Snacks and Travel Tips for Brussels

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Belgium wasn’t exactly a country I had planned as a must-go during my exchange. However, when C found a Ryanair flight from Barcelona to Brussels for 30 euros round trip, I couldn’t say no to that. What was interesting about this trip was that instead of staying a hostel or hotel, like I usually did, we stayed at a guesthouse. I hadn’t really looked into guesthouses, since I didn’t really know how it worked, but C found it randomly. Useful websites or apps are hostelbookers or booking.com. Anyways, we stayed at this lady and her husband’s house which was really cute! She loved antiques so our room was all decorated with dolls and sculptures. It was definitely a more girly room. It was a sort of bunk bed with a queen size bed above the desk, so we had to share the bed. Not exactly what we had imagined since we requested two doubles. We had our own separate bathroom at the lower floor, and each morning, she would prepare us a basic breakfast. Bread with a variety of jams and spreads, as well as tea/coffee and orange juice. I wouldn’t say this was cheaper than a hostel, but it was definitely nice to live somewhere that felt more cozy than a hostel. Also, it was great to have a local tell you where to go and give us advice. Maps were provided for us. Our guesthouse was also extremely close to the metro, so that was a plus!

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On our first day, we really just had an adventure in the city. I guess we walked into the more touristy part of the city, since there are a ton of chocolate shops everywhere! One street would probably be half filled with chocolate shops. Some were more like souvenir shops with chocolate being sold, while others were chocolate boutiques and some were big international brands. This was Belgique Gourmande, which I believe we saw two of them during our time here. This shop has a large variety of chocolate, and they sell brands from other companies. Perfect place if you’re looking for a gift. You can find things like just a chocolate bar, to gift boxes and truffles.

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What we liked about Belgique Gourmande was the option to just pick and choose truffles and some select chocolates which would just be priced by weight. Here, I got some truffles as well as a chocolate orange. Not bad, but I wouldn’t say they are anything better than chocolates like Godiva or Lindt. It was just fun since you can try different flavours.

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Godiva is also everywhere! I actually didn’t realize that Godiva was Belgium since I first encountered Godiva when I was in the United States. What we have in Vancouver is pretty much the same as in Belgium though. Warning: The prices are either the same or even more expensive in Belgium than in Vancouver! Not sure if it’s because tourists would assume that Godiva would be cheaper here, since it’s from Belgium, but they really weren’t. Some items were maybe slightly cheaper by a dollar or two, like the chocolate dipped strawberries, but honestly not that much and not worth bringing all the way back and wasting luggage space. I guess it might also be because the euros are so strong, so everything is just expensive for us Canadians!

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Belgian waffles are a must! You’ll find these little waffle shops all around the city. They advertise their waffles to be 1 euro, which is true, but only if you get just the waffle itself! Of course we didn’t, and added some toppings. Each topping has additional costs, but I think ours came to under 3 euros, which is a decent deal. The waffle was so warm and fluffy! They make it right on the spot. Strawberries were also fresh, and the whipped cream made it a perfect combo!

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And then we found Mannekin-Pis. I didn’t even know about this famous statue, but all around town, you would see little figures of this naked boy urinating. Even chocolate. Yup. Anyways, when we finally reached this landmark, I was like “Wait, what? That’s it?” I was sort of disappointed. He was so tiny! Even those chocolate sculptures of him were bigger… Apparently the original is actually at a museum since it was stolen many times. While I was there, I still didn’t really know the story behind this boy. Now that I’m home, I did a quick search and learned that this statue was made by Brussels sculptor and has many different legends behind it. The most famous one is about the troops putting Duke Godfrey III of Leuven, who was a two year old lord in a basket and hanging it on a tree. Apparently, the boy urinated on the other troops who then lost the battle. Interesting…

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Belgian is also known for beer! I don’t know much about beer, but we found this shop that had a ton of beer! Like I’ve never seen so many types of beer in my life. I don’t even like beer, but I wanted to buy them all since the packaging were so nice! A lot of them even catered to girls too with really girly labeling. Some were holiday versions as well.

