In October I was blown away that Australia had decided Vegemite made a sensible decision for a chip flavor.
Lo behold my return to Belgium, and the stores are now lined with limited edition ‘Bicky Burger’ chips, commemorating one of the more unattractive members of the Belgian food chain.
A ‘Bicky’, marketed here as a burger, is in fact a sugary bun holding a deep-fried round blob of meet extracts, usually covered in ketchup and mayonnaise, and always served with a grotte pakje friet (large packet of fries). It is a staple food group for many teenagers in Belgium, though despite many attempts to stomach one, I’ve never been able to get past a single serving of fries. These deep fried burgers tickle my gag-reflex significantly more than my fancy.
Whilst I can’t condone the real deal Bicky, I didn’t even flinch at the idea of bringing home a packet of its namesake chip. They smell, taste, and look much like your typical ‘tomato’ flavoured variant, and leave a nicely unsatisfying film all around the inside of the mouth, fingers and nostrils – likely quite similar to the burger it is modeled after!
This evening I sat glued to the television hoping the best for my favourite Belgian singer Senne Guns (Yes! Guns!) to come home with the ‘Flemish song of the year’ at this years music industry awards (MIA), however was disappointed to find that the only winners were stage favourite Bart Peeters and “West Flanders’ own” Gotye.
I did however enjoy Gotye aka Wally De Baker try his hand at Flemish, nice to hear someone else sporting a bit of Aussie in their Vlaamse vocals!
Despite the awards, for some seriously good Flemish disposable pop, do yourself a favour and check out Senne Guns.
Senne is a true hero of mine and is one of the very, very few Flemish singers singing in his own language. So many local bands fall victim to the English-language bait, mumbling their way through ridiculous verse after chorus – however Senne stands up to all this as a voice not only for his generation, but also his country.
For you English speakers listening to Senne not only introduces a whole new type of cute pop but also a whole new language at the same time. What a guy!
Gotye, I’m aware the world loves you now – but take care, Senne is coming!
Every December the Dutch Santa (Sinterklaas) bursts onto the under six scene, with his dear friends all named “Black Peter”.
Dutch Santa hails from Spain, where he and his Peters live in race-neutral harmony. Every December 6 they sail to the promised lands of Flanders and Netherlands to spread the joy of present opening and soot covered skin.
The Black Peters climb down chimneys (hence the soot darkening their skin) and open front doors allowing our beautifully dressed Dutch Santa to enter houses freely without having to suffer Black Peter’s sooty fate.
It’s such a crazy annual tradition that no doubt would not translate at all to other cultures. For a country still nursing a very recent hangover of atrocities performed in the Congo last century, I find it very strange that such little noise is raised over this annual tradition of white leader and his “black followers”.
Perhaps though this is just my over sensitive Australian eyes not spotting an innocent childish tradition over my own queasiness of racism. In any case I’m curious to speak with more Belgians to know their opinions on our Peters!