Renowned for waffles and beer, mussels and chocolate, hearty stews and speculoos, Belgium as a whole—and Brussels in particular—is an ideal destination for food lovers, beer experts, and all-around gourmands. Here are the dishes, drinks, and other culinary delights to discover on your next trip to the Belgian capital.
Must-Try Dishes and Brews
Belgium produces some of the world’s most storied brews, from centuries-old Trappist ales to funky lambics fermented with wild yeast. Beer geeks covet rare bottles of Westvleteren 12 and Cantillon’s fruit-infused lambics, while more ubiquitous brews like Orval and Chimay Tripel remain ever-popular staples. Though Belgian beer is strongly guided by tradition, a new generation of craft breweries like Brussels Beer Project and Brasserie de la Senne are beginning to transform the scene.
If beer is taken seriously, then Belgian food is, too. The city is peppered with elegant chocolate shops, each of which makes more delicious and refined truffles than the last—an extensive chocolate tasting is an essential Brussels experience. Waffles may be a common street food snack, but given that they often come topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or speculoos spread, they can be quite decadent.
Visiting in the winter? Settle in with a hearty stew like carbonnade flamande or waterzooi. And be sure to sample mussels and fries, or moules-frites as it’s known locally— this is widely considered Belgium’s national dish.
- Head out on a beer tour to a craft brewery, or visit traditional brewers like Cantillon Brewery and 3 Fonteinen.
- Sample truffles and pralines during a Belgian chocolate tour, or attend a cooking class to learn how to make chocolate from scratch.
- Enjoy gourmet Belgian food at one of the city’s elegant brasseries, and order a seafood platter complete with gray shrimp, a local favorite.
- Master the art of Belgian waffles during a hands-on cooking class, or go on a walking tour of the city's top street food purveyors.
- Go for a beer tasting in one of the city’s popular beer bars, like the Delirium Café, whose menu boasts more than 2,000 brews.