Food expats bring back to Saint-Gilles



Our wonderful neighborhood is a micro-cosmos in itself, one can see diversity everywhere. This is, I believe, what makes it so special: we all come from different places

, we all have different customs and traditions and we decide to embrace all this together. Same applies when it comes to food: how many ethnic food joints do we have in St. Gilles? Lots! Inspired by this mind-blowing amount of ethnic food products I see everywhere and by my own list of “food-to-bring-back-from-home”, I asked other expats what foods do they bring back to Belgium. This is what I have on my (very short) list after visiting my family in Romania:

  • Copule of jars of zacusca-a baked-veggie canned stew
  • Two jars of honey from my grandma’s friend
  • Pork fat- because winter is here and we need to keep warm
  • Tomato preserves -real tomatoes, from the garden
  • 3-4 types of cheese -stuff that we can’t find in Belgium
  • Linden tea and other medicinal herbs-from the forest, home-dried
  • BBQ: mici all the way
  • Mushrooms with mayo and garlic: we do love our home-made mayo

That’s it; for Xmas, I’ll have half a pig in our suitcase. I would love to tell you I bring back all this stuff because it tastes like home, because it reminds me of my childhood, because I never forget the taste of my country, but I would be lying. The truth is, I simply love the food!

What do others bring and why do we even struggle with this extra-load? The reasons for breaking our backs carrying all this food in our luggage are mainly the quality of products, the fact that some are home-made, but also the price. Here they are, in random order; if you want to add something, please leave a comment and I’ll update🙂

From the UK
All UK people swear by Marmite. I am yet to taste the controversial paste, but there you have it.

From Spain
Manchego cheese and jamon ibererico, also known as The Classics. Olive oil.

From Bulgaria
Ljutenica (paprika-tomato, veggie mix pasta), ljukanka (sausage from mixed meat), sirene (white cheese type thingy).

From Hungary
Deep-frieeze chestnut puree and sausages.

From France
The (real) Dijon mustard in really big jars, saucisson de Morteau, different kinds of cheese. Wine- because it’s cheaper

From Turkey
Home-made olive and tomato paste, paprika paste, bulgur and lentils, home-dried oregano & red peppers

From Austria
Home-made apricot jam and white wine

From the US
Grape Nuts breakfast cereal and Ranch dressing mix


Hope you enjoyed, let me know what you think. Any major food-items missing?!? If you’re hungry for more similar food-related articles, jump on my blog, The Pickled Spruit. 


Mona Lazar



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