Indian Grocery in Brussels – Ideal Cash and Carry, Molenbeek

By alison - July 2, 2011 (Updated: May 30, 2016)

Indian ingredients in Brussels

Get your spice on!

Not long after Andrew and I returned to Brussels, we discovered one major drawback to our trip to India – Indian take-away in Brussels just didn’t do it for us anymore.  We love Indian cuisine and were blown away by the flavours we had in Bangalore, Goa and Kerala and by how each region varied so much in taste and ingredients.

Several weeks after our trip we had a craving for curry but found the options in Brussels seriously lacking. Andrew and I find ourselves ordering take-away Indian food several times a month. When our local curry shop changed hands and went seriously downhill, we scouted a few other establishments in Brussels. What we found was either very expensive or unoriginal. All of the menus basically feature the same six or seven curries. Most of the recipes people are familiar with come from Northern India and the food we ate in the south was completely different. We were seriously disappointed.

I promptly ordered some Southern Indian cookbooks from and hit the kitchen. The only problem was where to get what I needed. Finding authentic Indian ingredients in Brussels can be tricky. Or at least it was, until the lovely Apolina of Bombay-Bruxelles suggested I try the Ideal Cash and Carry. Now I’m cooking up a curry storm.

My love-affair with curry started when I was very little. My friend’s parents were Indian immigrants in Canada and her mother was always cooking something delicious. While my friend favoured hot dogs and Kraft Dinner, I always wanted to try what her mom was cooking. If you’ve ever known an Indian mama, they love to cook for and feed people, so I was a welcome guest.

I started experimenting with cooking Indian food myself, back in university, when Patak’s curry pastes began appearing on our grocery store shelves. Later, I started to branch out and try cooking Indian curries from scratch. Armed with my new Southern Indian recipes I was ready to learn some new tricks. But first I had to stock the pantry.

Masala Dosa

We fell in love with Masala Dosa in Bangalore

So, a couple weekends ago, we ventured to Molenbeek to check out the Ideal Cash and Carry and it lived up to expectations.

The store isn’t huge, but it is jam packed with good things – many of which you don’t have to be into Indian cuisine to appreciate. It’s worth the trip just to buy spices alone. You can stock up on 250g bags (or much larger) for little more than a euro, as opposed to those tiny jars you get at the supermarket for three euro or more.

The quantity of basmati rice was also staggering. Although I personally don’t have use for a 20kg bag of rice, it was nice to be able to get something larger than the tiny 250g bags at the GB (That’s just one meal for us!). I found a 1kg bag for only a few euro that will last me for a few weeks. Nice!

Another good buy at the Cash and Carry is nuts. I found large bags of cashews, almonds and mixed nuts for much less than I pay and a regular grocery store.

For those folks who are on gluten-free diets, the Cash and Carry stocks rice and gram flour which make good wheat replacements.

Indian Treats

Some of the delicious Indian treats we sampled

As for Indian ingredients, there is a large selection of pre-made curry pastes, like Patak’s, a small selection of fresh chilli peppers and other Indian produce, some pre-made Indian meals, a small frozen section with great samosas and some Indian dairy products like paneer.

So, if you’re looking for Indian ingredients in Brussels, I highly recommend the Ideal Cash and Carry. If you’re looking for some great Indian recipes and techniques, stop by Apolina’s wonderful blog Bombay-Bruxelles for some inspiration. As for me, I’ll be in the kitchen.

Ideal Cash and Carry
Chaussée de Gand, 33
1080 Molenbeek-Saint-Jean

We’ve  created a database of all of the great international grocery shops here in Brussels for you to enjoy. Know anywhere else to get Indian ingredients in Brussels? Do you have a favourite ethnic grocery shop in Belgium? Share them with our readers in the comments.

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Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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  1. Comment by Shweta

    Shweta July 2, 2011 at 18:33

    Thank you Alison for this post! I feel better knowing that there is an Indian grocery store in Belgium that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison July 2, 2011 at 19:49

      There are a bunch of small shops around Brussels and probably in most of the bigger cities but this one definitely has the best selection I’ve seen so far. It’s not huge but they pack a lot of stuff in a small space and the prices are more reasonable than what you find at the regular grocery stores.