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C and I ended up grabbing two beers to drink for the night. She chose the Delirium Beer since we saw many people getting that. However, she found it very strong and bitter. We’re definitely not beer drinkers, so probably why. I went for the Peach Lambic Beer. I actually really like it and C did too! It tasted more like a cider than beer to me. Fruity and bubbly.

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While were in Brussels, the Christmas Market had just begun as well. We didn’t find the market to be too impressive compared to the others in Europe. A reason might be because it was the first day and they were still setting up. It was a lot of arts and crafts, and mostly drinks. Not a lot of food, and since we’re foodies, we’re always looking for food… They had an outdoor skating rink and also a Ferris wheel.

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At night time, I finally decided to try the Hot Wine, which is called Vin Chaud. Oh, did I also mention that they speak French in Brussels? I never knew that until I got here and saw everything in French! I guess it’s because they’re situated so close to France. Anyways, they were selling Vin Chaud at almost every drink booth at the market, so I decided to give it a try. I didn’t really like it though. I found it difficult to go down my throat. The red wine they used must’ve been quite dry. I personally wouldn’t get this again and prefer cider more!

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Then we came across Grand Place again. The Grand Place is a must see since it’s the central square of Brussels. On the four sides are guildhalls, the city town hall and the Broadhouse. We walked by this square a lot since it was on our way to other tourist landmarks and to the metro. It’s absolutely beautiful during day time and we had seen a Christmas tree had been planted in the center in daytime. This specific day though, people were surrounding this area and we were sort of confused. Like what was going on? C and I kept discussing I guess a little too loudly, and I told her there must be something special going on! A young man overheard us and laughed and said “Yup, today’s the lighting of the Christmas tree, except it was scheduled a while ago, and nothing has happened, so everyone’s waiting anxiously, unsure what’s happening.” Funny enough, we found out this man was from Seattle, very close to my home! This is what I love about traveling. You meet people from all over the world, and even people who are close to you back at home. After a few minutes of chatting, the tree finally lit up! And music began to play and lights flashed everywhere. It was beautiful! They basically had lights flashing on the buildings on the four sides and they would move based on the song’s rhythm. Absolutely amazing and it really started to feel like Christmas! (even though it was only November). A must see if you are traveling here around December.

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After, I suggested we go to see the Atomium! It wasn’t on the top of our list, but since it was our last night and we had some time, I wanted to go see it. It was constructed for Expo ’58 and is supposed to be a cell of an iron crystal. You can actually go on the top of the sphere which gives you a panoramic view of Brussels. Perhaps where we saw it wasn’t the best spot because we were slightly disappointed. It was sort of situated beside a parking lot… Two pictures and we left. Also, it’s not near anything else, so you really have to go out of your way to come here. Not worth it if you’re on a tight schedule.

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So apparently there’s a bar called Cafe Delirium which has over 1000 different types of beers and is a must go for beer lovers. Although we don’t love beer, we thought if we’re in Brussels, we might as well. Sadly, I think we ended up at the wrong Delirium. Apparently, there are a bunch of bars called Delirium with this elephant logo. I’m not sure if they’re related and owned by the same one, but this wasn’t the one that was famous! The original one is listed in the Guinness to have the largest selection of beer in the world and has two floors! We had asked the bartender if this was the right one, but of course he said Yes… The sad thing was that I think I saw the real Delirium Cafe just a few blocks down… So confusing.

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Well, we still settled for some beer. I chose the La Corne since I saw the girl next to me drinking it. It came in this horn shaped glass so I thought it was really cool! It was a bit difficult to hold and drink though. It was a golden colour and wasn’t too bitter. Yea I’m not very descriptive with my beers, since I don’t know much about them.

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C got the Chocolate Beer, but she really didn’t like it. I thought it tasted sort of funny too. There really wasn’t a chocolate flavour to it and tasted more bitter than mine. They do have a bunch of fruitier beers, which she probably would’ve enjoyed more.

