Food Allergy Guide To Belgium: Brussels, Ghent, Bruges & More

I traveled to Belgium, Amsterdam, and Paris recently, and want to discuss my experience traveling with my life-threatening peanut allergy in each place to serve as a resource for others with food allergies. Even though I’m allergic to peanuts only, I’m airborne and cross-reactive to trace amounts, so I take many precautions before dining out. I’ll go over the restaurants I vetted via email before going on this trip, cover various safe products I found in stores, and where I went while traveling around Belgium!

I stayed in Brussels, Belgium as my “home base” the entire trip and traveled by train to other towns and cities from there since it’s centrally located, and was easy to find a hotel with a kitchenette that was affordable there. I absolutely loved the historic beauty across Belgium, especially in the many neighborhoods of Brussels. One thing I learned when planning this trip abroad (I’m in the U.S.) was that Belgium speaks Dutch, French, and/or Flemish depending on where you go. This made discussing my peanut allergy a bit trickier when writing restaurants beforehand, and while there in-person, so it took some extra legwork and chef card print-outs, but was still very doable! Just remember English isn’t necessarily a language everyone will speak. 

My “Before Traveling” Checklist:

  1. I always write restaurants, bakeries, hotels, and bars beforehand to discuss my peanut allergy and to ask if they use peanuts or peanut ingredients there. This doesn’t ensure I won’t have an allergic reaction, not unless it is a dedicated and certified allergen-free place, but still reduces the chance of an allergic reaction if my allergen isn’t present and in use actively. This is especially the case in the EU where they enforce more food labeling laws and practices than the U.S. does. I talk about this in some of my other peanut-free travel guides, and in my blog posts, and is a topic I’m very passionate about being a part of the change in the United States around. I love traveling to the EU because they’re legally required to be aware of allergies, allergens, and cross-contact. They can let consumers know the level of risk eating at their restaurant is, or eating a product is, and it’s required so it’s very easy to know what you may or may not be ingesting in terms of the top 14 allergens that they label for. I also personally prefer to have my food allergy discussion with a restaurant in writing, rather than trust someone at their word when they’re in a hurry to answer a question I sprung on them while juggling other things via phone call or in-person, so I always reach out ahead of time via email, their website, or their social media.
  2. Book a hotel with a kitchen/kitchenette if you can! This takes a lot of the pressure off of needing to eat out while traveling with a food allergy. I do normally pay a bit more per night, but believe it saves us money in the long run since we aren’t eating out as often at restaurants. One tip, bring a couple of Tupperware containers and plastic ziplock bags or plastic wrap with you when traveling so you can take meals to-go and save leftovers for reheating. My husband and I have stayed in plenty of hotel rooms without a kitchen, and while it is more limiting, it can totally be done if that is your only option. It just may mean less hot meals and more snacking. I talk about this in my blog post on managing food allergies in hotels. There are tons of cooking hack tips online you can read about, but I’ve found if you have access to a microwave either in your room or main hotel breakfast area and some type of mini fridge, it’s not necessary to get into turning-your-coffeemaker-into-a-griddle territory if it’s not your thing (especially because I’d want to wipe the coffee maker down REALLY REALLY well beforehand).
  3. Allergy cards for eating out and also train & airline travel. I’ve started experimenting with printing out papers that say different things about my peanut allergy that I can pass out in various situations. I make two messages for my flights to pass out, one goes to the flight attendants requesting if they can make an announcement for others to refrain from eating any peanut products they brought on, and a separate one to pass around to the seats of the rows around me so people *hopefully* don’t eat peanuts next to me. I request to pre-board when flying anyway, so I can wipe my seat and let them know about my allergy and that I have epinephrine on me, and that’s when I can quickly place them in the seats nearby without having to hand them directly to a bunch of people on my flights. Overall I’ve gotten positive responses to the allergy papers on airplanes, with only a few minor complaints or not-so-nice comments. I also print a 3rd print-out for traveling abroad and that’s the message I bring to the restaurants to give to my server for the kitchen, and I make sure to print it in many languages depending on where I am traveling to. For the airplane, I made my little requests in French, Dutch, and English all in one, but for the restaurants, I printed them in each language separately and brought the correct one with me depending on the location & language spoken there (based on the menu).

