Hidden Belgium: Frituur No.1

Hidden Belgium: Frituur No.1

On a winter night in Antwerp, with cold rain blowing in off the North Sea, nowhere is more welcoming than Fruituur No. 1, just next to the town hall.

Like the currywurst stands in Berlin or the hot dog sellers in Stockholm, Belgian fritkots (friteries in Wallonia) serve a basic need for comfort food. You don’t eat there every day, but sometimes they are perfect. Nowhere else offers that unique mix of warmth, company and comfort food.

You shelter inside with the local nighthawks, order a portion of frietjes, a squirt of mayonnaise and maybe a beer. Someone will probably start to talk to you about the miserable weather, or the latest Covid regulation.

In a deeply divided country, the humble fritkot is one of the few places that brings people together. It’s an essential part of the national culture, like the royal family or Trappist beer.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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