Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ce vrai? / echt waar?

A couple of you comment on how much you would like to hear more about things that are particular to Belgium and life in Belgium. So I thought I would try to do a weekly post called: Ce vrai? / echt waar? Which basically just means: is it really true?

I was sure that it would be easy since there are so many things that you have to get used to but the thing is you get used to things and after a while you don’t notice them any more.

After spending some time thinking about it and asking my friends if they could think of anything,   I think I’ve come up with quite a list.

So here is the first ... of what I hope to be some interesting reading about life in Belgium.

Since this is what we ate last night I thought I would start off by telling you about the Belgian phenomenon that is fries.

Frites / Friets

Belgians take their fries seriously. More so than any other country does, you may ask? Well yes, and I can prove it:

  • on average, each Belgian consumes about 75 Kg/ 165 lbs of fries. This is a third more than the average American
  • there are more than 5000 'fry' shops in Belgium

Fries are also eaten as a meal on its own or as a side dish with just about anything. In fact, it is very strange if you go out for dinner and you are not at least offered fries as a standard side dish.

The most popular would be mussels and fries or stowe vleis (meat stew) with fries or, let not forget your kebab with fries. Yip, we also do kebabs in Belgium.

Just what is it that is so special about Belgian fries?

Well, let’s see. For the perfect frites/friets you need to use freshly peeled Bintje potatoes. Cut into roughly 1cm / 0.39 inch thick pieces.

They are then fried, twice in a combination of oil and beef and/or duck fat.  The first time they are fried at about approximately 160 ° C / 320 ° F. for 4 minutes. Then they are rested for about 30 min. The second time they are fried at about 192° C / 375° F for 2 – 3 minutes.

They are tossed, salted and served, in either a paper cone or a paper box (if you are taking it home and not eating it on the spot).  

And don’t forget to pick your sauce.

The most common topping is mayonnaise but you can also choose between many other sauces such as:
  • Ketchup
  • Aioli / Look-saus (garlic mayonnaise)
  • Pepper-sauce – (mayonnaise with green pepper)
  • Sauce Andalouse –( mayonnaise with tomato paste and peppers)
  • Sauce Americaine – (mayonnaise with tomato, chervil, onions, capers and celery)
  • "Bicky" Dressing (Gele Bicky-sauce), (a commercial brand made from mayonnaise, white cabbage, tarragon, cucumber, onion, mustard and dextrose)
  • Curry ketchup
  • Curry mayonnaise
  • Mammoet-sauce – (mayonnaise, tomato, onion, glucose, garlic, soy sauce)
  • Sauce "Pickles"- (a yellow vinegar based sauce with turmeric, mustard and crunchy vegetable chunks, similar to Piccalilli)
  • Samurai-sauce – (mayonnaise with harissa)
  • Tartar sauce
If ever you find yourself in Belgium you'll have to make sure you ask me where to find the best frites/friets ...

Bon appetite! / Smakelijk!

credit - google images


  1. oooh such a fun idea!! Yum! they sound good.

  2. I had no idea! How much fun! I'm going to really enjoy this series, I think. Yay for writing it!

    Which one is your favorite condiment with fries?


  3. love this belgium post idea.

    that is some seriuos business when it comes to fries!!! i guess you guys think that the frozen fries from supermarkets must be gross!!! :)

  4. OMG - mayonnaise on fries?!?! GAG! Look at all those different flavor combinations for the mayo, too! So I guess vegetarians in Belgium can't eat fries since they're fried in beef or duck fat?!

    When I come visit you, I'm eating mine with ketchup.

  5. The best dipping sauce to go with fries is ranch dressing!

    How do Belgians eat so many fries and stay so thin? One day at a fast food restaurant and I gain 5 pounds!

  6. I featured this post on my blog today!

  7. I would love to make the sacrifice and try some of those fries you describe. Maybe mussels and fries. Yum. My dad's family is from Belgium, many years ago so I have an interest in your country.

  8. Mmmm, I love Belgian style Frites! We have a Belgian waffle house here with actual frites, waffles, and machine gun sandwiches, soooo good!

    Stopping by at the recommendation of Ricki Jill who mentioned this post in her Weekly Round-Up post!

  9. A frites place opened here a few years ago and I have still never been. At first I was like, ugh, a whole restaurant for fries (and beer, of course), but everyone says it's awesome and so are allllll the dipping sauces. I need to go asap!