When in Flanders, eat as the Flemish do. Alexander Lobrano writes for the New York Times about estaminets, a kind of northern French bistro-although Flanders is now officially part of France, and residents speak French, estaminets serve Flemish comfort food. Warm and welcoming, estaminets are an intriguing part of northern French culture. Lobrano visits a few different estaminets, sampling their different menus. At Estaminet 'T Rijsel, Lobrano tries "carbonnade, beef braised in dark beer; waterzooi, chicken in a cream and egg yolk sauce, served with carrots, leeks, onions, and celery; and the pot'je vleesh." Pot'je vleesh consists of rabbit, veal, pork and chicken with frites. Beer seems the dominant theme at estaminets-at L'Estaminet de l'Ancienne Maison Commune, Laobrano tries Bracine, a local dark beer, and at Het Kasteelhof, he drinks La Rouge Flamande, an amber brew from Esquelbecq. These are drinks (and foods) unlikely to be found elsewhere in France, let alone beyond French borders.
To learn more about Flemish comfort food, beer, and the estaminet culture, click here.