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!
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.