There’s a small ice cream shop on a corner that might be hard to stumble upon on the tourist-filled streets of Bruges, Belgium, They’ll be a crowd of people hanging around eating ice cream in a waffle cone with much content, but that’s not the reason I would go there. Oyya Ice Bar also serves the best thing I ever ate – Belgian waffles. More specifically, they serve the traditional Liège waffle.
I stepped into Oyya and ordered a plain waffle with a vanilla milkshake, not knowing what was in store. I had a waffle maker at home that I used to make waffles for breakfast all the time, so I already knew that I would enjoy this. The waiter handed me my order, and I took a few steps down the street before I pulled off a corner piece of the waffle and placed it in my mouth. I don’t know what the hell that shit is that I make at home. It just didn’t compare to what my tastebuds were experiencing at that moment. The waffle was moist, chewy, a bit flaky, and not the least bit crunchy.
The traditional Liège waffle has been served in Belgium since the 18th century and was created by the Liege prince’s chef. What makes the Liège waffle so different from the Belgian waffles that I experience at home is that it doesn’t involve a batter. It’s actually a dough, which makes it more dense than the American brunch item that goes well with fried chicken wings. There’s no need for additional toppings on this thing, but it seemed as though I was the only person who ordered it plain. Everyone else was getting a variety of fresh fruit, warm chocolate, nutella, caramel, and/or whipped cream. It really is perfect when it is freshly out of the waffle iron. There’s no need for syrup like the breakfast waffle because Belgian pearl sugar is used in this recipe. The pearl sugar melts and caramelizes, leaving a sweet and syrupy crust that isn’t too crunchy.
That waffle shocked me greatly. I wasn’t expecting it to be so dense and packed with flavor. I’m not a huge fan of sweets, but this was better than any cake, brownie, cupcake, pie, or cheesecake that I could ever imagine. The vanilla milkshake to wash it down just made it taste even better.
I finished the waffle quickly, and continued wandering the streets of Bruge. It stayed on my mind the entire day because I knew that I would most likely never return to Belgium again. Yes, I had a decent visit, but it wasn’t decent enough for a return visit. So before I left, I went to Oyya a second time and ordered another waffle and another vanilla milkshake. It was just a perfect as the first one, but I ate this slowly to savor each bite. I don’t know if I’ll ever taste something as great is this again.