My latest post four days ago was about Belgian chocolate and waffle. Still about Belgian food specialties, today I will share about beer and fries – other popular specialties from Belgium (in addition to chocolate and waffle).
My husband and I are not beer’s fans, but it’s always interesting to sample popular drink including beer and wine from each country that we visit. Yes, we do drink beer sometimes, mostly for socializing (i.e party especially in summer). Stella Artois, the Belgium beer’s brand that we often stock in our fridge for our guests or for ourselves sometimes.
Among so many chocolate shops in the Grand Palace area, there were also couple of shops selling beers and we went to 250 beers Belgium beer shop. They sells lots of beers with various types of colors, brands, prices and different level of alcohol content.
All the beers, are served in bottle, none in can as normally available in supermarkets. The shop also sells variety of beer’s mug and glass with different size and shape, which believed will enhance the flavor of the beer because each shape is designed for specific type of beer.
Overwhelmed with those beers, we asked help from the shop keeper to give us any recommendation of locals’ favorite? or signature product from this shop ?
Back to the hotel with a big bottle of beer, it was a bit hard to describe the taste of a beer that we sampled :). For us it’s just like ordinary beer 🙂 with warm finish after because it contains alcohol almost 10%. It’s too good or too bad, but we seems like not having a good word/vocabulary to describe it. Sorry guys, sound silly huh?! Well, maybe I should learned more, which mean I should drink more and more often hahaha.
Chocolate is done, Waffle is done, and beer is done, so the last one is fries. Had seen lots of people munching away with a cone of fried potatoes in one hand and finger coated with sauce in the other one, attracted me to join the queue to buy some of the Belgium style fries. The fries’ street vendor is always full with customers. It’s not only in Brussels, but this also happened in Netherlands where they call it Frites or Patat
After I got mine, I will agree with people who said that “It’s so good. (So it worth it if you have to queue and don’t worry it’s moving fast). They cooked perfectly, great crispy outside but soft inside, not salty either oily. Served hot in the paper come with sauce on top and you can choose what kind of sauce you like – usually they have five to dozen sauce options. You could eat it with small fork but with your finger is even yummier 🙂
If this Belgium style fries is delicious so why people worldwide more familiar with French fries? If you want to know more about this, you can visit the Fries Museum in Brugge, Belgium, oh no just kidding. You can read in either in Wikipedia or here
As we bought this delicious fries 3-4 times ( including when we were in Netherlands and I think it would not be crime as we did a lot of exercise walking around the city ), so from my observation, they always re- fried the potatoes before it’s served. Yes, re-fried means they did not fry the raw potato but they fry the fried potato which I called it two stage frying method. Fyi, I am Indonesian, I used to with fried food as lots of Indonesia foods used fried method. From my experience, two stage frying method will make the food more crispy. The first stage of frying will make the food half cooked or even well done, but the second one or the second stage will make the outside of the food more crispy or crunchy.
If you have deep fryer (machine) at home, that would be easier because it has temperature setting and timer. But if not, it would be a challenge to make restaurant quality of fried potatoes (or fried chicken), like what I did at home with ordinary pan/fry-pan, cooking thermometer and timer (but yay, did it !!).
The type of the potato and the oil also affect the quality of the fries. If you use ordinary vegetable oil usually it will result in oily or soggy fried potato, hence restaurant usually use frying fat or shortening.
So that delicious fries is made from potato, fat from shortening, mayo and/or not “real” tomato from the ketchup, all sound not good for your body huh ?! but as tourist 2-3 times only will not harm you right? Then, enjoy your fries !!
Next week I’ll be back with tested homemade Belgium fries recipe complete with tips and trick from my kitchen, so I (or you) don’t have to go to Belgium to have a delicious fries. Stay tuned!