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The next day, we had half a day left before we needed to catch our flight. We decided to head over to another part of the city which had lots of new, modern buildings. Lots of offices too. Here, we also found the European Union building. Wasn’t as impressive as I had imagined though, and there was a ton of construction going on all around.

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We also went to the Parc du Cinquantenaire, which translates to the Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary. This is in the European Quarter of Brussels, and basically next to the EU building. It features the triumphal arc, that I swear almost every city in Europe has! It commemorates the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence. What I thought was impressive was the horseshoe shaped arcade they also hard. Seems like a nice park to walk around on a nice sunny day. I think there’s also a museum here. This area definitely gives you a different feeling compared to the rest of the city. A much more modernized and business-like area.

And that concluded my trip to Brussels! We stayed for 2 nights and 3 days, which we found more than enough. There wasn’t too much to see in terms of tourist spots. It was more of a food trip for us and it was nice to travel with just another friend who shared the same interests. Always great to have someone who will splurge on food with you! Tip: Book early to avoid high prices. Also, we found Brussels quite touristy, so don’t fall into tourist traps. Do your research on food and restaurants, so you can truly enjoy the local experience. We also found locals to be quite friendly here and the city is relatively safe.

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Maison Antoine – Brussels

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Some claim that Maison Antoine has the best fries in Belgium and the world, but of course this is all based on personal taste. They have been voted as one of the best and have been all over the media. The fritterie is now operated by its fourth generation so it’s been around for a long time! After C and I took a quick walk to the EU building and the arc, we headed over to grab some lunch here. Yup, we eat fries for lunch. But apparently, a bunch of other people do too! We got there at around maybe 11:15 and there was already a small line up! We quickly lined up too, and later found out they open at 11:30 am. Wow, people actually line up for this place! It was a mix of locals and tourists, and there were several local families as well. The kids were so excited to get their fries! The gates rolled up, and the line began to move quickly on two sides.

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They have an extensive menu! Apparently, when they first started, they only had fries and two sauces though! Now, they have their fries in two sizes, and a whole menu of sauces! The Tartare Maison (House Tartar) still seems to be the most popular. Other than that, they also have a huge menu of snacks and even sandwiches. What surprised me was that many people also ordered items other than the fries. Shows that the rest of their food is also pretty good! However, I can say that pretty much everyone left with some fries!

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When in Belgium, get the Belgian fries. So of course we did. Since it was only ,30 euros more to get a large size and we were sharing, we got the large. It was huge though! We probably would’ve been fine just getting the small. Belgian fries are extremely popular because they are thought to have originated from Belgium, although some say that the French did, hence the name French fries. Belgian fries are cut a bit thicker than French fries though, as French fries are known to be skinny. They are also deep fried twice, therefore it’s soft in the middle and very crispy on the outside. I loved how they continued the tradition to serve the fries in a “cornet de frites” where your fries are wrapped in cone shaped paper. And you get the small plastic forks so you don’t need to get your fingers all dirty. Were the fries good? Yup. Were they amazing? I don’t know if I would say they were amazing. After a while, we both agreed we were sort of sick of the fries and they weren’t that special.

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Oh and of course, we got the sauces. These are for additional costs, and we decided to try two. We got the Maison Tartare and I think the one in the back was the Chili (since we asked the lady which spicy sauce was recommended). The Maison Tartare was our favourite. The Chili was just okay, and it wasn’t even really spicy. Belgian fries always seem to be eaten with some type of sauce. The most popular ones are actually mayonnaise and ketchup. However, today, friteries have come up with a variety of sauces.

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Since we lined up, we also decided to try some of their snacks. We got the Lucifer and the Loempia. The Loempia, which is pictured as the darker brown one was sort of like a sausage roll. Loempias are really spring rolls, so it was a thin outer layer deep fried with some meat inside. It was just alright and nothing too special. The Lucifer was what we liked! It seemed like a new product and they had some advertisements on the windows of it. We weren’t exactly what a Lucifer was but it looked like a matchstick! I did a quick search and still, I’m not sure what it is. It seems like a name that Maison Antoine has just come up with since Lucifers in Belgium usually refer to the beer. Anyways, it’s this crispy coating around some meat like thing, and on the red part, it’s this spicy sort of sauce that is kind of dried up. Not very descriptive I know, but just think of it as some spicy deep fried meat! Pretty good!

