Traditional Belgian Recipes are famous for chocolate, beer, and waffles. But there’s so much more to this tiny country that various visitors will find when they decide to explore what Belgium has to offer.
Belgium is a small country in Western Europe with around 10 million people. It is home to many different cultural influences and is a melting pot of a wide variety of cultures. It also has an extremely rich culinary heritage.
In Belgium, you will find traditional traditional Belgian Recipes as well as gourmet Belgian foods that are influenced by French, Dutch, and German cuisine. Thanks to their port access, fish and seafood are commonly used in Belgian foods.
French fries, or “frites” in Belgium, have become world famous. Belgian cafe culture is also something that should not be missed when in Belgium.
For me, Belgium evokes fond memories of my 20’s. I was living in South East England at the time and working for a large Belgian-owned freight company. The job wasn’t great, but I befriended quite a number of Belgian colleagues and, the job had some perks, namely, unlimited free tickets for the ferry that ran between the town of Ramsgate, England and Ostend, Belgium.
So, being young, free and single, I took great advantage of this and spent many a weekend chilling in Ostend with my Belgian friend and colleague, Patrik. When I say, “Chilling,” of course, I really mean getting pretty wasted on Duuvel and Elephant Beer and crashing on his sofa.
Ok, so perhaps this isn’t the most obvious route to discovering the culinary delights of this beautiful country, but my adventures in my younger years really enlightened me to the culture of the Belgian people, to the extent that I have returned many times now that I’ve grown out of my youth and been blessed with a wife and kids! We’ve visited many countries in Europe, but Belgium has always been that special place where I’ll always return, although, these days, it’s not so much about the beer and much more about the culture, the people, and the traditional Belgian Recipes.
Belgium has a very diverse range of influences that make it unique. It borders the Netherlands, France, and Germany, bringing influences from all three cultures (and they are quite different), not to mention three commonly spoken languages and traditional Belgian Recipes that is sometimes an eclectic mix. For me, the traditional Belgian Recipes is one of its biggest attractions. Of course, they have lots of beers, chocolate and waffles, but the traditional Belgian Recipes are something truly unique and varied.
You will find everything from traditional Belgian recipes to gourmet cuisine, with a very strong French influence. The Belgians also have some of the most unique recipes, and this is reflected in traditional Belgian recipes such as mussels and frites, as well as their produce (such as corn) and even their language! They have a great Belgian food culture and many gastronomic traditions.
I’ll try my best to pick out a few of the best and most famous traditional Belgium recipes you’ll find . This might not seem like an obvious list, but this is the sort of food that real Belgians eat, so it’s very authentic!
Here Are My Top 5 Most Popular Belgian Foods
1. Moules frites, (mussels and fries)
Lightly battered fried mussels are served with French fries. This dish is one of the most famous traditional Belgian recipes you can try, and its simplicity is great. Its also delicious when made with clams.
2. Gegrild Stokvis (grilled sole)
A delicacy from the Netherlands, this dish is a great local option from Belgium. It is a delicate, fresh fish that is firm and white, with a delicate flavor. It is served with the traditional white sauce and the ubiquitous Belgian fries.
3. Escalope Vlaamse (scallop)
Another classic from Belgium. It’s made from pieces of scallops, pork mince, and eggs bound together in a batter and deep fried until golden brown. It is served with a creamy mushroom sauce and French fries.
4. Steak frites
This is hard to beat. It’s one of the most famous dishes in Belgium and is loved by many, but it’s not just for tourists! A great combination of steak and French fries covered in melted cheese and accompanied with pepper sauce is a great meal for any time. The best way to describe this dish would be as the beef burger’s older brother, with a more robust taste.
5. Sympas fish
Sympas fish is a popular dish in Belgium. It’s made from sardines in a white sauce. I had this at a restaurant in Marche-en-Famenne and can confirm it’s very good. It was served on a bed of mashed potato mixed with sauteed onion and fresh herbs. It was quite oily, but the taste and texture were great.
So look, you’re probably wondering why Belgian waffles didn’t make my top 5. After all, they have Belgium in their name, right!? Well, you’ll find them everywhere and yes, they are every bit as delicious as you imagine; it’s a bit of a no-brainer-if you’re in Belgium, you will 100% love the waffles.
For that matter, their fries are also really good (they claim to have invented them, of course) and I’m not kidding when I tell you that Belgium has, by far, the best chocolate (and beer) in the world in my opinion.
This is my short bio of the Belgian food, but I’ll answer some common questions that come up too.