Alright, now fun Belgian travel guide specifics! I went to Brussels, Ghent, and Bruges in Belgium. I pre-planned optional iteneraries for Antwerp and Mechelen as well ahead of time, but once we got there I knew we wouldn’t have enough time to explore all those cities. I share all the information I found and put together below!


Shout-out to Delhaize Grocery in Brussels, Belgium! I loved shopping there and tried some great peanut-free Delhaize brand fresh pasta (made in Italy or France, I believe), fresh yummy produce, and Lotus brand packaged waffles to take around everywhere with me as a snack! I highly recommend stocking up on those- there are tons of pre-packaged waffle flavors and types, although none compare to the real thing fresh in Belgium. Since the EU is required to label for more top allergens, and have better cross-contact requirements, you’ll see the more regulated ‘may contain/not suitable for’ statement below.

Here is the package of Delhaize cheese & arugula refrigerated pasta we got that was delicious:

Delhaize Grocery Peanut Free Pasta

It reads, “contains: gluten, egg, and milk and made in a workshop using crustaceans, fish, celery, mustard and sulphites.” Here are some other Delhaize products we enjoyed:

There were many restaurants and breweries I contacted that got back to me saying they had no peanuts on the menu or out for snacking. These establishments should always be checked to make sure it’s still up-to-date, but the below will give you a head-start for your trip on where to contact and what places are allergen-aware:

  • Brasserie Cantillon Brewery
  • Moeder Lambic (Place Fontainas location)
  • Brasserie da le Senne
  • Maison Dandoy
  • Valentino Chocolatier
  • Lindeman’s Brewery
  • Peck 20 (not Peck 47)
  • Publico
  • Chana Falafel
  • Ai 6 Angoli

We had a beyond-great experience with Cantillon Brewery, Moeder Lambic, Peck 20, and Maison Dandoy. If you are on a tight schedule, these would be the top places I recommend! Here are photos of my savory waffles from Peck 20 and sweet waffles from Maison Dandoy- which I got a fresh waffle from a location in Brussels almost every day!!! To my delight, Maison Dandoy has multiple locations and dozens of deliciously delicate treats. I would be wary of going to breweries and bars without checking before, I found that more casual environments like pubs did have peanuts and mixed nuts out at the bar for snacking, and this is common across Europe (and in the U.S.) to watch out for.

Here are a few photos from my trip to show what Brussels looks like- it was gorgeous and affordable! The city is huge, FYI, we could’ve spent weeks there without seeing every neighborhood!


Ghent, Belgium is known as the vegetarian capital of Belgium (heck yeah!) and this small, quaint city offers a ton of vegan and vegetarian options. The place we chose to go to for lunch did not disappoint! In fact, years later, and I’m still dreaming about it. Both my husband and I were absolutely obsessed with the veggie burger and fries from De Frietketel. The aesthetic and vibe was really hip and fun, too! Back when I reached out, their fried in sunflower oil and had no peanut products in the building and were very aware of allergens! Check for yourself, and the young couple who own and run it I’m sure are glad to talk to you about food allergens.

Peanut Free Fries in Ghent, Belgium


Bruges, Belgium is known as ‘the most beautiful city in Belgium’, and the ‘fairy-tale of the North’, which it totally was, We had a lovely time in Bruges! Again, make sure to check the below places yourself before eating out, but I felt comfortable with the below after emailing regarding my life-threatening food allergy:

  • Choco-Story Museum
  • B by B Chocolate Shop
  • Kottee Kaffee
  • *PS- We got safe snacks from the Smatch Supermarket


Antwerp is known as the diamond hub, and I actually did not find any places in Antwerp I trusted or that did not use peanuts. However, we didn’t end up going and I had a feeling during our trip we may not make enough time to make it to Antwerp, so I didn’t reach out to as many restaurants as I did in the other Belgian cities!


Surprisingly, a milkshake bar called Eiskreem Milkshakebar said they didn’t use peanuts. However, we also didn’t make it to this city due to time-constraints. I also contacted a place called Kingslize-Nekkerspoelstraat which seemed really neat and didn’t have peanuts in use at the time.

OK- That’s a wrap! Safe travels!

Like this food allergy travel guide? Subscribe to get alerts when a new food allergy travel guide publishes & stay in the know with Invisibly Allergic Blog!

Check out some of my other food allergy & peanut allergy travel guides below!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s