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Chocolate, waffles and fries! Oh my!


If you want to gain weight and enjoy doing it, head to Belgium. The country’s street food is amazing. Turn any corner in a city center in the country and you’ll likely find a frietkoten (fry shack) take-away window, a waffle cart or a chocolate shop. Or, if you’re lucky, all three! The culinary wonders of Belgium have reached far and wide. Pomme frites (fried potatoes) are a mainstay in North American restaurants, waffles are a common breakfast food and chocolate… well… chocolate is chocolate and needs no words to describe its powers in the world. Sadly, all three have been commercialized in their worldwide travels and are now sold frozen, fattier and sweeter and are not as authentic as they should be. Yes, I’m telling you frozen fries, frozen waffles and sugary chocolate just don’t cut it after savoring the best of each in Belgium.

In the States, they’re called French fries and you can find steak fries, crinkle cut fries, curly fries, potatoes wedges or jojos. In Belgium, the home of the pomme frite (fried potato), it doesn’t matter so much how you cut it as what you put on it. Mayonnaise beats out ketchup as the most popular topping, but curry-flavored ketchup is common and every shop has its special sauce. Fry shacks can offer anywhere from 6 toppings to 30! Trust me: you don’t want your fries plain here! Go for a few fun sauces and experiment. Usually they’ll put two or three different sauces in your fries if you ask. A paper cone full of pomme frites with a small wooden fork in Belgium is a salty serving of heaven in your hand.

Waffles are Belgium’s dessert-on-the-go. Topped with powdered sugar and served with a napkin, they are Belgium’s simplest and sweetest street food. In more touristic areas, you can find shops that will top them with copious amounts of whipped cream, fruit or syrup, but a simple waffle with powdered sugar is Belgium’s purist and more authentic version of the waffle. Just be sure to hold on to the napkin to brush off the powdered sugar you’ll inevitably spill all over yourself while savoring your snack!

Seashell-shaped chocolates in Brussels

Chocolate is not just a delicious dessert in Belgium; it’s an art form. Chocolates can be bought in whatever shape you want, in whatever flavor you desire and in any price range you can afford. Good chocolate can be cut off a heavenly block and bought by the kilo, you can find traditional bars of chocolate or you can find molded chocolate in whatever shape you want (and to whatever degree of appropriateness you want). Chocolate shops line the pedestrian streets and flaunt their style in the same way as shoe shops in Italy. My tip for buying good Belgian chocolate on a budget: go to the back of an upscale shop and they usually have a bin of broken chocolate (both molded chocolate and bars) that they can’t sell at the usual price, so they offer it at a hugely discounted price. And let me tell you, a perfect-shaped chocolate rabbit tastes just as amazing as a headless chocolate rabbit!

Belgium snacks are amazing. If you think you can get the same foods at home, guess again. Live it up in Belgium and satisfy your salt cravings and your sweet tooth with their gourmet street foods. A trip to Belgium wouldn’t be complete without testing them. Whether you want savory fries, a sweet waffle or decadent chocolate, there is something for everyone literally around every corner.

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6 thoughts on “Chocolate, waffles and fries! Oh my!

  1. I would have to agree with you on the crêpes and sandwiches! I find a lot of wonderful sorbet and gelato too, probably because I’m in Nice- so close to Italy!
    I also love Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations! He’s probably my favorite, for the same reasons. Not to mention, I think he narrations are hilarious! I also love all of Samantha Brown’s shows, even if her trip budgets usually exceed mine. She still gives great advice.

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    • Oh…. gelato!!! So yummy!!! 🙂 I used to like Samantha Brown, but now when I watch her shows, I realize she’s way out of my budget and she often has built-in ads for hotels, restaurants or somewhere else out of my price range. Rick Steves is another great show! Good for getting off the tourist trail! But, while you’ll be away from the majority of tourists, you’ll be surrounded by other Rick Steves followers! 🙂 He also gives good advice and travel skills that fit any location. He’s got books out, a show on PBS, short video podcasts and a weekly radio show you can find as a podcast on iTunes.

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      • I would have to agree with you comment on Samantha Brown. I think I just enjoy watching her in each experience more than anything. She’s kind of a dork, which I can relate to.
        I’ve never heard of Rick Steves though, probably because I don’t frequent PBS. I’ll have to check him out though, thanks for the tip!

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      • Rick Steves is even dorkier than Samantha Brown! He has GREAT travel advice for off-beat places and teaches helpful travel skills! His books have a lot of money and time saving tips (like if you check your bag at certain museums or sites you enter in the back entrance and avoid the long line to the main entrance) and the money you spend on buying the book (about $20) you definitely save in the first day or two of your trip! 🙂 He also has some travel products (bags, maps, accessories and other travel toys) online that are practical and most of them are really lightweight! Highly recommended! 🙂 He’s all about packing light and traveling on the cheap! Perfect for backpackers, but also geared toward the more adult crowd looking for comfortable B&Bs and budget-friendly local eateries. 🙂 I think a lot of people that use his advice are fanatics and become addicted to anything Rick Steves!!! 🙂

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  2. My goodness, I thought the food stands I’ve encountered in France were delicious! I had a friend tell me that the pomme frite stands in France were by far the best, but I’m an avid Travel Channel-er and always heard that Belgium was the country to visit for fried potato heaven. Glad to hear all those hours spent in front of the TV really did pay off, I think I have to visit Belgium now!

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    • France is definitely good for street food, too, but more for crêpe and sandwiches. At least that’s what I enjoyed most there! 🙂 Belgium is certainly the place to go for pomme frites! 🙂 What shows do you watch on Travel Channel? I like Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. He has a good off-beat travel style and isn’t afraid to try new foods!

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