Thursday, November 9, 2017

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to Brussels (布鲁塞尔), Belgium (比利时) 2017.

Brussels is known as the "capital of Europe" due to its status as the administrative capital of the European Union. The city is not big in size but huge in its offering. It is also a melting pot for culture from all walks of life within the European zone. For travelers, Brussels is often a great pit stop for a short stay before continuing the journey to other European countries. It's fun to explore the modern, hip side of the city yet admiring the beauty of the Gothic buildings in the heart of Brussels. Due to its strategic location between Netherlands and France, both Dutch and French are widely spoken in Belgium. The official currency if of course, Euros. 

In our recent trip to Europe, we had a brief stop at Brussels. The city left us with a deep impression that it is an old city with soaring cathedrals, guild houses and countless of historical sites to visit but if you are not a history buff, proceed straight to its culinary offering. Food aside, the city somehow gave us an impression that it is unsafe, with military soldiers wandering around, beggars asking for money and unfriendly people (not as clean as we would have expected too).

Public Transport: The Metro system links to most places in the city and it is probably the most convenient and cheapest mode of travel. We recommend using the JUMP 10 Journeys ticket, buy 10 journeys in one go for €14, more information can be found here.

Grand Place/ Grote Markt
Address: 1000, Brussels, Belgium
Business Hours: 8 am to 8 pm. Opens Daily.
Metro: Centrale/ Bourse/ De Brouckere 

Probably the most important landmark of Brussels, most buildings at the Grand Place were constructed in the 17th century and holds some of the most important buildings to the city (eg: Town Hall). There are many shops and eateries nearby, it is almost impossible to miss this place if you are visiting Brussels. Foodies will be glad to know the 3 signature Belgian food can be found here- Waffles, Chocolates and Beers. 

Streets nearby the Grand Place/ Grote Markt

Manneken Pis
Address: Grand Place, 1000, Brussels, Belgium
Metro: Centrale/ Bourse/ De Brouckere 

Manneken Pis

Another famous landmark of Brussels would be the Manneken Pis, a peeing boy statue at one corner of the Grand Place. The statue was put in place in the 16th century and is said to be one of the oldest citizens of Brussels. There are many interesting stories of the peeing boy, if keen, you may read them here. To be frank, there is nothing to shout about, it is merely a fountain with a statue at one corner of a busy street crowded with curious tourists. No harm to drop by if you are in the vicinity though.

Maison Dandoy
Address: Rue Charles Buls 14/18, 1000, Brussels, Belgium
Business Hours: 10 am to 7 pm. Closed on Sundays.
Contact Number: +02/ 512.65.88
Metro: Centrale/ Bourse/ De Brouckere 

Original Liege Waffle (€ 2.70)

Chocolate Belgian Waffle with Ice Cream (€ 5.85)

Let's make it clear... you have not visited Belgium if you have not eaten Belgian Waffles and the delicacy is basically ubiquitous and can be found anywhere in the city center (particularly those alleys/ streets near the Grand Place/ Grote Markt). We went straight to Maison Dandoy, one of the oldest Waffle joints in Brussels. Established in 1829, the Waffle specialist has been churning out freshly made Waffles daily and has been constantly drawing good crowd. Apart from the Waffles, there are Cookies and Chocolates on sale as well. We had both Liege and Belgian Waffle but found out that the former one had a chewier-doughy texture while the latter option was lighter and crispier. Both were delicious in their own way. It is noteworthy that Maison Dandoy's Waffles are significantly more expensive than those roadside stalls.

Randon Roadside Waffle Joints

For quality checking, we had another Waffle from the nearby stall and found that the quality was indifferent, if not better. While those displayed in front of the glass doors with generous toppings may seem attractive, a Waffle with no toppings tastes just as great; for a roadside stall, you can get an original version (without topping) at €1. 

La Esquina De Oro
Address: Rue de la Fourche, 33-35, 1000, Brussels, Belgium.
Business Hours: Lunch & Dinner
Contact Number: +02/503.26.22

Cold Seafood Platter (€45/ Large)

Seafood Paella (€45 per pax/ this portion serves 2)

Leffe Belgian Beer (€6)

While there are a lot of eateries near the Grand Place, with one particular street filled with restaurants and pushy waiters trying to offer you free drinks if you dine in their restaurant... be extra careful. One waiter politely invited us in his restaurant and showed us his menu, so we thought it would be nice for us to dine in (since we were searching for a dinner place); little did we know that we were starting to fall into a tourist trap. We ordered a Seafood Platter in which, the menu did not indicate the serving portion, same goes for the Seafood Paella. The waiter maxed out the serving portion for us and the amount came to €135 for just 3 of us! Fortunately, they did not *quite* skimp on ingredients. Though we did not think the Seafood was fresh, the meal was of satisfactory. The Seafood Paella was below par but for a chilly evening, a simple serving of hot food warmed our souls. Our advice... almost check the prices and serving portion, avoid touristy areas if possible.

Noordzee Mer du Nord
Address: Rue Sainte-Catherine, 45, 1000, Brussels, Belgium.
Business Hours: 11 am to 6 pm. Closed on Mondays. *market starts at 8 am/ kitchen starts at 11 am*
Metro: Sainte-Catherine *go out from the Metro station and you will find Sainte-Catherine Church right in front of you, walk pass the church on the right side and you will find Noordzee Mer du Nord on your left*

Seafood plays an important role in Belgian cuisine so if you are planning to have some, skip those tourist traps near the Grand Place and proceed straight to Noordzee Mer du Nord, a famous roadside stall for seafood right next to Sainte-Catherine Church. But it does not provide seating facilities and diners are to purchase the food as takeaways and feast at the standing tables right in front of the place. Prices are typically more affordable than restaurants, expect to pay €5 to €7 for a dish. Unfortunately, we did not get to try the food out as the kitchen opens at 11 am and we were mistakenly thought it opens at 8 am (the market opens at 8 am though). 

Saint-Catherine Church

Have Fun Exploring Brussels! 


  1. Paella looks good! No Brussel sprouts? :D

  2. Wow those waffles topped with cream and fruits make my eye blinking!