Anyways, Maison Antoine was a nice shop to grab a snack, although it ended up being our lunch. The fries are pretty good, but I wouldn’t metro all the way here just for the fries if I wasn’t going to tour around this area as well. I hear there are also great friteries elsewhere in the city, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to tell much of a difference. Still, the line up here was constant and longer once it got later in the day. Good thing we came a little earlier!

Le Fin de Siรจcle – Brussels

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Le Fin de Siecle was rated as one of the top Belgian restaurants for locals, so C and I decided to go here for our last dinner. It’s tucked away in the streets and the restaurant’s name is barely noticeable in the dark. It took us a while to find it and we even walked by it a few times before we saw the small font at the bottom of the window. The inside was quite packed, but it was still early and we were able to find a seat. It’s a very chill restaurant, almost like a pub. Wooden furniture and very cozy. Their menu is written on the chalkboard everyday, and it was all in French. Yea, my high school level French clearly did not help, and we had to ask one of the workers, who seemed like the owner to help us out. He was very busy, but still came back a few minutes later and went down the whole list to explain to us. Very friendly!

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Complimentary Bread

I wasn’t expecting complimentary bread here since it looked more like a pub, but they still offered it. However, the bread wasn’t that good. It wasn’t warmed up and not fluffy.

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Grilled Steak

I chose the Grilled Steak, since the other options didn’t seem to appealing to me at the time. I hadn’t had steak in a long time, and this was a good meaty meal. The steak was cooked to medium rare with the inside still pink. Perfect! Topped with a slice of butter and some light seasoning, it was juicy and tender. It came with a side of salad and the leaves were all fresh and crisp. It also came with a baked potato, but I wished it was seasoned a little more. Some good comfort food though!

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Beef Carbonade with Mashed Potatoes

C chose the Beef Carbonade with Mashed Potatoes, which is also a favourite at Le Find de Siecle. A carbonade is a typical Belgian dish, which is essentially a beef stew made with beer. I believe they said these were beef cheeks. The meat was so soft and tender! And the sauce was delicious! Very hearty and was perfect to mix with the mashed potatoes. It also came with an artichoke and some broccoli.

Overall, I can see why this restaurant is so popular. It had a large variety of Belgian comfort foods, which I believe they change up daily. Most people dining there were locals. Prices were a little more expensive for students on a budget, but quite reasonable for the amount of food you get. What’s interesting about this restaurant is that you have a chance of sharing a table with other diners too since they do have communal seating arrangements if you are dining with a small group. A very casual environment with good food.

Pierre Marcolini – Brussels

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I love to eat chocolate, but to say that I’m anything close to understanding chocolate is definitely an overstatement. So while we were in Brussels, chocolate was literally everywhere! Belgian chocolate is so well known, but honestly, I can’t say I could tell the different brands apart. They all tasted pretty good! Like for instance, Godiva was everywhere, and very accessible in Canada, and personally, I think Godiva is pretty good chocolate. And when I compare it to some other Belgian brands like Leonidas, I honestly can’t say that one is way better than the other. Since these two Belgian brands are easily accessible in Canada, C and I were looking for chocolate brands that we weren’t able to find back at home. Pierre Marcolini was one of them. Pierre Marcolini opened his first store in 1995, and since then it has stores in major cities like Paris, New York, London, and Tokyo. We had walked by this store the previous day, but we forgot where it was. We were desperate to get some hot chocolate here, and ended up walking in the rain for probably 30 minutes, but it was well worth it!

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Each hot chocolate comes with a speculoo. We found that speculoos are very popular in Belgium. They are a shortcrust biscuit that is spiced, usually with pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg. We found that it was very similar to a gingerbread. I believe they were offering this because it’s a tradition to eat these biscuits before St. Nicholas’ feast. Their Santa is called St. Nicholas, and he looks a bit different!

