On the 21st of July we celebrate #tousensemble our national holiday. There are so many things Belgian people can be proud of (being 3th in the World Cup comes to mind). We can all agree one of them is having one of the best cuisines out there. This article is dedicated to some of our most iconic Belgian dishes and why we love them so much.
1/ The Vol-au-vent
For those of you who haven't tried this iconic dish yet, you are in for quite the surprise. This Flemish dish has a french name and means 'windblown', referring to the lightness of the pastry. The puffed round pastry is hollow and an opening is cut at the top and used as a lid when it's filled. The filling consists of chicken, meatballs and mushroom sauce. In Flanders people often use the flemish word 'Koninginnehapje' instead ( Queen' appetizer) At Café Van De Velde In Leuven you can taste why!
2/ The Mechelse Koekoek
Belgium has some very charming places to visit with lots of History. Most of you know Brugge, Ghent and Antwerp but not too far from there and very much worth a visit is Mechelen. Not only for its own history, beautiful buildings and scenery but definitely to try out the Mechelse Koekoek. The Mechelse Koekoek or Malines is a chicken breed from Mechelen used for meat dishes. At Carlton they serve them with a puree of walnuts and almonds topped with mozzarella and Parma Ham.
3/ The Classic Steak Tartaar
Although the origins of the dish isn't clear, Belgians have embraced this timeless classic and made it their own. The tartare consist of raw beef, known as 'filet américain', mixed with all sorts of condiments and al little bit of seasoning. The secret to nailing this simple yet very difficult dish is getting the texture of the the tartare right. At De Arme Duivel in Antwerp, they manage to get it perfect every time. Definitely worth the try.
4/ Carbonnade à la Flamande
If you like Belgian beer than you will love Flemish stew.This iconic and historical Belgian dish consists of beef cooked in a beer sauce. The dark flavor of the beer plays beautifully against the sweet- sour combination of the brown sugar, cider vinegar and caramelized onions. At Baraque Friture in Antwerp, you can taste the real deal with fries.
4/ Stuffed potatoes: Liège style
Did you know that the average Belgian consumes up to 38 kilo potatoes a year? We sure do like our potato in all shapes and sizes. Next to the classic 'friet met mayonaise' we also love to stuff our potato with everything we can find. With this beautiful weather, we recommend G-spud's healthy version in Brussels.
We've already talked about the stuffed potato but not yet about the croquette. A croquette is a fried breadcrumbed food roll with as a main ingredient mashed potatoes or meat. In Belgium the mashed potato croquette is served as a side but the croquette filled with North Sea shrimps is definitely worth your time. Try it at Volle Gas, where they serve of what the Belgium cuisine can offer.
No doubt about it, you've probably tasted mashed potatoes once in your life. Forget everything you know because stoemp is in its own league. This iconic dish consist of mashed potatoes mixed with a vegetable of choice and black pudding. At Balls & Glory they serve stoemp with handcrafted meatballs or vegetarian balls filled with a super tasty filling. Just look at the picture, doesn't it look like heaven on a plate?