A Definitive Ranking of the Tomorrowland 2019 Food Options

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Courtesy of Tomorrowland
A fan enjoys a beer at Tomorrowland 2019.

Templeton, the rat from the animated children’s movie Charlotte’s Web, had the right idea -- a fair, err festival, is a veritable smorgasbord of food. Given that the fifteenth incarnation of Tomorrowland was the biggest edition of the festival yet, it makes sense that concession options at the three-day fest would be as equally massive.

Many dance fest attendees across the globe swap food for alcohol, perhaps deluding themselves into thinking the fermented carbohydrates will sustain their hunger. However, one cannot live on beats and beer alone. Food and water are essential for life and as such, food and water are essential to raving. Being that there were so many food options at Tomorrowland, I struggled to choose what I wanted to eat on day one, until I looked at the design on the napkins. “Enjoy the Tastes of the World,” it read, so that’s exactly what I did.

Ranked on a scale from 0-5 bass drops, here are some of the tastes I enjoyed during weekend one of Tomorrowland.

Baaallin'
I may be an adult, but I still have the humor of a six-year-old boy. So when I walked past the food stand called Balls & Glory, I did three things: laugh, take a picture, then stand in line. This is the namesake of a popular Belgian restaurant, and the concept is simple -- meatballs stuffed with stuff, and paired with your choice of mashed potatoes and gravy or a watermelon salad. The pork meatball with three cheeses is the standout, while the chicken meatball stuffed with truffles is a foodie’s dream. Little did I know that balls would become my culinary theme of the weekend. 
Rating: 4.5 bass drops

K-Flop
When I lived in Los Angeles, I visited Korean restaurants often: I love banchan, every form of kimchi, and my favorite is a rich, fermented bean paste stew. So when I saw the Korean food vendor -- whose name was just simply "Korean Food" -- I got excited. But as it turned out, that lackluster title was the first red flag. I asked if they had kimchi; they didn’t. Red flag number two. Ramen noodles with a soy base and dumplings bearing a striking resemblance to Chinese dim sum were red flags three and four. I left feeling cheated and still hungry.
Rating: 1 bass drop

Banh Meh
Pho and banh mi are my favorite Vietnamese dishes, and at Tomorrowland, the spirit of banh mi was on the lineup via meat and veggie options. There could have been a lot more cilantro, and the same goes for the amount of the quintessential pate. Without the right amount of this spreadable paste, the sandwich arrived dry. It wasn’t the world's best banh mi, but it hit harder than the lackluster "Korean Food" food. 
Rating: 3 bass drops

One Rib to Rule Them All
Outside of the food vendors, Tomorrowland has four fully operational restaurants by world-renowned chefs -- five, if you count the secret Michelin-rated restaurant hidden in the design of the mainstage. But the restaurant that caught the attention of this passersby was Brasa, an open-fire grill concept right by the Leaf stage overlooking the water. I gravitated towards the ribs, but the sun, sand and heat exacerbated the cooking process, making my ribs flavorful, but a bit overdone.
Rating: 3.5 bass drops

All Belg’ Everything
Belgium has the best beers, full stop. It was thoroughly enjoyable to salute the country by eating Belgian fries and a Belgian meatball with my Trappist and Chimay drafts at the Belgian beer hall. Another thing Belgians do well: waffles in many forms! A separate food vendor on the grounds centered their dessert menu around the waffle, offering obnoxiously sweet treats in layers like ice cream, cotton candy and fried chocolate pieces (yes, you read that right) or ice cream covered in honey, cinnamon, with a butter-slathered waffle in between the saccharine monstrosity. I only had a few bites of the former before my sweet tooth just gave up.
Beer Rating: 5 bass drops
Fries and Meatball Rating: 3.5 bass drops
Sugar with Waffle on the Side Rating: 2.5 bass drops

Ballin’ On a Budget
What can I say, I love a good Swedish meatball, so of course, I had to swing by this stand and get my gravy and lingonberry fix. It was great, and I didn’t need to go to Ikea to satiate the craving.
Rating: 4 bass drops

Buon Meatballs
There’s nothing quite like fresh pasta, so when I saw a sign advertising  “Homemade Pasta,” I B-lined to the stall. I got the dish with the Italian meatballs (as if there was any other choice), and although they were good, a bit more tomato sauce would have elevated this meal to headliner status. 
Rating: 3 bass drops

Frika What?
I ordered a frikandel , native to the Netherlands, mainly because it looked like a fun thing to say. (And I was right, it totally is!) Frinkandels are made of minced meat then put together like a hot dog, fried, then placed in a bun with toppings. There’s a little bit of spice in the meat mixture too, which helps cut through the rich, fried texture. It’s frikin’ good.
Rating: 3.5 bass drops

Festivals 2019


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