Belgian cuisine has German generosity and French subtle, flair. It also varies by region, especially between the south of Wallonia and the north of Flanders. Of course all over Belgium, fries and beer are always safe options and most popular! Belgium has created a long tradition of cooking. The Flemish Benedictine monks improved the brewing technique, and another Flemish — Charles de L’Écluse (Carolus Clusius) — played an important role in spreading the chips to all of Europe. The Belgians pride themselves on many unique specialties, often referred to in ancient cookbooks. So, what to eat in Belgium, what foods are popular in Belgium? Let’s check out our suggested 23+ most popular food in Belgium, Belgium traditional dishes, Belgium famous food, food to eat in Belgium, national dish of Belgium, traditional food in Belgium including must eat in Belgium, must try food in Belgium and best food in Belgium as well as where to find them to find out the answer!
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The Belgian culinary arts are strongly influenced by seasonal foods and ingredients. People eagerly await Primeurs, the first fruits and vegtables of the crop, while restaurants hold food festivals to celebrating it. Herring is best in spring, asparagus and strawberries are in May and June. And autumn is the hunting season, so wild game meat also appeared in food stores at that time.
Here is a list of unique traditional dishes, most popular, best food in Belgium that can help you not to miss the delicious food around this beautiful country.
What to eat in Belgium: Belgian fries
As noted above, there are other specialty dishes besides French fries — A very belgium famous food. But how can we start talking about Belgian cuisine culture without talking about this “divine” Belgian fries? It’s considered as the national dish of Belgium and most popular food in Belgium to try. Belgian fries are known can be served with steak and are also commonly eaten in a puntzak (cornet de frites) paper funnel. And authentic Belgian fries will not be served with ketchup but with mayonnaise. Since this french fries culture is so developed, you can find a variety of sauces in the supermarkets.
French fries can be considered a specialty dish of Belgian cuisine. It is symbolizes for the culture here and Belgium is also the world’s first place to sell French fries. Although this dish is now popular throughout the world, it is still more delicious, so tasty than when enjoyed in Belgium. You can easily buy French fries along Belgian streets with many shops and mobile stalls.
Belgian fries are always fried through 2 layers of oil (fried 2 times) to keep the inside moisture while the outside layer is still crispy. Once fried, it will sprinkled salt on to spice up the dish, authentic Belgian fries will not be served with ketchup but with mayonnaise instead. Fries are also often served with steak as an accompaniment in restaurants.
In Belgium, there is a fries museum, called Frietmuseum (Address: Vlamingstraat 33, 8000 Brugge, Belgium) in Bruges, which recreates the story of the production of french fries. This place displays everything from machines and equipment used to grow, harvest, and sort to cutting and processing this dish. Visitors can sample french fries with different sauces and many typical Belgian dishes such as meatballs and stewed beef. A tour of this place takes about 45 minutes with a ticket price of 6 euros for adults and 4 euros for children. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Most popular food in Belgium: Other special fried foods
There are a number of snacks shops called “frituur (friterie)” in Belgium as well as in the Netherlands. This is a specialty store/food truck that specializes in fried foods. Here are some of the most prominent options:
- Frikandel (Deep-fried sausage): This is one of the Belgium’s most popular fried foods and you never want to miss in any french fries shop. Minced deep-fried sausage. According to the book on the history of cooking “De verstandige kok”, this dish has been around since the 17th century.
- Gehaktbal (Meatball): “Gehak” in Dutch means minced meat. A fried meatball dish with a filling mixed with chopped vegetables, very suitable for making snacks, usually sold in sets of 6 pieces. A Belgian specialty dish usually served with french fries or mashed potatoes and ketchup. “Boulette de viande” literally means meatballs but quite large.
- Kroket (Croquette): Is a fried food, usually filled with meat, seafood, ham, cheese, mashed potatoes… breaded and then deep fried.
As for fried food, there are usually two types, one normal and one with added crispy batter.
