1. Belgian beer
You can't really visit Belgium and not try their beer. There is an abundant variety of local beers and the prices are dirt cheap. During our trip, we ordered beer at every restaurant we dined at. Gave us every reason to be cheerful and bubbly when we toured Bruges and Brussels.
|Bier Leon (house beer at Chez Leon)|
|Trappistes beer (made by Trappist monks)|
2. Belgian chocolateWe sampled three different brands of Belgian chocolate during our trip: Dumon Chocolatier in Bruges (they don't have a branch in Brussels), Mary Chocolatier and Neuhaus both in Brussels. Since these are specialty chocolate shops, the prices are steep. I enjoyed Dumon the best, Mary follows closely and then Neuhaus is far behind.
Leonidas is probably the cheapest specialty store they have but they are mainstream now and have branches in Canada and even in the Philippines; I wanted to try something exclusive to Belgium. There are also souvenir stores that sell Belgian chocolate boxes at low prices but I don't know if they are good quality.
3. Belgian wafflesWe went to Biscuiterie Dandoy, a pastry specialty shop and tea room, to sample Belgian waffles. They offered two types of waffles - Liege and Brussels. I personally preferred the Brussels waffle, which are the more common kind of waffles available in North America. They are crunchy outside and fluffy on the inside. The Liege waffle is thicker and has a chewier texture and I found it to be sweeter.
4. Belgian friesThe world is familiar with French fries, but this well-loved snack traces its origin to Belgium. If you love fries, you should try the frites in Belgium and pay homage to the country that made it all possible.
|Frites with spicy mayo|
5. Moules-Frites (Mussels and fries)Moules-Frites is probably the most popular dish in Belgian restaurants. It was in the menu of all local restaurants we went to. Chez Leon is the most popular Mussels and Fries restaurant in Brussels. We ate at Chez Leon and found it to be just average. We had a better Mussels and Fries experience in one of the bistros at the Markt center of Bruges. The mussels there were bigger, juicier and the sauce was more flavorful.
|Mussels and Fries from Chez Leon|
6. WaterzooiWaterzooi is a kind of seafood stew that originated from Ghent, Belgium. The soup is creamy and reminds me of the New England clam chowder.
|Seafood Waterzooi from Chez Leon|
7. SpeculoosThe speculoos is a gingerbread-type biscuit that is popular in Belgium. It has a strong distinct taste because of the spices used - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and others. In the picture below, the Dandoy biscuit is a speculoos.
|Speculoos gelato and biscuit|