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Waffles, beer and Flemish masters: it’s the best of Belgian London

By Time Out London contributors

We arrived in London five years ago, eager to be part of one of the most vibrant cities in the world, and we were not disappointed. However, there was one thing that we were weren’t able to easily find: our national treasure, Belgian beer! Soon, our festival Ales Tales was in the making.

England and Belgium have a deep shared history, with commercial links from the thirteenth century – long before the modern country of Belgium existed! In fact, it was at the London Conference of 1830 that Belgium was created, after secession from the Dutch.

Most Belgians are easy-going and open-minded, with a self-deprecating humour that helps them fit in as discreet expatriates. In fact, we only need to answer two questions to feel at home: where can you find Belgian beers, and where are the best chips in town? Nicolas Tondeur and Sayuri Kasajima

Did you know? Belgium is the only non-Commonwealth country allowed to parade its troops in uniform and bearing arms in central London. The Belgian Parade takes place every July at the Cenotaph.

Nicolas and Sayuri's favourite Belgian spots in London

For the best selection of Belgian craft beer in London, all year round, head to The Beer Merchants Tap in Hackney Wick. These guys have been importing Belgium’s finest for decades.

London has several masterpieces from the golden age of painting by the Flemish artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens, but the most spectacular has to be his ceiling of Banqueting House, completed in 1636.

Find authentic, artisanal Belgian chocolate at L’Appétit Fou in Chiswick.

Belgium has big World Cup ambitions. De Hems in Chinatown may be a Dutch pub, but it serves a lot of Belgian beers and has a big screen, so it always becomes HQ for Belgian football fans during big tournaments.

After beer, chocolate and fries, waffles are our fourth national treasure. Wafflemeister (with half a dozen London branches) makes flavourful, traditional Belgian waffles.

The best of Belgian London, according to you

Lowlander Covent Garden or The Dove on Broadway Market: Belgian beer heaven.’ Adrian L via Facebook

Le Pain Quotidien, the Kipling bags store and, of course, the pralines stores: Godiva, Neuhaus and my favourite, Leonidas!’ Katleen D via Facebook

Taste This Beer: awesome pop-up Belgian beer bar!’ Eliott P via Facebook

Ales Tales is at Oval Space on Friday June 1 and Saturday June 2.

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