It has been already three years (oh wow!) since I moved to the wonderful, ma belle, Brussels. This fact touches me for many reasons, namely for the reason that the time flies when you are trying to figure out a new city and culture but also that after all those years, that I can finally consider myself a local, as much as anyone can be in this international, multicultural nest. And believe me, there are still uncountable things I find amazing, strange, inexplicable but also so many areas of beautiful and charming Belgium I am yet to discover. I do look forward to that, because after three years, Brussels has grown on me, and I will tell you why. But first, I will have to start with a small area of the European capital that interestingly enough most of my friends associate with me. I always name it as the best place for food, bars, fresh fruit and vegetables and really an area where you can find practically everything. Allow me to present you this glorious little Africa in the heart of Brussels - Matongé.
If you are like me, a person who would love to have travelled everywhere in the world and visited mother Africa, but you unfortunately never got a chance, then this district of Brussels will keep you fascinated. I remember when I was walking through Matongé for the first time, I was simply looking around in disbelief, with my mouth open. For me it was so unbelievable to have that strongly preserved African culture in the very heart and centre of Brussels.
As a matter of fact, Matongé neighborhood is called after a well-known district in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Kongo. In Brussels, it is a beautifully multicultural area and a black district with Congolese and other African people, who have been proudly safeguarding their own culture and habits. There is a high probability that the moment you will walk into this neighborhood, you will be enchanted by the traditional African music, and right away get carried away by the people who will be dancing in their traditional clothes all around you. I would warmly recommend this area to you, ideally on a warm spring/summer night, where you can simply have the most affordable drink in the unique restaurants and bars, and eat by far the most delicious food I have tried in Brussels. Yes, it is that good! But I promise I will tell you more about the restaurants soon. As I come from Belgrade, a city of locals with warm, contagious energy, I found this area to be a surprising yet perfect fit.
But Matongé is so much more than great food, atmosphere and music, as you can find almost everything here. From African stores, hairdressers, music and cinema, this area offers a rich choice everyone. I would warmly recommend you to try out their authentic, fresh fruit and vegetables, exotic spices and herbs. For a cosmetics lover such as myself, this area is ideal, as you will see a huge stores selling mostly hair products. Trust me, you will be stuck there forever. Just a friendly tip, to avoid hilarious hair days, keep in mind that some of these products are not really suitable for every hair type (just warning you, speaking from my own experience).
Finally, I wrote about Matongé ma belle from the bottom of my heart, as it is really an association with warm, cozy Brussels. However, that is just a beginning to my Belgium adventures, so stay tuned to find out more.
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