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And this was the hot chocolate. Unlike the hot chocolate in Barcelona where it’s basically melted chocolate, this was something I was much more used to. The chocolate was very rich and strong though. I think it was also lightly seasoned with nutmeg. Very smooth as well.

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After, C bought a cake to try. Their cakes are beautiful but definitely quite pricey! This one had a hazelnut filling with layers of crispy wafers inside. The filling was smooth and rich in flavour. A good splurge if you want some visually beautiful and tasty cake! I probably should’ve have spoiled myself on a piece of their chocolates since I hear they are one of the best in the city!

Chez Leon – Brussels

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After a disastrous night at Le Saint-Laurent, we were determined to have some real good Belgian mussels. C did some searching and we settled for Chez Leon. She’s been here when she was in Paris before and said it was really good. Although the mussels are a little pricier, they are definitely worth it, and I would suggest everyone visiting Brussels, to check this place out! Don’t cheap out like we did, and have a terrible meal. I believe this is their first restaurant in Brussels, and now they have expanded to Paris and also the UK soon. The funny thing is that Chez Leon is also on Rue des Bouchers, which I call the tourist trap. I guess they are the only exception, although you find a bunch of tourists here too. But a good sign is seeing plenty of locals as well!

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You can tell that the restaurant has years of history. The restaurant is actually huge with two levels, but everything still looks very traditional. Almost diner like. Wooden furniture and neon signs and all.

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We went for the Mussels Set, which included a portion of Special Mussels, French Fries, and a Maes Beer. This whole meal cost 14, 60 euros. A little more expensive, but worth it! First, we got some complimentary bread. Very soft and fresh! And it was great for dipping in the soup.

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Maes Beer

The set menu came with a Maes Beer, which is a Belgian pilsner brewed by Alken-Maes. I liked this as it was rather light. It’s supposed to be quite a popular pilsner in Belgium.

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Moules et Frites

And here were the Mussels and Fries! I absolutely loved this! We didn’t get to choose the sauce since it was part of the set menu, so it came with a basic celery broth, like most Belgian moules et frites. I would’ve preferred a white win sauce since I don’t really like celery, but I found this pretty good. The mussels were medium size and plump. Extremely fresh! The fries were also great as they weren’t too oily. They didn’t seem like frozen store bought fries.

If you want a variety of different flavours for the moules et frites, you won’t be disappointed at Chez Leon since they have a huge menu. They also have a bunch of other seafood and non-seafood dishes, so there’s something for everyone! Prices are average, and I would say they are quite reasonable for the quality of food you get. The restaurant was quite busy, so it was a bit difficult to get the attention of our server, but it still wasn’t a major problem. Satisfied!

Le Saint-Laurent Restaurant – Brussels

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Before I start going into details, I’d just like to warn everyone to stay away from Le Saint-Laurent Restaurant in Brussels because it’s absolutely the worst restaurant I’ve ever been to. If you read my posts, you see that I don’t normally criticize restaurants to the point where I think the food is nasty, but the food here was just that. Anyways, C and I were wandering the streets of Brussels and went into this street filled with restaurants. It was only around 5:30pm, so most of them were empty. I believe this street is called Rue de Bouchers, and I would advise anyone looking for food to avoid this street. It’s a tourist trap and we fell right in! Basically while we were walking down the street, these guys would stand by the door trying to sell you their menu. Almost every restaurant had something called a tourist menu for around 12 euros. In Barcelona, this is very common and the food is actually good too, so we didn’t think much about it. It was very early for dinner, so we said we would come back and the guy would give us a business card. By the time we finished the street, C had a pile of business cards in her hand..Like seriously, is that how they advertise now? Anyways, at around 6:30, we went back to the street since we thought they had the most choices of food. True, but also the worst. We ended up going to Le Saint-Laurent because the guy had seemed to be quite friendly… That’s what we thought. Anyways, he lured us again and said we would get a complimentary drink on him as well. We entered, and found maybe two other tables with diners, that clearly looked like tourists. The interior is really fancy looking and has a fireplace and all. It’s got the looks for sure. Our server wasn’t extremely friendly and when we told him we would just have two of the set menus, with nothing else, he seemed pissed off. For our complimentary drink, we got a Rose-like bubbly. Not sure exactly what it was, but it was decent. Maybe the best part of our meal…

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Then, we got some bread. At least this was complimentary for us… I read online afterwards that many diners had terrible experiences with their bill becoming a ridiculous amount with hidden fees. The bread was of course not fresh, but whatever, it was bread. At least it tasted better than the rest.

