Best Belgian food in Beijing (1)

What is Belgian food?

The best Belgian food in Beijing (1) you can find in Morel’s Restaurant, the best Belgian Restaurant in Beijing.
Many friends even say the quality is often superior to what you find in Belgium.
Belgium is at the crossroads of Europe and the food is strongly influenced by French cuisine but also by German, Dutch and genuine local Belgian cuisine. The restaurant hardly changes its menu – as many top restaurants do, but Renaat can surprise us with unexpected delicacies.

One of the most popular dishes in Belgium is called “stoverij”. “Carbonades à la Flamande” or in English, Belgian (or Flemish) Beef Stew – of course prepared with Belgian beer. A dish often eaten on the street in a “frietkot”, see below.
One of my favorite dishes is the gratin of endive and ham. Learn here what is actually “endive” or “witloof” as we call it.

Moules frites

Very famous of course are the mussels with Belgian fries. Only in Morel’s you find the gorgeous mussels that are delivered alive to the restaurant where they are cleaned, sorted and cooked the Flemish way. The vast majority of mussels in other restaurants are brought in frozen, you can easily taste the difference as those are not juicy but a bit dry inside.

Belgian fries are of the best in the world and must be prepared the traditional way.
If there is one thing you should definitely do while in Belgium, it is to eat Belgian ‘frites’. Not only can you eat them in restaurants, you can also get them at a frites stand, or a ‘frituur’ or ‘frietkot’ as they are known in Flemish, see the ones in Ghent. Ghent’s favorite order is large fries with beef stew sauce and mayonnaise.
Belgium has a long history of deep-frying. The first frites stands were mobile and the first frites stand with a permanent location only appeared after World War II. Today, you can find them on market squares and along the main roads. But just like everything else, the art of deep-frying has also evolved: you can take away your frites or eat them on the spot in today’s modern frites stands.
In addition to frites, they also sell a wide range of snacks and sauces. Of course, today’s frites stands keep up with their times: many of them also offer a range of deep-fried products for vegetarians and vegans.

Old China Hands lunch 2 September

Good turnout

Our Old China Hands lunch 2 September brought together 32 of our members. We also welcomed the baby of OCH Josh. As always, all happy chatting and enjoying the good food.

The next lunch is planned for Friday 7 October, due to the October 1 holiday week.

And more about our famous OCH

Raja is competing with our star Mark for media exposure.
See here his latest in English through Beijing Review.

But beating all is Renaat Morel. I guess he has like an interview every two weeks…
On 10 September at 10 pm we all watched live BRTV showing a program about the GuoAn soccer club and its long relation with Morel’s Restaurant. GuoAn normally uses Worker’s Stadium as its base and should return there once the new stadium is opening, I guess early next year.

I don’t have the link for you to watch but see some screenshots while we watched on the iPad. And of course the famous candle…

Best Belgian Restaurant in Beijing

Three Michelin Stars

Renaat Morel is the three Michelin stars chef who now does not want any stars anymore but is the proud owner of the best Belgian Restaurant in Beijing. Or should we say, in China.
Morel’s Restaurant is the only one in Beijing offering genuine Belgian cuisine in a charming interior. The menu of traditional Belgian and French dishes is composed by the celebrated chef Renaat who previously served Royalty and famous stars in the South of France.
The famous TRB, Hulu and more managed by Belgian Ignace Lecleir are great places to enjoy the best of European cuisine.

The first batch of Beijing International Food Lists jointly recommended and released by Beijing Cuisine Association and Meituan came out recently, a shortlist of the most famous restaurants.
According to report, in order to ensure the professionalism, fairness, and impartiality of the list, only 123 restaurants were selected from more than 150,000 restaurants through the recommendations of the association and experts. Among them, 41 Beijing cuisine restaurants were selected as the “Beijing Year Restaurant List”, 57 provincial and municipal restaurants in Beijing were selected into the “Shenzhou Delicious Full List”, and 25 foreign restaurants were included in the “International Gourmet Collection List”.
Morel’s Restaurant and Café was one of the top foreign restaurants and Renaat Morel received his certificate in August 2022.

The restaurant has been in the same location for far over 20 years, a real feat as so many restaurants open and disappear.
The evolution of the customer base is remarkable. In the first decade the vast majority of the customers were foreigners. In recent years at least 80% of the customers are Chinese – who are also bigger spenders!

It is also very much in demand for birthday celebrations!
The take-away and delivery has become an important contribution to the revenue, when a few years ago that service did not even exist.

A famous couple

The restaurant is run by Renaat and Susan, his wife. Susan is also a great florist and the flowers you see – and receive – are of the highest quality.

The restaurant has been featured in innumerous media, and was already mentioned in Beijing Weekend in June 2000.

Chef Renaat has an imposing track record, already mentioned in detail in a previous post.

So many TV shootings were done that it’s impossible to mention all. See:
“Chinese Destiny” is a documentary program about cross-cultural characters produced by the Chinese Global Program Center of China Media Group. “Foreign chefs in Beijing” (short appearance of … Gilbert)

Earlier in 2022 several days of invasion by CCTV4 in Morel’s Restaurant and Café for a documentary about Renaat and his restaurant, shown worldwide.

On 16 September 2018 Renaat Morel was decorated in the Belgian Embassy, in the presence of the Ambassador, the Governor of the Province of Antwerp and many guests.

What about the food?

That is another long story, to be published soon!

Renaat Morel was decorated in the Belgian Embassy

Residence of the Belgian Ambassador

On 16 September 2018 Renaat Morel was decorated in the Belgian Embassy, in the presence of the Belgian Ambassador Marc Vinck, the Governor of the Province of Antwerp Mrs. Cathy Berx and many of the Belgian community and friends.
Renaat Morel is the chef and owner of the Belgian Restaurant Morel’s. Also decorated was Zeng Su, Chief Representative of POM Antwerp in Chongqing.
The event took place well before the pandemic hit us all. In the pictures you can see many of the people who left Beijing since then.
Yes, I took too long time to post this…

Above some pictures showing the guests.

Officier In De Leopoldsorde – Officer in the Order of Leopold

That is the title of the decoration for our friend Renaat. We are all proud of the chef and grateful for spoiling us with the food.

See the pictures of the ceremony where the Ambassador. Governor, Renaat and others also took the stage.
I was myself decorated on 21 November 2004 in the embassy as “Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Couronne – Ridder in de Kroonorde – Knight of the Order of the Crown”. Belgium has several decorations see an overview.

The food and drinks

Of course food and drinks was done by the Belgian Restaurant Morel’s and his team.

As always the guests enjoyed the gorgeous buffet.
As I was busy taking pictures you have to find me somewhere…

Never Leaving left Beijing

Another victim

In late 2019 we had a nice evening in “Lenore’s Bar – never Leaving”. Well sadly Never Leaving left Beijing, I guess another victim of greedy landlords, crazy rents and COVID.
Location was at the former Hacker-Pschorr on Xindong Lu, a bit north of Jingkelong Supermarket. That place must be bad karma, as Hacker-Pschorr went bust before, a huge investment (many million euro) wasted because of totally incompetent Chinese management.
The amount of bars and restaurant closing in Beijing is staggering, made worse with the COVID tragedy.

It was a nice place

Actually I liked the place, the interior was attractive, the service was trying its best even as it was still new. Beer and food were all pretty OK. See the pictures.

I only felt sorry I did not have the chance to visit it more, but in early 2020 COVID came and you know the rest of the story.
There is a new kind of pub there but I did not explore it yet.