Whilst reading the wikitravel entry on Brussels, they advised us to try a couple of things in Belgium: mussels, fries, waffles and of course chocolate. Well being tourists, we tried all of them!
Chocolate was the easiest. There were chocolatiers EVERYWHERE. They were like the cell phone stores in Canada, and every single one of them had some cute Easter display in their storefront.
I’m not a connoisseur of chocolate but high quality chocolate is much more accessible in Belgium. And the best part is if you browse around the stores, you will get lots of free samples!!
Waffles were also quite easy (and cheaper) to acquire. They were like the crepes in France, and good if you needed something to fill your stomach (or a Nutella infusion). But surprisingly, we had quite a difficulty with the fries. In the Netherlands, we saw many stores selling fries on the street, but Holland wasn’t known for the fries so we waited until Belgium. Except when we got to Brussels we couldn’t find any place selling frites! We walked around for an hour or so around the Grote Markt before finding a store. In Belgium (and Holland) you had to pay extra for the condiments. Even ketchup. We paid for mayonnaise even though I am not a fan of it but because that’s how people in Belgium traditionally eat them. The mayonnaise wasn’t that bad, but I don’t think the fries were that special.
The last specialty were the Belgian Mussels. I think a lot of places expect that tourists would come and try it and so the prices that we saw were exorbitant (€20 for mussels with a side of fries at your generic restaurant). In the end, we found a small fish bar beside a market in Brugge which were a bit cheaper.
I think they were good, but now I don’t really remember how they tasted. We did get a lot though so it was worth the money, although like most seafood nowadays I don’t know if it can be a local specialty anymore. I believe the mussels we had came in from Normandy, but it sounds like a lot of them come all the way from New Zealand!