I found a flyer advertising the Thai market in a restaurant, sometime last year. As I had difficulties finding rare Thai ingredients in Brussels we thought we should give it a try.
Big was our surprise when we landed not in an ordinary market, but in a blooming garden crammed with stalls where countless cooks were agitating woks, barbecues and simmering soup pots. The fragrant smells instantly transported me back to Asia - and I haven't even eaten yet.
The quantity and variety of dishes on offer was unimaginable: spicy rice noodles soups, prawn stir-fries, coconut milk curries, Thai sausages and dried pork meat, dried fish, chicken & herbs salads, picked cabbage, pad thai, grilled meats, steamed or fried dumplings, sticky rice, fish cakes and a stack of divine desserts I never suspected the existence. Everywhere you looked there was yet another delicious treat to discover.
Needless to say, when we finally left, our bellies were aching but we were triumphantly carring a number of takeaway bags. The next day we were already fantasizing about going back for more supplies.
Some practical information: the market is held every first Sunday of the month in the garden of the Wat Thai Dhammaram temple. The action starts at about 10 in the morning and lasts as long as there are hungry people (till 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon). All dishes cost 5 euros. You can also shop for Thai vegetables, fruit, herbs and other foodstuffs. Sometimes, there are people selling traditional or handmade objects. People speak French, Flemish, English and obviously Thai. There are also special events involving music and glimpses to the Thai culture, so ask for the dates - everybody is very kind and willing to help. An upcoming event is Buddha Day on the 20th of June.
Address: Chaussée de Louvain 71, 1410 Waterloo, exit 26 from the Brussels RO ring. Parking is available at the Carrefour in front.
If you feel somewhat lost when you visit the market for the first time, look for friendly Mr. Sam. He will help you make sense of everything that's happening. His son runs a famous Thai restaurant in Brussels so he must know a bit about good food. He arrived in Belgium some 30 years ago and when he misses home, he comes to the temple and gives a helping hand with keeping the garden top notch.
See you there!