5 Most Popular Questions About Belgian Food
What food did Belgium invent?
Plenty! including, the french fries (not French), waffles, the Belgian waffle, pannekoeken (Dutch) and waterzooi (from Het Zuider Zeegebied) to name a few.
Is Belgium famous for chocolate?
Yes! Of course, Belgium has the greatest chocolate in the world. Visit any town in the country and you’re likely to find shops selling and making chocolate delights. There are no words to describe just how good their chocolate is.
What’s the best Belgian food?
Mussels are hands down one of my favorite Belgian foods (above), but I also really like the mussel soup. When describing Belgian food, I could say that pretty much any fresh seafood is a staple in their dishes.
What are the best places to eat in Belgium?
In Belgium, there’s no shortage of great restaurants. The small and intimate places where you can taste the food as it is prepared are always a good bet for me, as it allows you to taste so many different Belgian foods at once.
Fresh seafood is available across the country, but near the coast, you’re most likely to find super-fresh fish.
What are the most popular food from Belgian foods?
Well, the list is almost endless, but I love a classic dish, which is: Moules frites. Locals eat this, and frankly, once you taste it, you’ll know why.
So, if you’re heading to Belgium, be sure to take in their culture as well as enjoying their great food. Remember, visit the little places that are more off the beaten track. Stay away from McDonald’s and be sure to explore!
15 Traditional Belgian Recipes From Our Trip
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Although traditional Belgian recipes for Belgian Beef Carbonnade generally include beef and beer, there are many variations. Some families spread mustard on bread and add it to the pot for thickness and to reduce the sweetness of this dish.
Many use dark abbey beer to give a deeper flavor. Depending on the beer used it may also add sweetness. I prefer a blond Abbey (light ale) beer instead since it lends a more subtle flavor that blends perfectly with the other ingredients. For this recipe I used St Feuillien and found it to be perfect!
I have also made this recipe a lot of times without beer, simply using beef or vegetable broth as a substitute. Try it with or without beer and see what you and your family prefer.
It’s a traditional Belgian recipes for a pie in the same sense that pizzas, quiches and other similar savory dishes can be considered a pie. It starts with a layer of dough on the bottom, then is topped with a mixture of Swiss chard, parsley, onions and cheese, and finally is baked in the oven until golden brown.
Nivelles, a town about a half hour south of Brussels, is famous for a delicious local specialty called tarte al d’jote made with Swiss Chard and a kind of cream cheese only made in Nivelles. Surprisingly this pie can only be found in and around Nivelles. This uniquely semi-pungent cheese has roots back to the 13th century in Nivelles.
“I adore Moules Frites – for me it is quintessential French and Belgian Bistro food at its best – plus I love tactile eating! You can treat yourself to Moules Frites anywhere in France and Belgium, and for most of the year. I often make the “Moules” part at home – Moules Marinière – but now and then, for a treat I also do the “Frites” bit as well……chips or French fries! A classic in the list of traditional Belgian recipes.
Serve these with lots of paper towels or napkins, and a glass of chilled white wine would be the perfect accompaniment! I bought special Moules Frites dishes, as shown in the photos, but a couple of bowls would be fine – and don’t forget a large bowl for the shells. I
Ah yes, Curry Ketchup. Just as you’d think, it’s curry flavored ketchup mixed with several other spices and it’s pure wonderful in my book.
If you’ve ever spent any time in Germany, or maybe have some German friends, you’ve likely been introduced this yummy condiment. If you haven’t, well then, I’m about to teach you how to make a fairly quick version that you can try without investing in a whole bottle. I don’t know about you but I’m not a fan of having rarely used condiments hanging around in my fridge door, so I want to know if I’ll like it before I buy it.
Known in French as “Endives Au Jambon”, this Belgian Endive and Ham Gratin is a traditional Belgian recipes delight from Northern France and Belgium. Endives are wrapped in ham slices, smothered in a thick layer of voluptuous Mornay Sauce and baked until bubbly perfection. It’s a great contrast of pleasantly bitter verdure under creamy deliciousness.
This is a simple recipe to make at home that always pleases the whole family. And so you’re well equipped to make this recipe, here are a few details on its key components: endives, Mornay sauce and ham.
A traditional Flemish dish from Ghent, Belgium, it may be prepared for everyday dinners with chicken, and as a splurge, with shellfish.
The traditional Belgian recipes dish known as Waterzooi literally translates to “watery mess”, but this dish is anything but. Rich and creamy comfort food has been lightened up with a quick swap of the traditional full cream for evaporated milk. It’s a hug in a bowl.
