Updated in 2021!
If you're a fickle, fussy foodie like me, you'll be sure to share my appreciation for all the best things to eat in Liege, Belgium. This small city is home to an underrated food scene and some truly unique recipes and ingredients. A combination of hearty traditional Belgium fare like beef stews, tiny ethnic eateries which thrive thanks to the local student population, and tasty, affordable street eats means that there is something for everyone. And thrown into the mix are some very special tastes, unique to Liege, that could tempt even the most timid traveller.
If you're planning a visit and looking for some ideas on what to do in Liege, tracking down these delicious treats should be a priority!
When in Liege, drink a Liegeois
The Liegeois is a non-alcoholic beverage consisting of Orangina orange soda and grenadine. Delicious! As a girl who thinks Shirley Temples are the height of sophistication, I have a thing for fancy soda and juice drinks. My go-to drink when I'm on planes and trains is a mix of cranberry and gingerale with a squeeze of lime, but I think the Liegeois could be a new contender!
Eat a Liege Waffle (Gaufres Liege)
Who doesn't love waffles? When you're in Liege, you're in for a treat! Liegeois waffles are dense, sweet, and chewy. They are usually served plain and I love them that way. You get an occasional crunch from the pearl sugar in the batter and, when served warm, they have a slight caramel flavor.
It's not easy to find a traditional Liege waffle, even within the city, and assorted versions of the more common Brussels waffle are prevalent. It's worth trying several waffle shops and stands until you find your favourite.
If you can't make it to Liege, you might want to try making them yourself. Here's a comprehensive guide for a little waffle DIY from LiegeWaffle.wordpress.com (and how awesome is it that we live in a world with a blog dedicated to all things Liege waffle-esque?)
What exactly is Liege Syrup? Is it a jam? A spread? A fruit butter? I'm not exactly sure but I know it's not a syrup in the traditional sense! Either way, it's delicious! At the Jala Hotel (sadly now closed) there was a large selection of flavors in little individual pods, which I used to liberally smear on my croissants.
Apparently the Sirop is also a great compliment to cheese and crackers and other savory appetizers and it is a common cooking ingredient as well. If you're going to be spending a few days in Liege it would be great fun to grab a container of Sirop, some crunchy baguette, and some local cheeses and enjoy delicious snacks throughout your stay.
Try Liege Syrup (Vrai Sirop de Liège) At Breakfast
Have A Main Meal of Boulets de Liege
Meatball lovers rejoice! You're in for a special experience when you try the giant Boulets de Liege. These supersize meatballs are traditionally made with a beef and pork mixture seasoned with breadcrumbs, nutmeg and assorted herbs, but each family boasts their own special twist on the recipe. Found everywhere from fine dinning establishments to student cafeterias, there is even an annual contest to determine who makes the best boulets. You can try them without breaking the bank at Le Petit Carre frites shop.
Just once catch - they're served with something called Sauce Lapin. Yep, that's rabbit sauce! Which brings us to number 5...
Belgian Rabbit Sauce (Sauce Lapin) Is Not What You Think
Fickle foodies, have no fear! Rabbit sauce doesn't actually contain any rabbit. Instead, it was named after former local tax collector slash poet Ernest Lapin and his wife Geraldine (Lapin is French for 'rabbit'). The sauce contains onion, vinegar, sage, sugar, and even Sirop de Liege, and I've seen some recipes that include a bit of dark beer. Rabbit sauce goes hand in hand with boulets but you'll also see it at frites shops and it makes for tasty dipping sauce.
Liege receives just a fraction of the tourists that pack Brussels and Bruges and you can rest assured that "tourist trap" restaurants are a rarity here. It's a great spot to break out of a food rut and even if you're a fickle, fussy foodie -just like me! - there are plenty of unique local specialties to tempt (but never torment) your tummy.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. Which of these Liege treats would tempt you the most?
If you enjoyed this article, you'll also like:
How To Spend A Day In Bruges
In Love With Liege: Day 5 of Our Round The World Trip
Can You Ever Go Back? Retracing Ryan's Footsteps in Liege
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