I’m a weird guy, so when I tell people I enjoy eating foods named for destinations most people don’t even bat an eye. Sometimes the food is great, sometimes it’s not, but one of my favorite eponymous culinary delights is the Belgian waffle.
Before my first trip to Belgium I thought that surely this was an American creation, there’s no way waffles are that popular in Belgium. And I was horribly, horribly wrong. Waffles aren’t just found in Belgium, they’re everywhere. Granted this is probably in part due to the tourist trade, but it’s also a part of the Belgian culinary culture. There are many variations of this doughy treat, but two kinds in particular are found throughout the country.
The Brussels waffle is most similar to what we enjoy here in the U.S. It’s a light, deceptively so, dough cooked into a rectangular shape featuring large pockets. My favorite though was the Liège waffle, something I had never even heard of before my trip to Belgium. What makes the Liège version different is that it’s richer, denser and sweeter than the Brussels variety. It’s also in a less uniform shape and when topped with Nutella makes for a delicious snack or dessert.
Waffles are found everywhere from food trucks to sit down restaurants, but one of my favorite places to enjoy waffles is at the Etablissement Max in Ghent. Located near St. Bavo Cathedral, the brasserie-style restaurant is a delicious and traditional take on this tasty snack, dessert or even meal.