Oliebollen are Dutch pastries similar to doughnuts. These deep-fried treats are typically filled with raisins and dusted with powdered sugar. Some modern variations are served with berry filling, but this is a traditional recipe. Oliebollen are a popular treat on New Year’s. Eat them hot if possible!
Braised Rabbit with Prunes (Lapin aux Pruneaux) is a great traditional Belgian recipes option from the French repertoire. Delicate rabbit meat gets braised in white wine with salty bacon and sweet prunes –beloved by the French- to create a deliciously rich, thick and slightly sticky sauce. This succulent combination of sweet and salty flavors is quite unique in French cuisine, which makes this dish very memorable.
If you are new to cooking with rabbit, it is very similar to chicken. Most recipes calling for rabbit can actually be substituted with chicken as it can be prepared similarly. Rabbit just has a slightly more delicate and tender texture, with a slightly more earthier taste. If you enjoy cooking with and eating chicken, you will certainly enjoy rabbit.
Chicken and Mushroom Vol Au Vent is the perfect traditional Belgian recipes selection. Originating from France, Vol Au Vent is a hollow puff pastry shell which can be filled with all kinds of sweet and savoury combinations. Today, I am using a creamy chicken and mushroom filling that is seasoned with tarragon and Italian herbs.
Vol au vent is a French word which literally means ‘flight in the wind’ that describes the lightness of this dish.
It is a small hollow case of puff pastry made by stacking circles of puff pastry on top of each other with the top ones having a hole in it. These layers are then baked so that they rise up to make a shell which can be later filled.
These pastries are usually savory but can be made sweet too.
10. Boulets liégeois
O – M – G these Boulets liégeois are amazing! This month’s traditional Belgian recipes is taking us to Europe, and I was really excited to create an authentic dish. I asked my daughter, who just spent a year in Belgium, what the most popular, well-known dish served all over Belgium is? She didn’t even hesitate when she answered.
You have to make Boulets liégeois!! They are meatballs swimming in an apple and onion gravy, served with French fries. French fries? I’m in!
If you’ve ever been to Brussels, you’ve seen or maybe tried a Mitraillette. My traditional Belgian recipes version features a spiced lamb burger, a pile of crispy fries, and roasted red pepper mayo. This sandwich is highly customizable but always awesome.
I know I can’t be the only one missing travel. I’m so lucky to be living in the UK with all of Europe’s great cities just a short (and usually cheap) flight away. I used to read travel guides all the time just for fun, imagining what I’d do when I finally got there.
I had to stop doing that this past year because it started to feel like pure fantasy, and that was something my heart just couldn’t take on top of everything else.
Stoemp from Belgium is the epitome of the perfect comfort food. Mashed potatoes are mixed with cream and sauteed vegetables and eaten to experience the taste of a homey and comforting dish.
This Stoemp is the perfect comfort food and traditional Belgian recipes choice. Bad day at work? Stoemp will fix it. Feeling under the weather? Stoemp will fix it. Going through a breakup? Stoemp will fix it. There’s nothing that this recipe can’t fix. Challenge me on this, I dare you.
Okay but really, the thing that makes this stoemp so delicious is the cream and vegetables mixed in… The nutmeg in the cream creates a really homey, nutty, comforting flavor. And the vegetables add an element that cannot be beat.
Belgian shrimp croquettes use gray North Sea shrimps, also known in the United Kingdom as brown shrimps. But, since these requirements are challenging and nearly impossible to obtain anywhere else other than around the North Sea, many recipes are changed depending on availability.
Generally, traditional Belgian recipes are widely varied with significant regional variations, and it represents the cuisines of neighboring countries like France, Germany, and the Netherlands, as well.
Belgian food is sometimes said to be served in the amount of German cuisine but with French food value. Belgium is best known outside the country for its chocolate, waffles, fries, and beer.
Traditional Belgian recipes for tomate aux crevettes, tomaat garnaal or shrimp stuffed tomatoes… This is a top notch Belgian summer classic! These tomatoes are very easy to make in advance as well. And they also bring back lots of lovely childhood memories.
What a delicious recipe this is!
Let’s talk about another Belgian classic type of food: tomate aux crevettes in French!
Or in other words shrimp stuffed tomatoes.
“A lovely lean sort of brioche from Belgium, this particular traditional Belgian recipes version comes from Wittaner, arguably the best pastry shop in Brussels, and is featured in Nick Malgieri’s “A Baker’s Tour.” This bread should be cut into relatively thin slices and makes great sandwiches and toast.”
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