Hi All

I am an American and I have been living here for the past 2 1/2 months.  My husband and I love to go out to eat but we have been disturbed by some practices that we are not accustomed to, like the preparing of food without any protective gloves, the open sample bowls at the markets that everyone sticks their fingers in, etc. 

Last night we went to a Thai restaurant that we frequent and we got extra rice which we didn't finish, when the waitress cleared our table she poured it all back into the rice cooker.
I realize that we are biased by our cultural background and we mean no offense to anyone, but this practice seems unsanitary to us.  Is anyone else perturbed by some of the food practices here? 


ah really sorry about that but don't worry that's not the culture here,
So just change the restaurants right...

Yeah ok prepering food without protetive gloves it something that is kinda common pratice even in uk all places ive worked ive never wore gloves although hand washing is always. As for pouring food back in rice cooke rthats just plain gross were was that

It is a restaurant near Rooseveltplaats.  They are nice but that was just gross. 

Thanks to those that have replied.  It really helps...

I'd be giving that restaurant near Rooseveltplaats a wide berth from now on, if I were you!

Yeah gloves are not needed, people just need to wash their hands. The rice thing though is really bad, are you absolutely positive that's what you saw?? Places usually keep that stuff in the kitchen, how were you able to see it?

they serve the rice at the counter.  both of us saw it.

I agree, the rice thing is just bad luck, avoid the place.

As to washing hands, well do not take it for granted ... not only Belgians but, generally, people in northern Europe have their own way of seeing things. It is better to avoid places where the same person preparing the food is also giving you the change (e.g. belgian snacks).

From Lyon to the south, things improve a lot.

Lol at ur last comment but ok each to there own i guess. However I have eaten at a lot of places in antwerp gent and lauven and not had any problems. Looks like you were unlucky sorry hun I hope you find better places to eat

I live in Hasselt, and I didn't face such problems. Restaurants here that I had eaten at were clean and the food tastes good. I had a problem with the coffee, it is not strong coffee and the tea as well very light.

Dear brooklynite,

I was kinda disgusted too when I first came here, a year ago. I've seen so many and starting to get really numb about it. Therefore I figured, the best way out is to prepare our own food. Haha! Of course that is not possible for everyday so, we can only make do with it.

People here are really weird. Foreigners or locals, not just the gloves they forget when preparing food. If you do notice, they don't wash their hands after they finish their business in the toilets. That is totally gross.

Anyway, all I can say is, just don't go think about it and you'll be fine. I had a hard time convincing myself that whatever I eat, will not kill me at least.. Ironic.

Government should educate food operators on hygiene and enforced certain regulations to honour and ensure they follow. I come from Singapore and we have such a system in my country. There will be spot checks throughout the year and each and every restaurants, stalls selling food are given ratings accordingly to the cleanliness and hygiene level. Patrons will be able to see the ratings as it is compulsory to display in clear view. Nice isn't it?

Best regards,

[at] the OP, I wouldn't worry too much about the lack of gloves, HCCAP has gone a bit mad in the last few years and if allowed they'd have everyone eating from sterile booths wearing bio-hazard suits, once the staff follow good hygiene procedures (as 9/10 do) you won't contract "death by rice"
As for the waiter(ess) throwing the rice back into the rice cooker.. I'd avoid that place like the plague in future, that is both cheap, (trying to save literally cents per portion) and more importantly hygienically atrocious! There are 100's of good quality restaurants looking for business every night. Vote with your feet.

I would steer clear from ANY Restaurant in that area. Lol and yuck.

The glove thing is apparently normal here and I don't really mind if the restaurant has a good reputation. I've been to an Italian restaurant where the just top up the garlic butter each time...don't want to know about the bottom butter's properties. :s

I don't know what kind of foods you guys like eating, but if you let me know, I can give you a personal list of restaurants to our liking. We love to eat out...poor wallet.

Hello All,

Since I first posted we have eaten at many restaurants and have seen this practice of "communal food" at other places.  We went to a restaurant in which the leftover chutneys/sauces from our meal were put back into the vats they came out of.  They waited until they thought we were't watching to do this.

We have also witnessed other behaviors which we find unsanitary but doesn't seem to concern most people here.  The worst being archaic bathroom manners by both adults and children. 

During our short stay here, we have also met quite a few people who have had food poisoning in the short time we have known them.  A friend is currently on a 20 day antibiotic treatment for a severe case of food poisoning.   


Jesus what goes on with food in antwerp

hannahhadman :

Jesus what goes on with food in antwerp

It's not confined to Antwerpen or even Belgium..
Plenty of places everywhere are sub standard when it comes to Hygiene and best practices regarding safely keeping/preparing food.

I've gotten a dose of food poisoning twice over here in 4 years.. and believe me, I've an Iron stomach so for me to be sick it must have meant there was something seriously wrong..

I've watched a show called the Smaak polite (taste police) on VT4 a few times, and that lad finds all manner of things in supposedly clean kitchens

hannahhadman :

Jesus what goes on with food in antwerp

LOL.  Apparently it's not getting enough respect as a vessel for disease.

Yeah that is true id forgot about thta show

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