You know we sometimes like to mix up culture and food – on the blog as well as on Facebook. Europalia started in 1969 with Italy as a guest country. Hosted every 2 years, it is a biennial opportunity which invites you to discover the art and cultures of a guest country.
The festival doesn’t limit itself to a single genre or discipline and naturally, food also plays a major role.
This year’s guest country is Indonesia. There are a range of cultural activities going on in and around Brussels, and we have also spotted a few foodie events. Naturally there are coffee workshops around Indonesian blends. But there are also a few foodie events worth a detour if you want to get a taste of Indonesia:
- The Steigenberger Wiltcher’s, hosts till the 16 November an Indonesian Gastronomy Festival where Chef William Wongso and his team cook up authentic Indonesian food. Having gotten the chance to talk a bit with Chef Wongso I was struck by two things – he brings all his spices from Indonesia to ensure authentic cooking sharing with me that the ginger we get here ripens on the way so is not as fresh (I always a had a gut feeling about this …) that he usually uses up heaps of lemongrass (unlike the approach in our household, one stalk, rest in the freezer) and that the coriander stalks have all the flavour (a little secret we were onto as well);
… and he also teaches Indonesian cooking for ‘2 hands’. Curious what that means, he explained that in Indonesia there will always be more than 2 hands at one time busy in the kitchen while in Europe we tend to cook alone. Interesting don’t you think?
The menu is a mix of the different Indonesian islands flavours with the braised squid and squid ink in coconut milk being absolutely delicious and the Rendang Padang one of the most flavoursome I have ever tasted. The gastronomic 3 course menu with a lot of surprising choices comes at 45e and can be booked via the Steigenberger Wiltcher’s website.
- Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday an Indonesia foodtruck serves up street food at the top of the Mont des Arts … till food runs out. On Sunday the foodtruck serves up more of a lunch matched with Indonesia drinks or coffee, as you wish.
Although we have never been to Indonesia (close … but not quite Indonesia!) we have fallen in love with its food when we first tried it at Garuda and had a delicious foodie experience at Steigenberger Wiltcher’s for the Indonesian Gastronomic Festival.
I would like to extend our thanks to Steigenberger Wiltcher’s for organizing this dinner tasting and to their staff for hosting us and dealing with our endless questions and cameras with grace. Disclaimer: as always, all opinions written are our own.
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