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Support our local  “Marchés”

As Belgium experiences stricter covid restrictions, never has it been more important to support the small local businesses which not only give our neighborhoods character, but nourish our communities. For this edition of our series on the our Top 5 tips for residents at Morton Place, we focus on the outdoor food markets which are steps from Morton Place. A few minutes from Morton Place Chatelain is the the Wednesday afternoon market on the Place du Chatelain. Morton Place Louise and Parvis are steps from the market on the Parvis de Saint Gilles. This market is open almost daily as of 7.30 am until about lunch time with the exception of Mondays when it is closed, and Thursdays when it is open from 12-10pm. Not only do these markets feature farm to table ingredients but food stalls as well. Enjoy the Top 5 tips shared by our favorite foodie Chloé of Brussels Kitchen picking out the best food for you to enjoy at home, please support our friends and neighbors while staying safe.

– Tanya, founder @Morton Place

 

Our top 5 favorite neighborhood market stalls

Time is a bit suspended at present in Brussels and nothing is quite the way it used to be with many of the restaurants which give our neighborhoods life having been closed. Many restaurants and bars are implementing creative solutions with take away or special, limited sized events. But the best place to still enjoy a bit of the atmosphere of our community is at our local markets, Morton Place Parvis and Chatelain are among the more vibrant  fresh food markets of Brussels.

Markets are open

Despite covid and the darker autumn skies, our markets are open, thriving and they need us! Brussels has one of the coolest outdoor markets scenes in Europe, with street food stalls that would rival those of any indoor food market in London or Madrid. You’d think we’d have more covered markets but no – in Belgium it’s outside rain or shine. And now more than ever, our local markets of the Chatelain and Parvis need our support.

If our stall holders have to adapt, we will adapt too. So for now forget enjoying an aperitif while lingering in front of the food stalls with our friends. Instead, we visit the markets with our tote bag in hand, ready to fill it with fantastic food but this time as take away. The market on the Place du Chatelain is on Wednesdays from 1-7pm. The market on the Parvis de Saint Gilles is daily as of 7.30 am until about lunch time with the exception of Mondays (closed) and Thursday when it is open from 12-10pm. Not only do they feature farm to table ingredients but food stands as well.

We have selected our favorite stands – food, but not only – from the Châtelain and Parvis de Saint-Gilles markets. Because even your meal can no longer to be enjoyed on the spot, it’s nice to look your chef in the eye, exchange a few words and say thank you before enjoying your meal at home Let’s go.

Favorite market stalls at the Marché de Chatelain

Market Vendor and flowers

Neighborhood Gem: florist Ben van Hoo

Ben Van Hoo

Our first stop is for flowers. If you like pretty things, and as a resident of MP this is very likely, you will surely appreciate beautiful and affordable flowers. Ben’s stand is a golden nugget, no more and no less. Every week, the stand can be found on Wednesdays at the Châtelain market (but also on Saturdays and Sundays at the Flagey market). Ben selects the prettiest seasonal, organic and local flowers. It gives bouquets a rustic air, light as a breeze, colored as a summer’s day, or enchanting as a winter’s snow fall. Our most recent bouquet included Pampas grass, red holly berry flowers, and huge gladioli. A wonder.

The bonus? The bouquets, pre-made and soberly wrapped in craft paper cost only € 15.

Another bonus: you can also compose your bouquet yourself.

Thai food at stall

Neighborhood Gem: Thai food stall

Thai Food (the apple green tent can’t be missed)

While this Thai street food stand doesn’t really have a name it can be recognized from afar thanks to its apple green tent. Impossible to go wrong with tent or to choose a wrong dish as the food is good. Olivier tells us that with his wife Jeab, they’ve been working market stalls for 11 years. After living 6 years together on Koh Samet, a small island below Bangkok, where they ran a guesthouse, they came to settle in Belgium and made it their mission to introduce authentic Thai cuisineto Brussels. They can be found every Wednesday at Le Châtelain, and the rest of the week at the Boitsfort, Saint Job and Vieux Tilleul markets.

Their specialty, ideal for this season: Thai chicken noodle soup. A cousin to the classic Vietnamese Pho, the base is close but its broth differs with wonderful flavors very specific to Thailand. A treat for the modest sum of € 7.

Bonus: Olivier and Jeab have adapted the recipe to make it ideal for take-out. The noodles are pre-cooked and packaged separately from the broth, to prevent overcooking. Once back home, just heat them up for a minute in the broth, and it’s ready!

Borek

Neighborhood Gem: Aslan Borek

 

Aslan Borek

This is our latest crush no more and no less. Before being convinced by the taste, we had already fallen in love with the gestures. A ball of dough that is bounced between the fingers, then twirls in the flour, before being flattened, garnished, ending up cooking to a nice crisp on the plancha. We had our eyes on this stand for a while before having the patience to wait in the long lines for their Borek. The first good news, for us, is that there are no more lines. The second is, it’s not only mesmerizing to watch, but their food is also delicious.

Damla, whose maiden name is Aslan, works as a team with her husband Arnaud. It’s been two years since they gave up everything – they were respectively a sports coach and a sales engineer – to pursue their dream to work  “les marchés”. First in Lille, then in Knokke, and finally in Brussels, where they have been for just over a year. They can also be found on the Flagey market every Sunday.