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Grilled Prawns

For our appetizer, we both chose the Grilled Prawns. I forgot what the other choices were, but this sounded the most appealing. Ya, these were kind of gross…? We had imagined prawns without their shells and curled up after grilling in a nice garlic sauce. I believe it said it would be in a garlic butter sauce. Definitely not a garlic butter sauce because it was just butter and olive oil. Like LOTS of oil. Around 5 prawns still in their shells drenched in olive oil. The oil wasn’t even seasoned…Okay, fine, we can excuse the “dressing”, but then came the actual prawns. They were mushy and had no bouncy texture like normal prawns. I mean, it was worse than eating frozen prawns. I can’t think of the antonym for “fresh”, but this was definitely NOT fresh. Rotten? I don’t know, but you get my point. In Canada, I would’ve sent this straight back to the kitchen, but in Europe, I was afraid since I had no idea what my dish would have gone through after…

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Mussels in Celery Soup

Okay, so in Brussels, Moules et Frites, or Mussels and Fries, are a very common dish because it’s pretty much the national dish of Belgium. They get most of their mussels from the North Sea, so mussels are always plentiful and attract tourists. So of course, for our entree, we went for the Moules et Frites. When we saw it, it looked pretty good and we were praying that this would be better. WRONG. I’ve seriously never had such bad mussels in my life… Normally in Vancouver, the mussels my mom buys are frozen from Australia, since we don’t have access to as many fresh mussels, but I’ve never had such terrible mussels. I don’t even know what to say. Were the mussels dead and rotten or something? They were mushy… I’ve had mussels that melt in my mouth, which are amazing, but not like this. They were clearly old and dead mussels. I couldn’t stop complaining during the whole dinner. I almost felt sorry for myself, having to eat this and rather have gone to grab fast food. If you gave me this for free, I still probably wouldn’t have ate it. Perhaps the only better thing was the broth, which was a vegetable stock with a bit of celery and onions. It was really just water and celery and onions though I think. But at least, I was okay dipping my bread in this.

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Fries

And then there was the side of Fries. At least these were crispy. This was what I completely finished. But honestly, how hard is it to make edible fries? They were probably store bought anyways…

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Ice Cream

Then came dessert. When the guy had lured us in, we had told him we didn’t like the desserts that were on their set menu. He was so sly and said Oh, then what do you want? Anything you want, we can give you. Yea right. Why did we even believe him. Anyways, I think we said we wanted Belgian waffles since many other restaurants on the street offered that on their set menu. He said yea, we can get you that, and that basically made us settle for the restaurant. However, when we asked our server, he just said No. He said they didn’t have any and was like no you just need to choose from the menu. Like WHAT? Such lies. We looked pissed off and later he came back and he said, “Okay, how about ice cream?” Since the other items were unappealing, we went for it. Wow this ice cream was pretty gross. It was like chocolate mousse getting sprayed out of a can or something? Then with two more sprays of whipped cream on the side. Kind of gross, but whatever, we weren’t even hungry after such a gross meal.

So to conclude, all I can say is STAY AWAY from Le Saint-Laurent. Basically this whole street actually. We found that barely anyone was eating in these restaurants other than tourists who were desperately looking for food. But seriously, this meal disappointed us so much. I think I can say it’s the worst meal I’ve ever had in my life out at a restaurant. Luckily, C and I had another night in Brussels, and we would finally have some good mussels! Stay tuned!