Traditional food in belgium: Speculoos Cookies
Speculoos cookie is the most popular cookie in Belgium, is a type of cookies with the main flavor of vanilla, spicy taste, often served with espresso. Previously, Belgians used to eat these cookies only on the occasion of Saint Nicholas Day (June), now they are sold all year round, so it is not difficult for visitors to enjoy this famous cookies when coming to Belgium.
Best food in Belgium & the national dish of Belgium: Chocolates
Belgium is considered a chocolate paradise seducing millions of sweet lovers around the world. There are many famous chocolate brands with unique recipes and ingredients, each with its own uniqueness and character. In Belgium, the composition of chocolate has been regulated with a minimum of 35% pure cocoa, so Belgian chocolate in general is very rich in flavor.
If you are a chocolate enthusiast, you cannot ignore Belgian Chocolate — the world’s best chocolate. There are 16 chocolate museums in Belgium, along with more than 2000 types of chocolate, Belgium deserves to be called the world of chocolate. From dark-chocolate to white-chocolate or fresh-chocolate, everything is transformed into delicious and unique chocolates by the hands of artisans.
Some famous Belgian chocolate brands can be mentioned such as Chocolatier Neuhaus (Neuhaus) (Address: Steenstraat 66, 8000 Brugge, Belgium/Hours: 10AM–2PM, 2:30–6PM), famous for its chocolate parline), Pierre Marcolini (famous for its chocolate with flavored wine, but quite expensive price from $50/box). You should buy small boxes of 6-8 pieces a box to both save costs and eat quickly, without worry of expiration date.
Needless to say, you should try a variety of chocolates from the affordable at the supermarkets, to the more upscale in the well-known stores. Some famous chocolate brands here: Neuhaus, Godiva, Loenidas, Pierre Marcolini, Guylian…
Must try food in Belgium: Creamy Chicken Vol-au-Vent
Another delicious Belgian dish is called Vol-au-vent, which in French means “wind-blown”, to describe its lightness. It consists of pastries filled with chicken, meatballs and mushrooms, often served with french fries. Once again, Vol-au-vent is highly recommended when you visit the country and can be easily found in traditional Belgian restaurants!
Must eat in Belgium: Konijn met pruimen (Rabbit stewed with prunes in beer)
Stewed rabbit with prunes and cooked in Trappist beer is a traditional dish dating back to the Middle Ages loved by Belgians. The dish originates from the time when pork and beef were too expensive, so people switched to eating rabbit meat instead. At the end of the 14th century, they processed rabbits by grilling whole, eaten with ginger sauce or marinated with mustard, prunes.
Belgium famous food: Moules-frites
Moules-frites is a Belgian specialty you should try because of its savory and very tasty. The ingredients for this dish are black mussels cooked with beer and white wine, served with a very delicious and attractive french fries. Moules-frites is suitable to eat in hot summer days, diners when visiting Belgium in the summer months do not forget to enjoy and feel the long-standing culinary culture through this dish.
Moules (mussels) and French fries are two dishes that you can find on any menu of any Belgian restaurant. In France this dish is usually cooked with white wine, but in Belgium it is cooked with beer. Mussels taste quite like clams, when cooked with beer, the fishy smell will be eliminated, and when you eat it, you can feel the sweetness of mussel meat. In addition, mussels are also very effective in treating back pain.
Some places where you can enjoy delicious mussels in Belgium: Kombuis Restaurant (24 Van Iseghemlaan Street, has been serving mussels for more than 40 years), De Mosselbeurs restaurant (10 Dwarsstraat Street), De Oesterput (No. 16 Wenduinse Steenweg) has been serving mussels for over 60 years and you will have to wait in line for your turn when you come here.
What to eat in Belgium: Cuberdon
Cuberdon candy is a pretty cone-shaped candy, this is a delicacy of the city of Ghent. This candy is not known to too many tourists. The candy is a combination of a slightly hard but still flexible shell, with a sweet and sour liquid inside. Cuberdon traditionally had a raspberry flavor, but today there are more than 30 different fillings available.
