Dishes from my hometown
The best Belgian food in Beijing (2) you can find in Morel’s Restaurant. In this part: specialties from Ghent and more.
The most famous dishes from Ghent are Waterzooi of Fish and Waterzooi of Chicken. I am thus unhappy with Renaat as he has removed them away from the menu… But to make me happy he sometimes makes me a mini waterzooi of fish or a gratinated fish (pretty similar).
Waterzooi is a stew dish from Belgium and originated in Flanders. The second part of the name derives from the Middle Dutch terms sode, zo(o)de and soot, words referring to the act of boiling or the ingredients being boiled. It is sometimes called Gentse Waterzooi which refers to the Belgian town of Ghent where it originated. The original dish is often made of fish, either freshwater or sea, though today chicken waterzooi is more common. The most accepted theory is that rivers around Ghent became too polluted and the fish there disappeared.
Not really from Ghent but considered there a special delicacy is Atlantic cod fish, hard to find the real one in Beijing and very expensive. Atlantic cod has a slightly sweet taste, with large flakes that fall apart easily when cooked. See several ways to serve the codfish.
Kibbeling is sometimes on the menu and it’s a special part of cod fish. also called fried cod bits (normally the cheeks of cod fish).
In Morel it is rather “Filet Américain” Belgian style. Filet Américain, steak tartare or quite simply préparé, is made out of raw ground beef, which is then often spiced with piri-piri, Tabasco, mustard, cayenne pepper, gherkins, salt, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Ingredients may vary. The Belgian way is to finely chop the meat with a knife to have a smooth paste.
On the Morel’s “secret menu” is also the Martino sandwich that uses filet américain plus plus. I add anchovies… Super! See the versions with and without anchovies. It has quite a history!
In Belgium the most popular sandwich is not ham and cheese, it is a spicy sandwich that was invented by Albert De Hert, a former football player who owned a restaurant in Antwerp for more than 50 years. Albert also worked in a snack bar called ‘Quick’, it was located at “The Coninck Square”, near the central station. A square that at that time was full of nightclubs. There he would have launched his famous martino sandwich.
The story goes that another Belgian football player and friend of Albert, Theo Maertens, who called himself Martino, once ordered a spicy sandwich of meatloaf to get over his hangover.
“Put everything what you have in the cooler on it, he asked,” So Albert served him a sandwich with chopped onion, slices of pickle, tabasco, piri piri, cayenne pepper, ketchup and Worcester sauce.
The recipe struck and became a concept in Antwerp and later the rest of Belgium, the sandwich is still very popular today.
The Martino consists of filet Américain (raw minced beef) mixed with seasonings, mayonnaise, and egg yolk then blended to a pink paste and spread on a split baguette and served with pickles, onions, boiled eggs, etc.
Certain types of Martinos are made with anchovies (my choice!).
“Martino” is the famous eatery in Vlaanderenstraat 125, Gent 9000.
Some restaurants make a lot of noise about their “pure water”. In Morel’s, it is considered a normal component of high quality. They use OZNER equipment, supposed to be one of the best in China.
Ozner Water International Holding Ltd provides water purification systems in China.