Best Soda City Vendor: Belgian Waffle TruckBy Sarah Fulwider
The Belgian Waffle Truck is a local vendor with a global history that brings a taste of Belgium to Columbia every weekend at Soda City Market!
Owners Jean Louis and Yvette Ledent have been in the food business for years. Their story began as restaurant owners in Belgium. After several years of success there, they moved to the U.S. to try and continue that success. They later closed those restaurants to work as food science professors at the University of Illinois, and after about 8 years of that, they managed retirement homes. Through it all, Louis and Ledent did everything together – including their move to the South. They came to Columbia, SC, because they had friends here and it was the perfect size to make a name for themselves, and soon established the Belgian Waffle Truck.
They take pride in the history that brought them here and the fact that they promoted and planned this business themselves from the beginning. This small business success story has also brought happiness to the people of Columbia. The truck can be found every week at Soda City and many of their regular customers depend on that.
“We’re established here. We have a lot of regulars,” Ledent said about their community presence. “Yvette will often knit or crochet little things for the children that come by. We know the people.”
They’ve given Columbia the opportunity to experience Liege, Belgium – their hometown. In Liege, you’ll find the authentic and famed Belgian waffle. The smell of Liege waffles wafts from the windows of the stores and is carried through the town's streets. This delightful experience is recreated on Main Street every week!
“I love the authenticity and environment. There’s always a line here and for good reason,” Soda City attendee Anna Moreno mentioned after enjoying her most recent of many Liege waffles.
The waffles are prepared with pearl sugar which caramelizes to form a crispy coating around a soft doughy center. Pearl sugar is a European-style specialty sugar made from sugar beets, and it’s a key ingredient in making that first bite both crunchy and fluffy. This waffle is so special because it’s an all-day snack and can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can also opt for a savory option or a waffle sandwich to eat as more of a meal.
“We brought something new and different, something people didn't know in South Carolina,” Louis mentioned. “They’re unique, not too sweet, and something that people straight from Belgium actually eat!”
The Belgian Waffle Truck is also notoriously easy to work with. They’re part of the USC meal plan and can be found serving students multiple times a week. Companies often hire them to provide a sweet treat early in the morning so employees are happy and full before they even clock in. They do private events as well and are open to any opportunity.
Make sure to stop by Soda City or give them a call to experience this delicacy of Belgium!