description of Belgian culture is interesting, and there would be a lot to discuss and argue about. But it is quite weel done!
    I just want to say that Walloons don’t speak a “dialect of French”, as you say, no more that Australians or New Yorkers speak a “dialect of English”. They speak French! Of course, there are Walloon (and other!) dialects in Wallonia (just as there must be local dialects in Britain), but despite some revivalist movements, they are not widely spoken. French is used at school, in the administration, at university, at work, and in most homes nowadays.
    And as they speak French in Liège, you can say “salade liégeoise”!

    Cheers

    Pierre

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