The ingredients to make these lovely candies include gum arabic, glucose, starch and sugar, and raspberry extract. All these ingredients are boiled together, placed in a conical mold and dried for at least 12 hours before being sent to cool. The whole process from cooking the candy to packaging takes 4-5 days, and the candy is also best when enjoyed within 3 weeks. If you come to Ghent city, you can easily buy this candy for only $3.50-$5.8.
Although this is not known to many tourists, cuberdon is a Belgian specialty candy. The most traditional and basic one is raspberry flavor with a purple tint. You can buy it at supermarkets, restaurants or food trucks.
What to eat in Belgium: Filet Américain (American Beef Tartare)
A unique style of steak beef tartare that scares many diners but is one of the most famous Belgian delicacies, Fillet Américain consists of minced raw beef, drizzled with the signature américain sauce made from ketchup, coriander, onions, capers, celery and mayonnaise… to overpowering the fishy smell. The dish is served with fries and bread, or to challenge their taste, many people have the habit of adding raw eggs to the mix to increase the fatness.
Good food to eat in Belgium: Tomate Crevettes
Another traditional seafood dish is shrimp! This list of must-try Belgian dishes wouldn’t be complete without Tomate Crevettes (Tomatoes Stuffed with Shrimp). This dish consists of tomatoes stuffed with shrimp and mayonnaise. It is traditionally served with Belgian fries (as are most other Belgian dishes). This is definitely something you should try when visiting the Belgian coast as the shrimp are freshly caught from the North Sea!
Peeled shrimp, mixed with salad with tomatoes, lettuce create a famous traditional appetizer in Belgium, called Tomates aux Crevettes Grises. The shrimp used is grey shrimp that is caught off the coast of northern Belgium with a distinct rich flavor. This salad is usually enjoyed with draft beer to increase the appealing, this is the first choice when traveling to Belgium in the summer.
Paling in ‘t groen (Eel in green sauce)
Would you like to try one of the Belgium traditional dishes made from local eel? Try “Paling in ‘t groen”! This is definitely one of the best food in Belgium and also a bit more expensive as wild eels are increasingly rare. The main ingredient is wild eel caught in the rivers of Belgium and a delicious green sauce. Of course, served with fries or bread in the traditional way.
This dish is easy to find only in upscale restaurants and you should not hesitate to order it!
Boulet au Sauce Lapin
Boulet au Sauce Lapin (Balletjes op Luikse Wijze) is a delicious delicacy you should try when you come to Belgium. With fresh ingredients from beef, minced pork mixed with sour sauce made from onions, vinegar, brown sugar and syrup de Liège, it enhances the appeal of the taste. This dish is quite familiar to locals and easy to make, but you can enjoy it at big restaurants in cities of Belgium.
Balletjes, also known as meatballs served with cherry jam, is a specialty of the Liège region, gradually spreading throughout the country and becoming one of the signature dishes of Belgian cuisine.
Must eat food to eat in Belgium: Belgian Sirop de Liège (Belgian jam or jelly-like spread)
Sirop de Liège has an extremely sweet and seductive aroma with unique flavor of Belgian cuisine. The sauce used in this dish is made quite elaborately from apple and pear juices and served with bread. Sirop de Liège used to be eaten by Belgians for breakfast, but today it is also more popular for lunch.
Sweet syrup made from apple and pear juice. Belgians often use this syrup with bread for breakfast or with butter for lunch.
Stoofvlees (Carbonnade flamande)
Aside from seafood, Belgium is a carnivorous country. Before the globalization of the world, food in Belgium consisted mainly of meat with potatoes (hence the signature fries). Made from beef, then stewed from any Belgian beer, bringing out different flavors. When enjoying, you will have a melting sensation in your mouth. Besides, the sauce of the stew is extremely flavorful, served with bread pieces.
