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BELGIAN CUISINE    

 

Belgium is a nation of "Gourmands" rather than "Gourmets" which translates into "big cuisine" rather than "fine cuisine." In reality this means that along with big portions, you get pretty good quality and a kind of unpretentiousness. The word Gourmandise originally meant gluttony, but has taken on the above meaning and a similar one in France (The term is still used, somewhat archaically, by the Roman Catholic church - a French priest, amongst others, is currently petitioning the Church against this). It is often said Belgium serves food with the quantity of Germany and the quality of France .

Typical dishes include Lapin à la Geuze (Geuze being a naturally fermented beer from the Brussels region, and lapin being a rabbit), Stoemp (a delicious dish based on a potato, carrot and onion sauce with additions depending on the region, such as sausages), Salad Liegeoise, Flemish Carbonades (similar to the french Beef Bourguignon but made with beer instead of red wine), Chicon Gratin and of course Moules Frites (mussels and chips). Other well known dishes are waterzooi (especially Genth waterzooi) or include the use of typical Belgian beers.

Frites, or chips (UK English) / fries (US English), are very popular. The best place to enjoy Belgian frites is at a friture (frituur in Dutch, fritkot in Bruxellois, the Brussels patois) which is a temporary construction usually strategically placed in busy squares. Well known fritkot in Brussels are located on Place Jourdan, Place Flagey and at the Chapelle near the Marolles where Rue Haute / Hoogstraat starts.

Another Belgian speciality is beer. Although a comparatively small country, there are a large number of beers available in a range of different styles. Almost every different beer has its own unique drinking vessel, usually a glass of some description.

Restaurants serving Belgian cuisine can be found in the Bourse area (Rue de Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat - but the reputation of this extremely touristic neighbourhood is not very good) and in the Vismarkt / Marche aux Poissons area, near the church of St Catherine .

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