Brussels supposedly has more restaurants per capita than any other European city. It would take years, maybe a lifetime, to sample them all, but there are two culinary events taking place in the coming days that can help give you a head start.
First up is EAT! Brussels, a new festival dedicated to Brussels restaurants. I went yesterday evening for the opening night along with fellow bloggers Jess from JessinBelgium and Maxcie from WhyIamNotSkinny and we had a great time. The organizers have done a wonderful job with a sophisticated set up of white covered food stalls and bars tucked in between the trees in Bois de la Cambre. Everything is bright pink and green, including the tokens for food and the carpets lining the walkways.
From now through Sunday, 16 September, more than 30 restaurateurs from across Brussels are offering up samples of some of their best dishes at the event. Looking at the map I spotted a few well-known places, some I’ve never heard of and others that I’ve been wanting to try. The city of Brussels is also using the festival to promote cuisine from partner cities and regions around the world, including Québec, Sichuan, Katanga, Budapest, Beijing, Kiev and Sofia.
The three of us scoped out the choices, and with a glass of champagne in hand, I went for beef teriyaki from YuMe, foie gras from the Budapest stand and nems from Hirondelle d’Or. The food from YuMe was particularly tasty, and very nicely presented. I also had a chance to sample a bite of the spare ribs from the Sichuan stand that were gooey and delicious.
Access to the event is free of charge and you can choose how much to spend on different dishes. We pre-purchased tickets online for €35, which included 3 €10 tokens (pink ones) and tickets for two glasses of Laurent-Perrier. You can also purchase tokens on-site for €1 each (green ones). The dishes range from €6 to €12, and three was enough for a meal.
If you don’t make it to the Bois this weekend, then be sure not to miss Goûter Bruxelles (Taste Brussels) taking place from 17 to 23 September.
Organized by the Belgian Slow Food movement, the week-long festival will bring together chefs, independent food and drink producers, local shops and gardeners. You can go for a meal at one of the 70 participating restaurants that will offer one or more courses, products, menus or drinks with the Slow Food stamp ‘good, clean and fair’. There are also opportunities to join an educational food walk or attend a free organic gardening lesson.
The restaurants and amazing food choices in Brussels are truly one of the best things about this city so get out and enjoy a taste! Happy eating :)