By Rachael Funk
Belgium is one of those travel destinations you can’t help but get excited about. With so much to pay attention to, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by a wealth of options.
As the street food movement is Brussels explodes, a new focus on high-quality street food is inspiring a generation of healthier, locally sourced, creative dishes. While you wander through the capital of Belgium, keep your peepers peeled for these delicious treats!
Obviously. It’s not a trip to Brussels until you’re wolfin’ down some waffles! All you have to do is follow the cartoonish scent trail in the air to the nearest food truck to discover a wonderland of toppings you can paint over a piping hot, irresistibly fresh, golden brown waffle. Whipped cream? Sure! Fruit? Pile it on! Nutella? Maple syrup? Powdered sugar? More melted Belgian chocolate? The world is your waffle.
There’s no better time to expand your culinary experience than when you’re in a new country! For only a few euros, you can get a steaming bowlful of de-shelled escargot, known as caricoles, from Belgians pushing rolling carts around the streets. As long as you don’t mind a texture adventure, you may uncover a new favorite!
We would be remiss not to include a Belgian original on the list! Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, what’s not to love?! Drizzle some mayo over the top to enjoy them like a local, or find a friterie that offers a bevy of interesting dipping sauces to choose from!
If you’re looking for something more substantial than just frites, you can opt for a more without sacrificing your fry experience. A mitraillette is a sandwich typically made from a baguette piled with fried meat, pommes frites, and a sauce of choice. This tasty sandwich is considered to be invented in Brussels, so don’t think of it as chowing down on a fry sandwich, think of it as taking a bite out of the local culture.
Meatballs are a favorite for locals and tourists alike, and boy does Brussels do ‘em right! You might wonder what’s so exciting about beef and pork mixtures smashed into a ball, but only until you sink your teeth into the first bite! Sure, a hand-rolled ball of delicious meat, herbs, and whatever else they pack in there can be delightful on its own, but the sauce they are covered with can be a game changer.
You can’t visit Belgium and ignore all the sausages! With just about every market selling sausages, you can grab a black or white sausage (the difference being whether it was made with or without animal blood) in a warm bun and pile it with mustard, onions, sauerkraut, or whatever tickles your fancy.
Grey Shrimp Croquettes
When you’re eating your way through Brussels, there’s a high chance these yummy little guys will find their way into your meal one way or another. Another part of Belgium’s cultural heritage, these shrimp are harvested about an hour before and after low tide by fishermen on horseback. Though they are cooked all sorts of wonderful ways, one of the best is in a shrimp croquette. A fresh croquette made from scratch will have a thin, crispy crust on the outside and a creamy, molten inside.
Originally made as a Christmas cookie, these spiced shortbread biscuits are so well-loved, you can and will find them all around the city. While not strictly a street food, they are too delicious to ignore! Chances are good that you’ll get a few on the side if you order a drink in a café, but if not, be sure to pop into a store for a package. If you find any, grab some speculoos spread while you’re there – you’ll never want toast without the Brussels version of cookie butter again.
These hot dough balls are usually fried in animal fat, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and often served in a paper cone. Not exactly a donut, not exactly funnel cake, these puffy balls are so popular, you’ll have no trouble locating them as you walk through town.
All aboard the treat train! Though the name does translate to “white lady,” this important snack wasn’t named after your favorite Golden Girl. A Dame Blanche is actually huge scoops of vanilla ice cream covered in melted Belgian dark chocolate. “So it’s an ice cream sundae,” you ask? No. It’s a Dame Blanche, which is much classier.
Of course, as you’re snacking your way through Brussels’ colorful street food scene, you’ll need to follow all that delicious food with delicious beer! Since the world of Belgian beer is so wide and varied, you might want to make a game plan so you don’t miss the best of the offerings of Brussels’ bar culture. You can take beer tours, ask around for suggestions, or just listen in on locals while they order their favorites.