Stoofvlees originated from the Netherlands, through the creation of the Belgians makes this dish has become popular and loved in this country. Stoofvlees is essentially stewed beef in Belgian stout for hours and served with fries or bread. When eating, you will feel the combination of tender beef and rich sauce along with crispy chips. This is really an attractive dish and bold Belgian culinary culture with a combination of beer and french fries.
A special dish that combines all the best of Belgian cuisine: Stoofvlees — Belgian stew. When ordering, don’t look too much on the outside as they don’t look very appealing, but they are actually delicious! The dish is made from beef stewed in beer served with French fries. This is one of must-try Belgian dishes!
Stoustvlees is a Flemish specialty beef stewed made with Belgian stout. The dish is cooked over low heat for several hours so that the stew has a rich flavor and tender beef, served with Belgian fries.
The dish will be even better if you enjoy on cold winter days, amidst the snowy landscape. You can taste it with bread, you can order more mashed potatoes or fries. You will feel more savory and fuller.
National dish of Belgium: Chicons Au Gratin
As an indispensable dish in the Belgian meal, showing the sophistication of Belgian cuisine, Chicon Au Gratin makes anyone admire when enjoying this delicacy in Belgium. This dish is made from pureed pork combined with ham, potatoes and lettuce, topped with a layer of greasy sauce. In addition, it will be put in the oven to melt cheese into each ingredient and add bechamel sauce.
Best food in Belgium: Boudin Blanc Sausage
Boudin blanc is a white type of sausages made from milk with meat that is unique and much more attractive than the sausages we have ever enjoyed. Its delicate taste is reflected in its softness, aroma and tenderness, not as greasy as many other types. This Belgian delicacy offers the best dining experience when fried or grilled, served with bread, or better yet with mashed potatoes and cheese.
Boudin Blanc is not like other ordinary sausages. Boudin Blanc not only uses meat, fat and other basic ingredients, but also uses fresh milk to complete this dish completely. Thanks to that, each Boudin Blanc has a rather soft, smooth, and fragrant appearance. This white sausage can also be grilled, served with bread as well as mashed potatoes and cheese.
Stewed Fish Waterzooi
Waterzooi fish stew originates from the town of Ghent with the main ingredient being river cod stewed in a variety of vegetables. Fish, chicken stew with egg cream and butter as a thick soup, ingredients of carrots, potatoes, celery, laurel… are added to balance the dish, used as an appetizer or breakfast which is very nutritious and delicious. In a cold and wet country like Belgium, this dish creates a very warm feeling.
River cod fish stew with egg cream and butter, waterzooi originated in Ghent, where King Charles V made it his favorite dish. Today, this dish is added with chicken to create a delicious soup.
Grijze Gemaal (Crevette grise)
Traditionally, in the summer on the coast of Oostduinkerke, gray shrimp are harvested along the coast, from France to the Netherlands, by fishermen. And they are made into many delicacy of Belgian cuisine such as fried, grilled… dishes.
Stoemp (Belgian Mashed Potato)
Stoemp mashed potatoes is the main dish of the people of Brussels, and is a very famous Belgian delicacy. Stoemp is made from mashed potatoes, vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions, kale… much more sophisticated than regular mashed potatoes. When enjoying, you should eat with sausages or other stew dishes to enhance the taste. In restaurants, it’s served with premium beefsteak, salad appetizer or bread, sausage… depending on taste.
This is the main dish of the people of Brussels with mashed potatoes, vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions, kale. Can be served with sausages or stew dishes.
What to eat in Belgium: Shrimp croquettes (Croquettes de crevettes)
When traveling to Belgium, you will definitely see the familiar gray shrimp appearing at Belgian restaurants. Gray shrimp when processed is also considered a snack at seafood restaurants in Brussels. This dish will surely satisfy the most fastidious international diners.
