Because Ghent is not a big city, just shy of 156km2 with a student-dominated population of 242,000, there is always time for food hunting, even if you’re just here for a day, like I was.
If there’s anything that Ghent surprised me with, it’s their cafe culture! Most cafes that I visited are modern, sleek, stylish and most of all, cosy and warm. If I had all the time in the world, I would linger longer in each of the cafes I visited, taking in the vases of roses, the luminescent lamps, wooden frames hung on the walls, meticulously decorated shopfronts and plush seats.
Foods You Cannot Miss
1. Gentse Neuzekes
They are very sweet purple candy that are typical of Ghent. Nicknamed “Nose” because of its cone shape. You can find these being sold in pushcarts on the square named Groentenmarkt. Here, you are right in the heart of the historical centre, where you can find the famous Befry, St. Nicholas’ Church and the Town Hall.
2. Balls & Glory
That’s number 1 on my list. Upon entering the shop, I was instantly won over by their concept. Instead of a menu of items for you to choose from, each day they present only 2 balls of choice. Saves us the modern-day woes of being spoilt for choice, such an ingenious idea! Instead of bread baskets being served as appetisers, each table is bequeathed a basket of apples. APPLES! Who ever does that?! Upon further research, I learned that they are start up by a businessman and a chef, and have branches in Antwerp and here in Ghent. They’ve also published a recipe book offering a variety of flavours to stuff in that humungous ball. I WILL RECREATE THEM when I’m in Singapore, and wish upon a star that one day it will reach Singapore! I’m totally in love with their balls! (no pun intended)
3. Julie’s House
A quaint little shop selling everything to satisfy your sweet palate! Their main highlight is cupcakes, but thanks to their free sample of lemon tart (which I would otherwise never buy and risk disappointing my sweet taste buds), I was addicted to it! Their crust is out of the world.
4. Dulle Griet
After a long day of exploring, you cannot leave Ghent without entering one of Belgium’s local pubs. This pub in particular offers the largest beer selection in Ghent. That’s not the best part. Their main attraction is their Kwak beer. It is served in an hourglass shape, and fitted into a wooden stand, like a test tube upon a stand. Because of its unique and long glass shape, they require a deposit. What deposit? You wonder. Upon ordering, the staff rings a bell and a basket drops from the ceiling.
You are to surrender one side of your shoe to be hung on this basket until you return the empty glass. I was so stunned at this bar policy I cannot help but laugh. As if I wasn’t amazed enough, the glass had to be so tall I have to bend the glass to reach the mouth. It is longer than from my elbow to my longest finger. 1.2L in volume. Holy cow! That was the most beer I’ve ever drank from a glass!
Other Food Recommendations
- Cafe Labath– for coffee and/or breakfast
- Huize Colette– for coffee and/or breakfast
- Le Jardin Bohemien- for coffee, breakfast and/or lunch
- Tasty World– vegetarian burgers
- Krokantino- serves sandwiches
I found this resource to be particularly useful as well, especially for those thinking of doing a short stopover in Ghent!
Lastly, I have much to thank Tine for being the inspiration behind this post! <3
If you found this post useful, I’d love to know! Hit the Like button below or drop me a message!
Do you have other food recommendations in Ghent? I’d love to hear about it! 🙂