A Taste of Belgium

I already admitted that I’m really not a foodie. Okay, so I might have turned into a part time foodie throughout the last months, but I’m about to destroy this reputation with the revelation of my dirty little foodie secret: I love French fries!

To be exact: French fries are my favorite food. Seriously. In my perception of the world, fries cure headaches and hangovers. Fries can turn a bad day into a good one; fries are the perfect comfort food and the perfect reward food. But before I have to rename this post “An Ode to French Fries” — back to Belgium. Because, as you might know, the Belgians invented the fries. Which a) makes the Belgians pretty much my favorite people in the whole world and b) gave me a really good reason to be super excited about my recent trip to Bruges. Of course, I was going there to see beautiful canals and medieval art, but I honestly think I was most excited about the fries.

So, guess what Steffen and I did first after checking in at our hostel? Go out and find fries. Naturally. And I was glad to learn that the rumors were true: Fries were everywhere in Bruges!

Fries in Bruges, Belgium

We found us a nice spot at the Grote Markt Square with a premium view of Bruges landmark, the Belfry tower, and indulged in our fries with mayo. And I must say: Everything this art historian needs to be happy are fries with a historic view!

And what comes after fries? Dessert of course! And how very handy to be visiting a country that is also famous for waffles. Steffen and I shared a waffle with cherries and whipped cream on it. Pretty great — but nothing compared to the fries.

Belgian waffle in Bruges

Waffle car in Bruges, Belgium

The “fries theme” of my birthday trip to Bruges had been established quickly: We joined a pub crawl on our first night, sampling as many strong Belgian beer as possible (for research purposes only, obviously). But, you know, when I start drinking somehow I always crave French fries. So when the clock stroke midnight and it officially was my 26th birthday, I was holding a serving of fries, still chewing when Steffen wished me happy birthday. Was there any better way to start s new year of my life? I don’t think so.

Okay, back to other delicious Belgian things. Well, there’s chocolate, of course. Even the comparably little city of Bruges has more than 50 chocolate shops alone. Chocolate was just ubiquitous!

Chocolate in Bruges, Belgium

Chocolate in Bruges, Belgium

Also, it was sold in the most peculiar forms. I found it quite interesting how many chocolate boobs I was seeing all over the place.

Chocolate boobs in Bruges, Belgium

Funny — but there were other foods that were just so much more attractive: Fries, for example.

Belgian fries in Bruges, Belgium

Oh they were so deliciously salty and greasy and… Sorry, drifting off again. Of course, I can’t write about the Belgian cuisine in depth without mentioning beer. As a German I understand beer craziness. But beer in Belgium is a whole different topic — they have such an incredible amount of different beers that it’s is basically impossible to know them all, even for the Belgians themselves. Moreover, each beer is served in its very own glass. It’s a sacrilege to serve a beer in the wrong glass. Lesson learned: Never ask for a Leffe in a Kwak glass! Steffen almost got expelled from Belgium for this mistake.

Leffe beer in Bruges, Belgium

Beer glasses in Bruges, Belgium

Beer menu in Bruges, Belgium This would be your average sized beer menu 

For my birthday dinner we went to a famous brasserie to try even more beer as well as Belgium’s official signature dish: Mussels and (you know it makes me happy to say this) fries. We opted for mussels in white wine that came in a huge pot — with fries and homemade mayo on the side. And I must say, the mussels were so very good that they almost distracted me from the fries. Almost. Verdict: Belgium’s signature dish is awesome!

Mussels and fries in Bruges, Belgium

Beer in Bruges, Belgium

I’m not sure if I explored everything the Belgian cuisine had to offer, but what I ate in Bruges was all I was hoping to eat in Belgium. You might say my nutrition was slightly one-sided during my time there — but what else was I supposed to do in a country that is famous for beer

Beer in Bruges, Belgium

and waffles

Waffle in Bruges, Belgium

and fries? Right?

Fries in Bruges,Belgium

(Side note: Since I got back from Bruges, I haven’t eaten any French fries yet. I may have overdone it just a liiiittle during my time in Belgium. Oh, and I guess I probably should have named this post “An Ode to Belgian Fries” after all.)

Have you ever had Belgian fries?
Or any other typical Belgian food for that matter?