Gray shrimp is not only delicious and sweet, but gray shrimp is also considered one of the cultural and culinary heritages of Belgium. Since time immemorial, gray shrimp would be harvested along the Belgian shores. This is also one of the unique features associated with the traditional horse-riding profession that has been handed down in this country for thousands of years. Recognized by UNESCO as an international intangible cultural heritage.
In Belgium, you can sample a wide variety of delicious croquettes. In the photo is the shrimp croquette which is soft on the inside and melts in your mouth.
Must eat in Belgium: Meatballs
Meatballs are combined from beef and pork. This is a dish loved by many tourists. Meatballs are usually served with tomato sauce or fried with butter and cherry sauce only found in Belgium. In the south of Brussels, there will be a slightly different way of cooking, that is, this dish will be combined with a rich beef gravy, added spices as well and a juice a bit like molasses, made from apples and pears is called Sirop de Liege. Meatballs can be served with fries.
Belgium famous food & must try food in Belgium: Waffles
Referring to the famous dishes in Belgium without mentioning Waffles is a big omission. When traveling in Belgium, you can see countless small street food vendors selling these delectable waffles on every street of any Belgian city… Waffles actually have 2 types, Brussels and Liege. Brussels type is thicker, bigger, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and covered with a layer of white sugar. Liege type will be round, small, crunchy and thinner than Brussels ones.
Waffles will taste better when served with sauces like chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. If you buy a Waffles with chocolate sauce, it will cost around $1.5, and if you want to combine with cream and fruit, it will cost more than $3.5 VND.
Belgium is very famous for waffles and you can find many places selling these waffles everywhere. But did you know that there are actually two types of waffles? Here are the differences of these two waffles.
Brussels waffles (right on the picture)
The first obvious difference of this waffle is the square shape. Brussels waffles, crispy on the outside, spongy on the inside. Simply sprinkle with sugar but you can also try adding cream, chocolate sauce, caramel syrup…
Liege Waffles (left on the picture)
The shape is rounded like the ones sold in the supermarket, but once you know the texture and taste, you’ll love it. In contrast to the Brussels waffle with its crunchy texture, this one is soft and the dough is so rich that you don’t need to add a lot of sauce on top.
Most popular food in Belgium: Belgian beers
If you don’t try Belgian beer, you’ll miss out on most of the fun in Belgium!! There are countless beers that vary in taste, flavor, color and glass. Each beer has its own glass and the production is different as Belgium has no laws limiting ingredients. Depending on your meal or how you’re feeling, you could try a few beers a day!
The Belgians did not invent beer, nor are they the biggest drinkers of beer, but no other country has as many famous brands of good beer as here. Belgium has more than 500 beer brands, 178 breweries, producing more than 2500 types of beer to sell to the market every year.
In Belgium, there are no brewing recipes similar to other countries in the world. Belgian beer has a high alcohol content (8 – 12 degrees) but contains many nutritional values such as mineral salts, glucide, protein, and vitamins. Popular beers can be mentioned such as red beer, dark beer, beer made by the monks called Trappists, white beer … You can visit any bar or restaurant to enjoy a wide variety of Belgian beers.
Beer appeared in Belgium from the Middle Ages, inherited as a traditional drink and developed to this day. Some of the main beer lines include Golden Lagers; Lambic; Brown beer; Red beer; White beer; Trappists; Abbey; Deus… with different flavors. Beer here is usually served in champagne bottles and drinked from a glass.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in and from Brussels you can refer to
- Private Brussels Airport (BRU) Transfers for Brussels
- Private Charleroi Airport (CRL) Transfers for Brussels
- Bruges Day Tour from Brussels
- Brussels Hop On/Hop Off Bus Day Pass and Trip by Rail from London
- Ghent and Bruges Day Tour from Brussels
- Bruges Guided Day Tour from Paris
- Brussels City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours
- Brussels Card
- Brussels City Sightseeing Bus Pass