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02 of 10

Beef Stew

10 Classic Belgian Dishes (and Where to Try Them)

Getty Images/Philippe Desnerck

The well-known and hearty winter dish of carbonade Flamande or Vlaamse stoverij/stoofvlees was, according to the Belgians, invented by them. The French of course claim that the French equivalent of boeuf Bourguignon was the original. Originally a farmer’s dish from north Europe, ideal for keeping the cold at bay, it’s a rich deeply satisfying plate of caramelized onions and slow-cooked beef. The French use red wine, but in Belgium, the dish is cooked using Belgian beer, particularly Oud Bruin (Old Brown, or Flanders Brown). The beer's secondary fermentation adds a slightly sour flavor and perfectly counteracts the sweetness of the onions. Bread covered in mustard is added and the dish is served with mashed potatoes or ​frites.

Nearly every Belgian restaurant will have this on their menu, and it’s particularly popular in traditional brasseries. In Brussels go for Le Fin de Siècle at 9 rue des Chartreux where the old wooden floors, tables, and chairs take you back to 19th-century living.