For most people, eating out is an important part of their holidays or their social life. It’s the perfect way to soak up a city’s vibe, to share a nice moment with others, to relax a little. Of course, there are lots of different ways when it comes to eating out. You can make things as luxurious or as casual as you want. Maybe you just go to a bar and enjoy some of their snacks, maybe you go all out and enjoy a gourmet dinner, maybe you choose the family-proof option. Or maybe you want to just ‘grab a bite’, while still providing your taste buds with the kind of quality they deserve.
If the latter’s the case for you, street food is the way to go. As the name suggests, the trend once started in the streets, with small shops providing locals with a quick bite to eat. Whether you’re in Asia, Europe or America, those kind of places exist all over the world. Yet at one point, we started to realize this kind of food actually deserved way more attention than it did get. Cooking enthusiasts started to experiment with classic recipes, food critics enjoyed themselves and modern street food was born. Yet of course, “street food” is a very broad principle and there are all kinds of different styles to be discovered.
If you happen to live in Brussels or visit the city, you may want to take advantage of that opportunity as Belgium’s capital has a lot of street food shops on offer. Lots of them are quite new so that’s why we decided to make you a short yet yummy must-try list. And don’t worry, there’s something for everyone out there. Get ready to fill your tummy!
1. Mine Madeh
In Brussels, Georges Baghdi Sar is a bit of an institution. The chef’s origins lay in Armenia and Libanon, yet it’s Brussels getting the honor of welcoming his creations. Before Mine Madeh, he already founded C’Chiccounou and My Tannour – also worth visiting. Yet as far as street food goes, you want to head over to Mine Madeh in Etterbeek. Madeh actually refers to the minced meat of lamb and beef, prepared in an oven in a very large dish, which goes inside a fresh piece of bread, accompanied by roasted vegetables. The Syrian preparation is what this street food restaurant is all about. The bread’s perfectly toasted, the meat juicy as hell and the whole dish is just a pleasure to eat. And that for just 8 euros. By the way, there’s also a halloumi-based veggie option available.
With this one, we’re kind of cheating but then again, who cares? Wolf’s not actually a restaurant yet a food hall where you can choose between a wide range of options. There’s pizza, spring rolls, sushi, burgers… Not to speak of the micro-brewery, perfect to accompany your food with a delicious drink. We especially like this place for going out to eat with a bigger group of people as there’s something to everyone’s taste, making deciding on where to go much easier. Oh and it’s located right in the city center.
When thinking of Italian street food, pizza is about the first thing that comes to mind. For most people, that’s it, really. Yet Ugo and Francesco, known as the men behind restaurant Racines, want you to discover the real deal. On the menu, there are exactly four delicious option for you to choose from: pizza fritta, schiacciate, bomba fritta and panzerotto. That’s it. All dishes are made with a slow food mentality – contrary to what you may be used to with street food – and are prepared with local, organic food where possible. Don’t forget to order a glass of wine, taking your street food experience to the next level.
4. Le Cocq
Another well-known name within the Brussels bar scene is Frédéric Nicolay, the man behind – amongst others – Bar du Matin and Belga. His newest creation, Le Cocq, is located in the heart of Ixelles and which has its own friterie. There, you can order a bag of fries straight from the street, eventually accompanied by some shrimp croquettes or a cocktail. Inside the actual restaurant, there’s also the possibility to order burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and even breakfast. Belgian street food at its best!
Talking of burgers, we couldn’t possibly not mention Bikette. The concept is so simple it hurts yet that’s what makes it so genius. There’s just one single burger on the menu, yet the cheese choice is left up to you: Cheddar, blue, fresh goat cheese, Maroilles, Tomme or Reblochon. The Angus beef comes straight from Ireland and the bun’s soft and crispy at the same time. Even the fries are worth your while, which, even in Belgium, is not always a given at burger joints. To finish it all off, Léa serves your burger on a vintage plate, which are carefully selected at the flea market by her mother. A truly fascinating spot.