With culinary tradition a significant part of Belgian culture and many business deals being struck at the dinner table, people frequently ask me about restaurants in my hometown of Vilvoorde (Belgium). Related questions keep popping up in social media groups about our city. To answer once and for all, I’ve decided to start compiling a list. Take-away joints and pitta/chip shops aren’t included. The list basically includes any place where you can sit down, have a nice meal and meet a professional contact. Any new restaurant I spot, will be added. Please suggest any missing business in the comment section below. The links are ordered ad random.
‘The best pizza of Vilvoorde and surrounding area’. Felix Pizza in Vilvoorde has chosen quite the audacious tag line. I do like the implied confidence, but it does sound like a challenge. With a growing number of pizza parlors in my hometown, there are a lot of contenders for the title. Off the top of my head, there’s Testa Rossi, Barino, Pizza Vera, Pizza Talia, Domino’s and Pizza Hut. Main rival in the region is Il Casale in Grimbergen, in my opinion. Does Felix Pizza measure up? Let’s have a look.
Seafood aficionados staying in the Pattaya (Chon Buri) area should definitely skip the usual tourist traps and head straight over to Pu Pen right on Jomtien beach, where quality and quantity rival each other. We make a point of it to have at least one meal there, whenever we’re in the neighborhood. I’ll tell you why.
Tjoung Tjoung in Antwerp is one of those rare restaurants that serves authentic Thai food in Belgium. It is situated slightly out of the way at Breydelstraat 16, close to the central train station and mere minutes by foot from the De Keyserlei. Coming from the train station, just take a right at the Australian Ice Cream parlor and keep walking until it appears on your left. With the popular Isaan Café and a Thai massage parlor in the direct vicinity, there seems to be a cluster of Thai businesses in the making.
Looks like there’s a new Thai eatery serving street food in the Van Wesenbekestraat in Antwerp, right in the middle of the Asian neighborhood. Siam Senses‘ interior seems contemporary and even stylish, albeit small. Will definitely swing by for a review, asap.
While shopping in Antwerp, a growling stomach started a craving for Thai food. In stead of gravitating towards my usual haunts in the Asian neighborhood, I remembered a suggestion by my friend Guido who runs Thai-Flemish cultural society Thaivlac. Recently a new restaurant opened on Tabakvest, which is about a 10 minute walk from where I was on the Meir: Baan Yuuna.
Finding Thai food in Belgium isn’t very hard. Most cities typically have one or more Thai eateries with larger cities having have a few dozen, if you count every restaurant with a link to the Land of Smiles. Finding authentic Thai food is another issue altogether, with most chefs focusing on Farang (or Foreigner) Thai Food. Just like the Chinese have done several decades ago, the Thai have adapted their recipes abroad to better suit the Western palette: sweeter, more colorful and less spicy. When looking for authentic Thai dishes, one of the restaurants that stand out is Ploy Pochana.
The Ra Biang Mai Bar (‘Wood Terrace Bar’) is definitely the most beautiful and laid back bar and restaurant in Phimai. With live Thai accoustic music playing every night, it is the perfect venue to hang out at with your friends, or even for a romantic evening with your significant other. With Kratong lanterns rising to the sky all around the bar, it was a magical setting for our festival dinner. My favourite dish? Spicy wing bean salad.