Shades of grey, Jacques Brel and the delicious smell of golden papas? You’ve found your way to Friterie Belga! Lured in by its exotic look (who wouldn’t be surprised to find a bit of Brussels in Lima?) tons of clubbers and night strollers come and get their late night fix.
Friterie Belga is the creation of entrepreneur Yanik Vanmeerbergen, a self-made man who grew up in Chimbote, returned to his Belgian roots, only to bring back a culinary dream many years later.
Five months ago, he decided to combine a love that both countries share: the papa! Of course, he had to experiment to find a papa (within the range of 500 sorts and types that Peru offers) that could honor the perfect crispness of the famous Belgian fry.
The secret to Belgian fries are that they are fried twice, which makes for the perfect blend between crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Tourists and locals love them, but it is Yanik’s homemade sauces that make them go berserk. Tuck into a salchipapa with Greek (crumbled feta cheese) sauce on the side, or a parrillada with a velvety andalouse tomato sauce.
Naturally, the fries come in the typical paper cone, hooked to the side of the table with a clever little device, for ‘easy reach’. Belgian street food is a world of its own, and surprisingly compatible with the Peruvian palate. If you’re looking for an exotic treat, go for the Filet americain sandwich, with slices of raw meat and raw onions.
When your belly is really roaring, the mitraillette is the dish to go to. Aptly called the ‘Rambo-style machine gun,’ it boasts a huge sandwich filled with layers of grilled meat, mayonnaise and salad, and fries sandwiched in, like bursting bullets. Only one or two of Belgium’s famous joys-like beer or herring-are not on the menu, but fear not. Starting this year, the owner will be brewing his own beer here in Lima, made in the Beligan tradition. For now, the iconic fries taste just as good with a cool Cusqueña!
Belgium and Peru also find common ground in their love of sweets. If you’re going to indulge, Belgians do it in style. Try the croustillets, Brussels\’ answer to Peru\‘s most popular dessert: picarón. It’s hard to pick just one favorite, but the gooey, lukewarm Café liégeois (coffee mixed with rich chocolate and a dollop of whipped cream) keeps on surprising.
Finally, Friterie houses a Belgian waffle you haven\‘t heard about before: a Cola de Castor, a softer, thinner variety filled with molasses. And you’ve guessed it: perfect for dunking into that coffee.
Friterie Belga, Calle Esperanza 264, Miraflores. Open from Monday to Saturday, from 11:30 A.M. until 2:30 A.M.