Tip: Try the spicy beef borek, or the mushroom one, or both. These are our two favorites, but they are all amazing.

 

Favorite food stalls at the Marché du Parvis

El Taco Mobil

It is thanks to El Taco Mobil that we discovered the Parvis market. When their stand disappeared from the Flagey market, we went looking for them – that’s how good their food is. If there’s one thing that doesn’t take to the streets in Brussels, it’s a good Mexican taqueria. Not a frozen wheat tortilla Tex-Mex chain, no, a real Mexican, where the corn tortillas are made by hand. El Taco Mobil is exactly that, but mobile version. In addition to the authentic tortillas, Selene makes her homemade salsa verde, and garnishes her tacos with pulled pork, grilled beef and organic and seasonal vegetables. The dream. Our only regret: only being able to taste their incredible cuisine on Thursdays.

Our tip: Enjoy your tacos with a horchata, a traditional Mexican drink made from rice milk and cinnamon, homemade by Selene.

 

Ty Penty

Ty Penty is one of the great classics of Brussels food trucks, turning out the unmistakable sweet and savory Breton galettes. The line, usually endless, has been synonymous with their success for many years now. People come for their buckwheat pancakes of impeccable quality and for the kindness and smile of the owners. Our favorite, the ham, cheese and egg “complete” has never disappointed. They can also be found in Flagey on Saturdays and Sundays, on Mondays at Place Van Meenen and on Tuesdays at Square Meeus.

 

The must: accompany your pancake with a traditional bowl of cider – or a bottle – Breton of course.

The must of the must: finish off  with a traditional sweet pancake (this time with wheat flour). The pear and chocolate one is to die for.

 

Marché du Chatelain: Place du Chatelain 1050 Ixelles

Wednesday 12:00- 19:00

Marché du Parvis de St Gilles: Parvis de St Gilles 1060 Saint Gilles

Monday closed

Tuesday 07:45–14:45

Wednesday 07:30–13:00

Thursday 12:00–22:00

Friday  07:30–13:00

Saturday  07:30–14:00

Sunday 07:30–14:00

 

What’s life like in Brussels right now?

Professionals moving to Brussels in the coming weeks will want to know what to expect with the reopening of the country. After a somewhat strict lockdown the deconfinement process started in May and is entering an increasingly relaxed status. Since the 15th of June, Belgium along with its European neighbors opened its borders to EU and Schengen passport holders. Life in Brussels is slowly going back to “normal”.

With the steady improvement of the pandemic numbers, the kingdom is entering Phase 4 of the relaxation of its rules, called “deconfinement” as of 1 July.

1 July: What to expect

People in Brussels today continue to wear masks when in public transport in accordance with the rules, mask wearing in the street is less frequent. The atmosphere is increasingly relaxed, but outdoor groups of more than 10 people are not allowed so some parks have seen an increase in oversight from park wardens. Safety distances in more crowded areas are enforced.

Restaurants

Restaurant terraces are full as are cafés and bars. Night life is active however all venues have to close at 1am. Night clubs remain closed. There are news reports of youth gathering to on the Place Flagey for spontaneous parties – so the confidence is back for the younger segment of the population.

 

Shopping Rules

Shops are relaxing rules and everything is open. Shopping times are no longer limited and you can shop with a friend. Safety measures are in place to ensure distancing can be respected within the shop. Masks are recommended but not obligatory inside shops.

Gyms

Wellness centers and gyms are open since the beginning of June with protocols in place for hygiene. Pools are also open which is handy as Brussels is experiencing a significant heatwave!

Entertainment

Cinemas and indoor events can host up to 200 people. Museums, galleries and music halls have gradually reopened. Outdoor festivals are allowed with a maximum attendance of 400 people. This means that most music festivals join the infamous Tomorrowland in rescheduling their festivals for 2021.

Administration

People moving to Belgium from abroad often need to register at the local town hall, called the Maison Communale/Gemeente Huis. There are also other administrative procedures for health care, registering for parking etc. New registrants can no longer walk in to take care of these services. They must make an appointment. To do this at the town hall for Morton Place residents you should follow this link: https://irisbox.irisnet.be/irisbox/appointment

 

Moving forward: long live bicycles!

The most exciting consequence of the pandemic has been the acceleration of the mobility plans in Brussels. Increasing the biking lanes and the go slow and no traffic areas is needed as traffic is congested and people are still cautious about taking public transport. Our neighborhoods in Saint Gilles and Chatelain will benefit from this plan, allowing our residents to bike easily  from home to the European Quarter on dedicated bike lanes.

 

What’s happening at Morton Place

Most of our residents have  gone back to their offices spending only a portion of their time working from home. Weekend trips have also started again. We continue to get requests from people outside of Belgium who are moving to Brussels for professional reasons. We are organising video tours and trying to make sure everyone gets to chat with one resident during the tour. There is enthusiasm and confidence in future residents’ voices and we feel confident that we will be able to host future Morton Place residents in comfort and security. We look forward to hosting new residents at Morton Place over the course of the summer!