Saturday, October 25, 2014

Belgische broodjes and my Thursday tradition

When most people think of Belgium they usually think of a few food items: Beer, chocolate, waffles, and fries. Why all of these things are certainly prevalent in Belgium, one of the most popular foods here are Belgische broodjes or Belgian sandwiches. These sandwiches, sold everywhere in Leuven are foot-long subs on French baguettes that put all other bread to shame. On the sandwich, there can be a myriad of toppings from ham and cheese to kip curry (chicken curry), a Belgian favorite and can be toasted or open-faced. Sandwiches are also rarely served with sides, unless its a sit down restaurant where fries are usually the side. Of course, no sandwich would be complete without mayonnaise. They are then wrapped in a napkin and rubber band to keep them together and placed in these wax bags so you can walk and eat and nothing falls out. Whoever said that Europeans don;t walk and eat has never been to Leuven and seen the hordes of people walking around gnawing on baguettes. 
Every Thursday, I have Ethics from 11 to 1 and Pop Culture from 2 to 4, so I always eat lunch in between classes. Usually, that consists of a Belgische broodje from my favorite sandwich shop. Its on the Tiensestraat and has a bright yellow sign, so it's pretty hard to miss. Outside the cafe are a few tables and chairs littered with students enjoying their lunch or a quick break from classes. Inside the cafe, popular American music is constantly playing in the background, mixing with the sounds of Dutch conversations. Every time I go, I eat the vegetarisch broodje which consists of sprouts, cucumber, tomato, eggs, corn, and mayonnaise all layered between the perfect pieces of French bread. The best part is that it only costs 2.90 euro and it's a massive sandwich-the first time I ate there I couldn't eat the entire thing! Now, I can eat the whole thing no problem, probably because of all the walking and biking I do in Leuven (I have never walked or biked this much ever), To accompany my sandwich, I always drink a classic coke. Sometimes, I sit at a small white table and eat my sandwich, but more often than not I channel my inner Belgian and walk and eat my sandwich, stopping to pet dogs along the way or popping into a shop. It has become one of my Thursday traditions and I cannot imagine going anywhere else for my on the go lunch. This little cafe tucked away in the Tiensestraat is one of my little spots in Leuven, one of my own hidden treasures. This little tradition, even though it's small, is one of the reasons I love Leuven as much as I do. It's the joy from a routine activity, like this one, that makes Leuven so magical. And now, I really want a broodje...

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