Culinary Basics: Belgium Cuisine

By Hillary Mason
Credit: PxHere

When you think of Belgium cuisine one of two things will pop into your mind, exquisite chocolates or sweet waffles. Both delicious, but neither accurately show off the nation’s traditional cuisine. 

One of Belgium’s year-round favorites is moules-frites, a dish consisting of the freshest North Sea mussels cooked in a local beer and served with fries. Which adds two more things in which Belgium is famous for — fries and beer. 

What may come as a surprise is that fries come from Belgium, they were the first and their method for perfect crispiness is to double fry in animal fat. So vegetarians and vegans beware if taking a trip to Belgium. 

Plus, another warning, in Europe they dunk fries in mayonnaise.

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What the locals eat and drink?

In Belgium you can easily feast on everyday favorites, from hamburgers to spaghetti bolognese. However, if you want traditional, and love potatoes, leeks, shrimp, and asparagus, there’s a lot to enjoy in Belgium cuisine.

You could try waterzooi, a creamy stew dish that can be served with chicken or fish, or sample a local tarte au riz, a topless pie with a filling that’s like rice pudding. Whatever you’re eating, the good news is that in Belgium, it’s tradition to have four meals a day, plus beer. 

Along with chocolate and waffles, another treat you’ll find in abundance is beer. The average Belgian drinks 178 U.S. pints of beer yearly, ranging from pale lager to sour brown ales and stouts. You’ll find an unlimited amount to sample and it’s impossible to try them all because Belgium has 224 breweries.

In addition to the traditional Belgium ingredients and local beers, you’ll find copious amounts of meat and cheese, like in most other European cuisines.

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Traditional Belgium Cuisine

Moules-frites: Considered to be the national dish of Belgium, and considered the second most popular in France. The dish is simply mussels cooked in beer (or white wine) on top of fries.

Waterzooi: Made from egg yolk, cream, vegetable broth, and vegetables, including carrots, onions, leeks, and potatoes. The stew is then completed with either chicken or fish and can be served hot or cold. 

Stoemp: A simple dish of mashed root vegetables, specifically potato and one other including carrots or leaks. Once mashed, it is served with boudin, bratwurst, or sunny side up eggs. Boudin is blood sausage for those willing to try something more exotic. 

Belgium shares a border with France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. 

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