Aksum Coffee House – Brussels

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C and I had done some sightseeing and since it was a rainy day, we wanted to take a rest and looked for a coffee shop. Aksum Coffee House was rated as the top coffee house in Brussels on Tripadvisor, so off we went. It’s a little hidden since their company name isn’t in vivid colours. A tiny mint green shop owned by an Ethiopian man.

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The inside is filled with vintage coffee machines and African artwork on the walls. There’s only a few seats but when we were there on a weekday, there weren’t that many people. Their menu is also very limited, with some cakes from a local bakery as well.

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For myself, I got the Hot Chocolate, since I’m not a big fan of coffee. When it arrived, I was surprised by the way it looked. It was very frothy at the top, and you could see glimpse of chocolate at the bottom. I mixed it up, and it became a light brown colour. Taking a sip from it, it didn’t really taste like typical hot chocolates. It was frothy, and the chocolate taste wasn’t too strong. There was a nutmeg flavour to it as well. The drink was a bit pricey, but apparently they use high quality ingredients.

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C got a coffee drink. I don’t remember what it’s called, but it had a special name and the owner recommended it. However, he warned her that it might be a little bitter. There was a shot of espresso in it, which made it strong. She didn’t really like it because it was so bitter, but I believe true espresso lovers will enjoy this drink.

All in all, I wasn’t too impressed with their drinks. It might just be me, since I’m not a coffee expert, and don’t know much about coffee. Still, I find the drinks to be quite pricey.

Noordzee Mer du Nord – Brussels

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Following a week of school, which was also my last week of school, the weekend came and off I was to another country again! C, a foodie from Hong Kong and I had planned this trip around a month ago. We found flights for 30 euros round trip from Barcelona to Brussels and we couldn’t say no! Belgian waffles, chocolate, fries, beer, mussels… yup no foodie would say no to such a cheap flight! Obviously, it wasn’t a fancy flight with Ryanair, but we’re pretty much used to those early morning, pass out on the plane flights. When we arrived at the airport, which I believe isn’t their international one, we had to take a bus to the city center. Then once there, we took a metro and arrived at our guesthouse which I’ll talk about more in later posts. We dropped off our backpacks and off we went to explore the city. It was a shame that it was raining in Brussels most of the time we were there, but at least it wasn’t pouring rain. We walked by Noordzee Mer du Nord and C pointed out that she had read it was a must visit! With crowds eating there even in the rain, we knew it must’ve been good! The place has no seats, but only a long bar table along the kitchen, or some stand up tables pitched with tents to cover you from rain. No seats though.

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Their kitchen is open, so you can watch them prepare the food.

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Fish Soup

The famous item that we saw everyone getting was the Fish Soup. This was absolutely delicious since it was a chilly, rainy day and something hot was perfect! However, we did find that the soup was more like a vegetable minestrone soup. There were fish pieces inside, but the vegetable soup was so strong that it covered any fish flavour. The best part was the side of bread that had some sort of mayo and cheese on top. We asked the man how to eat this, and he said do whatever you want! He said he usually threw the whole piece in, so we did too! That was awesome because the cheese would melt right away in the soup, and the mayo gave the soup some creaminess. So good! Another two slices of just plain bread was also complimentary for each soup. A must try!

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Grilled Scallops

We also decided to get another dish and chose the Grilled Scallops. Mer du Nord’s menu is basically all seafood since they are known for their fresh fish and seafood. We decided to go for the Grilled Scallops, which are by piece and quite pricey. Sadly, we were a bit disappointed in them. Not that they weren’t fresh or grilled perfectly, but that the flavour of the sauce wasn’t too appealing for us. It was more of a onion based sauce, and we had imagine something like a white wine or garlic sauce. Something was a little odd about the sauce, or we just weren’t too accustomed to this type of flavour. Nevertheless, the scallops were extremely fresh and cooked well.

Overall, Mer du Nord is definitely worth checking out when in Brussels. It’s sort of like a quick place to grab a bite without having to sit down. The food is fresh and of good quality, although I find that the prices are a little pricey. However, other than tourists, you find many locals here. They come here for a glass of wine with their fish soup and select a variety of other seafood dishes. Everything looked delicious!