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Food & Dining in Belgium

Brussels is renowned for its chic restaurants such as Loui and its cosy little cafés in which you can enjoy anything from a simple snack to a three-course dinner. With so many places to eat, you might be spoilt for choice.

Seafood anywhere in Belgium is fresh and delicious. Moules (mussels) are absolutely addictive and are a specialty in Brussels, where you find a concentration of restaurants along the Petite rue des Bouchers that feature them in just about every guise you can imagine. (Ironically, Belgian mussels actually come from Zeeland in Holland and may, in fact, be the only Dutch products Belgians will admit to being any good.) Homard (lobster) also comes in a range of dishes. Don't miss the heavenly Belgian creation called écrevisses à la liègeoise (crayfish in a rich butter, cream, and white-wine sauce). Eel, often swimming in a grass-green sauce, is popular in both Flanders (where it's called paling in 't groen) and Wallonia (anguilles au vert).

Perhaps a good place to start with seafood, is a restaurant called Sea Grill. Brussels is well known for its fresh fish and diverse dishes featuring mussels, shrimps and many other types of fish that you'll find in all the best seafood restaurants. A special dish, a favourite with the locals, is Waterzooi. This delicious soup is thick, creamy and made from either fish or chicken. Despite being a soup, it's more a meal in a bowl and exactly what you need on a cold winter's day.

Most people have heard about the famous Belgian bonbons. The most delicious bonbons are sold here in Brussels. Renowned chocolate-makers such as Godiva offer exquisite handmade bonbons, made fresh daily. In Belgium, bonbons are presented to friends and family members as gifts, not just because of their taste, but also because they are always beautifully presented in decorated boxes tied with ribbons. Bonbons are also the perfect coffee accompaniment, and the ideal way to round off a dinner party. They are also a really great way to spoil yourself.

The rather famous Brussels' waffle is another favourite to enjoy with coffee or tea. These freshly baked waffles can be bought absolutely everywhere at street stalls, in bakeries and in cafés all over Belgium. Tea is always served in beautiful little tea glasses here, never in a normal cup.

Bread has always had an important place on the Belgian table. A typical Belgian bread is 'pain à la grecque'. Despite its name, 'Greek bread' has absolutely nothing to do with Greece. Years ago the bread was distributed amongst the poor, but now it is for sale in most bakeries and is enjoyed by everyone.

Chips, fries or whatever you like to call them, are Brussels’ number one snack. Everywhere you look you’ll see stalls selling the most delicious hot chips, with or without mayonnaise. This snack, mostly served in a cone-shaped bag, is just as well known here as 'fish and chips in paper' is in England.

Just a note of interest, "French fries" are really Belgian fries. US and British soldiers serving in Belgium during World War I were served fries by folks who spoke French and a popular misconception was born.

A high concentration of restaurants can be found in Grote Markt/ Grand Place and surrounding area, where you'll find all sorts of international cuisine such as Greek, Chinese, Spanish and, of course, French. Another place boasting a plethora of good restaurants is the nearby de Broukére.