People travel for an abundance of reasons. We travel to get away from our daily routines, to step out of our comfort zones, and to see and experience new things. Traveling to an unknown area opens our minds to new cultures and people. It is stimulating, transformative, and can make a lasting impact on our lives. Many people travel to a new country wanting to embrace the culture to the fullest and one of the best ways to know a new culture is through its food. Food and culture go hand in hand. Food is more than just a human need; it encompasses the identity of a culture and the traditions within. The cuisine of Belgium is full of tradition and history, mixing in influences of Dutch, French, and German foods. If you find yourself in Belgium, here are four must-try foods:
Can you really go to Belgium without trying a Belgian waffle?! Belgium waffles made their first appearance at the World Fair Expo in Brussels in 1958. They have since gained popularity all over the world. Locals in Belgium eat the waffles at any point in the day, whether it be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are commonly found in one of two varieties, either rectangular with an option of toppings, or a smaller, sweeter option found with crystalized sugar.
There has always been an ongoing dispute about the origin of fries. While commonly referred to as “French Fries,” the Belgians have long claimed this delightful snack against the French. Fries can be found at just about every restaurant, served with everything from sandwiches to strews and more. Claiming to be some of the best fries in the world, Belgian fries are made with the best types of potatoes and fried twice to ensure a crispy outside and soft inside.
Another must try when is Belgium are Belgian chocolates. The rich decadence of Belgian chocolate has been shared across the world after first debuting in the 18th century. Belgium takes its chocolate making serious, with several laws and rules set in place to ensure top quality products. When in Belgium, make sure a trip to the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate to learn more about the chocolate-making process, and be sure to try the delicious pralines and truffles with your chocolate.
Typically paired with fries, Mussels are a popular dish found in most pubs throughout Belgium. Mussels pulled from the North Sea are supposedly better than the types you’ll find served in France. They will usually come served in a large pot and pair especially well with a classic Belgian brew.