Crispy, golden fries: they’re our national pride. Did you know that Belgium has more than 4.600 fries stands? That means you can find one in every district and village. Our locals adore them! For the Flemish, fries are anything but a side dish. That’s also the reason we’re so good at making them. As well as having the best potatoes, we also have the pride and the skills to make the best fries in the world. Taking the time to prepare them as they should be, from the correct chopping technique to the second cooking: there’s a real art to the creation of fries.

Belgian fries, not French fries

While they may be known across the world as ‘French fries’, there’s nothing French about them. The name ‘friet’ comes from patates frites, Belgian-French for ‘fried potatoes’. One possible explanation for the association could have been formed in the First World War, when American soldiers were introduced to ‘fried potatoes’ in Belgium, but thought they were in France because that was the language spoken in that region. Whether you call them Flemish or Belgian, our delicious fries are made from bintje potatoes per tradition, and are the tastiest you’ll find anywhere on the planet.

Once your order is prepared, these crunchy golden batons are seasoned with a little salt. The most popular order is a cone topped with mayonnaise; simple and delicious.

Flemish classics with fries (of course)

Our regional cuisine stands for authenticity and quality. It sets great store by using local, seasonal ingredients. As you might expect, many of our most popular and traditional dishes are also fantastic when enjoyed with a portion of fries. Bring out the foodie in you and enjoy all the deliciousness that Flanders has to offer with these great specialties.

Frietjes Fries

“We don’t see fries as fast food, but as art.
We take the time to prepare them as they should be”


Juicy pieces of chicken, fried mushrooms and small meatballs in a silky cream sauce: it’s enough to make your mouth water! Spoon this sauce into a crispy puff pastry shell and you have one of our most popular Flemish classics: vol-au-vent. Although vol-au-vents are also common in the kitchens around us, the Flemish method of preparing this dish is unique. It is only here that the puff pastry cup is filled exclusively with a creamy poultry fricassee.

The history of the vol-au-vent is shrouded in mystery. According to some sources, the dish was named after Maria Leszczynska, wife of Louis XIV. She was so fond of poultry fricassee that in the kitchen of the Palace of Versailles people started talking about a ‘bouchée à la reine’, or ‘queen’s morsel’, as our vol-au-vent is also called.

What is certain is that the fricassee was first packaged in crumble or shortcrust pastries, which have been popular for centuries. That is until French chef Antonin Carême started experimenting with puff pastries, which were so light they could be carried by the wind: the vol-au-vent was born!



A big pot of steaming mussels served with golden yellow fries – now that’s a celebration! However, mussels were not always reserved for special occasions: in the 19th century, mussels & fries were on the menu of the urban working class every Friday (fish day!). The mussels were transported fresh from the North Sea by boats to the major cities. You could buy a few kilos of mussels directly from these small boats on the quays of Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp.

The statistics confirm that we are mad about mussels: we eat an impressive 27,000 tonnes a year in this country. That amounts to around 3.5 kg per person. Mussels are also extremely good for you: they contain little fat and are packed with vitamins and minerals. The season for our North Sea delicacy runs from July to February. You can enjoy a classic ‘natural mussels’ with onion and celery, accompanied by a dip of mayonnaise, mustard and a dash of broth. But did you know that you can also eat mussels raw? These ‘moules parquées’ are a Brussels speciality. The literal translation for this dish is ‘parked mussels’, so-called because they are served beautifully in a row. The orange flesh of the raw opened mussels tastes less salty than that of an oyster; the flavour is rather creamy and sweet.

From a technical point of view, mussels are an ideal staple to feed the world. They turn the sea’s plankton, which we humans can’t eat, into nutritious proteins. And, in the meantime, they purify the sea. As increasing use is made of mussel seed capture installations, this cultivation technique is also environmentally friendly: the tiny mussels grow not on the seabed, but on ropes that hang in the water. This allows them to be harvested easily without causing damage to the seabed.


Do you know how to recognise a Flemish person eating mussels?  
By the empty shell they use to eat the mussels – a practice you won’t find anywhere else!

Beef Stew

This nostalgic classic is the most popular stew in Flanders. We eat it at home by following our own trusted recipes, but it’s also a hit in the friteries: on a basket of fries with mayonnaise. Everyone has their own unique family recipe for beef stew. We have been making this dish since the Middle Ages. And that has to do with the fact that it is a dish that was both economical and easy. The ingredients were not expensive: cheap meat could be used, and onions and beer were also readily available. While the stew was simmering, there was time to continue working on the farm.

Beef stew often uses the tougher pieces of meat. Long and gentle simmering makes them tender, and they fall apart into fibres. Together with the onion, this meat is placed in a dish filled with beer. A simple Pils, a delicious abbey beer or even a refreshing Geuze. To bind the stew, a mustard sandwich and a jam sandwich are placed on top of the casserole dish. The sour mustard and sweet jam provide this delicious sweet-and-sour flavour. In Limburg, the jam is often replaced with an apple spread, while in East Flanders the sandwich is exchanged for a piece of gingerbread. So, you can find slightly different flavours in our beloved stew wherever you go in Flanders.

Stoofvlees Stew

The stew gets its intense, sweet-and-sour taste from a range of Flemish regional products:
from beer to mustard to apple spread.

Shrimp-filled tomato with fries and mayonnaise

A tomato stuffed with fresh grey shrimps: a simple dish that tastes heavenly when you use the best ingredients and top it off with freshly made mayonnaise. Always a hit!

Until the 1950s, North Sea shrimps were a luxury product in Belgium. It is no wonder then that shrimp-filled tomatoes were served exclusively on festive occasions at the time. In 1926, the very first recipe for ‘shrimp cups’ was written down in the magazine ‘De Boerin’ by the Boerinnenbond, the union of farmers’ wives. Two half tomatoes filled with shrimps and topped with a quarter of a hard-boiled egg as a little hat. This is probably what sparked the popularity of the shrimp-filled tomato. Although we have changed the method for preparing this dish slightly over the years: we now only cut the top off the tomato so that we can fill it completely with shrimps. And we no longer place the boiled eggs on top, but alongside the shrimp-filled tomato, garnished with crispy fries.

On the Flemish coast, we make it a point of honour to serve the shrimp-filled tomato with hand-peeled shrimps. This way the shrimps are fresher than fresh, and you can taste the difference!