  2. Comment by Sylvain

    Sylvain July 2, 2011 at 23:52

    Glad you finally discovered the plac, it’s a really nice spot for indian products. I always go there thinking that I need only one or two things and go out with a bag full of spices and indian specialties ( + the mithai = indian sweet that I love so much!).

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison July 6, 2011 at 10:26

      Sylvain, that is how I am at all grocery stores! I go for one thing and leave with a bag full 🙂 Half of which I have no idea what to do with but that’s all part of the fun 🙂

  3. Comment by Shweta

    Shweta July 3, 2011 at 13:13

    They have mithai too!!! I am leaving now! Ideal Cash and Carry, see you soon!!!

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison July 6, 2011 at 10:25

      Ok Shweta, what is mithai? Is this some Indian wonderfulness I have yet to discover?? do tell!

      • Comment by Shweta

        Shweta July 6, 2011 at 10:44

        Alison, I am sure you have tried mithai before. Mithai is Indian sweets such as gulab jamun (sweet brown balls), gajar halwa (shredded carrots soaked in sweet syrup), etc. Its usually in the desert section of a restaurant menu. My favorite is kaaju katli is diamond shaped sweet made from cashews, sugar, cardamom powder and pure butter (ghee).

        • Comment by Alison


          Alison July 6, 2011 at 11:37

          Ah ok. I have had some before yes, although I typically prefer savoury, sour, spicy things to sweet ones 🙂

          • Comment by Andrew

            Andrew July 6, 2011 at 12:04

            It’s me who likes the sweet things 😀

            All of it sounds good… i particularly like the ones with pistachios… no idea the name! 🙂

        • Comment by Shweta

          Shweta July 6, 2011 at 15:58

          Andrew, its pista burfi… yummm…

  4. Comment by Indian

    Indian July 3, 2011 at 13:41

    Nice post Alison. For Masala dosa and Idly, I highly recommend the restaurant Aahaar in Antwerp. You are gonna love that. Just google and you will find it.

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison July 6, 2011 at 10:25

      Thanks for the tip! I will check that out the next time I’m in Antwerp for sure!

  5. Comment by Kash

    Kash July 11, 2011 at 18:57

    Hi Alison, I live in London and I am about to start my job in Brussels within next few weeks. I would have an extremely busy schedule due to the nature of my work. Is there any shops there who would home-deliver the Indian groceries? Is there any shops or services that you are aware of? Your help would be really appreciated.

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison July 11, 2011 at 19:36

      Hi Kash, I don’t know of any specifically Indian shops that deliver although you could certainly inquire at the Cash and Carry. The larger grocery chains do offer home delivery service and would have limited Indian items. Check out Del Haize and Colruyt on line for their home shopping options.

      • Comment by Kash

        Kash July 11, 2011 at 20:29

        Many Thanks Alison. Also the photographs of the Indian dishes you have put here looks gorgeous.


        • Comment by Alison


          Alison July 11, 2011 at 20:39

          You’re welcome and I hope it helps!

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison July 18, 2011 at 11:54

      Thanks for the tip! That’s good to know.

  6. Comment by Kirk

    Kirk August 9, 2011 at 16:00

    Seems like Ideal Cash and Carry is the spot for you two! And from the photos the food looks great. How are the meals coming out for you?

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison August 9, 2011 at 20:53

      So far it’s been great! I even made some curry for my parents while we are visiting Canada and they loved it 🙂

  7. Comment by Rahul

    Rahul October 11, 2011 at 12:59

    Hi Alison,

    I recently discovered your website – and it is exactly what I have been trying to do in Belgium as an expat for the last one year. Find places for travel, photography and flavor the restaurants :-). So Thanks!

    I can add to the list of Indian grocery shops. I usually go Chaussee de Wavre, 217 or 225 (in Ixelles). There are couple of Indian grocery shops there & nearby. They are not easy to miss.

    BTW, I was amazed by how delicious the food you cooked looked. You need to start an Indian restaurant – I travel to London to find decent Indian restaurant – Belgium has so far disappointed me in this regard!


    • Comment by Alison


      Alison October 11, 2011 at 13:39

      Thanks so much Rahul! I’m so glad you’re finding CheeseWeb useful. Thanks for the tips on the Indian Groceries. It’s always good to have a back up list 🙂 I love cooking Indian food but I think if I had to do it every day it would take the fun out of it, but I agree, the offerings are not so good here in Brussels.

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