Bucking a coronvirus trend: that's this Brussels takeaway

Believe it or not, some businesses have actually benefitted from the horrendous health pandemic.

One such business is A-Mui, a tiny Taiwanese takeaway in Ixelles. How so? Well, its owner says that an awful lot of people in Brussels are yet to return to their offices to work and are still at home, either working or furloughed by their companies.

Hui-Chu Lin says she has benefitted from that, with many of the said home-based workers turning to her for a spot of lunch.Those who have will not be disappointed by the lovely traditional Taiwanese food she produces from the takeaway at the heart of bustling Ixelles.

Hui-Chu, born in Taiwan, has been in Belgium for 12 years and worked at the Taiwan Representation Office in Brussels for three years.Always passionate about food, she used to cook for her colleagues and then came by the idea of setting up her own business.

The problem was finding a suitable venue – not an easy task in Brussels – but she finally discovered the right place, close to Chausee de Wavre, and took the plunge – in every sense – one year ago.

She has not looked back,even though she opens only at lunchtime four days a week.The food is typical Taiwanese which she characterises as a cross between Chinese and Japanese. It is a small menu but consists of some nice dishes such as Bento Classique, the most popular which is served cold in Japan but warm in Taiwan. Taiwan food is cooked with less oil than Chinese so that makes it that much more healthy.

There is also the riz au porc braise, costing only €6 which is good if you just want a small portion of something. Taiwan also has its own burger, called Bao (just €4.50) which is cooked with steamed bread.Taiwan people, says Hui-Chu, eat no less than three hot meals per day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and she hopes to corner the market locally in providing quick, cheap (but tasty) warm food at lunchtime for the many people who live in this part of town.

She also provides catering for special events and has made no less than 100 moon cakes for the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival (1 Oct), a sign of her growing popularity.There is only one known Taiwanese resto in Brussels but that is more contemporary Taiwanese food while the food here is very traditional but no less tasty and flavoursome.

Don't be fooled by the simplicity of it all though: there is an awful lot preparation that goes into these incredibly well priced dishes, the ingredients of which are mostly sourced from Hui-Chu’s supplier in London.

She cooks everything herself on the premises and deserves lots of credit for helping to promote a cuisine that is unknown to most people. Some of her colleagues at the Taiwan Mission still come here for their lunch but, as much as she liked working with them, Hui-Chu is now very happy with her new culinary career.

A-Mui, Rue de l’Arbre Benit 26, Ixelles/02 687 7293/www.amui.be

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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