Indeed, this comment most likely was a reference to hop shoots "Hopscheuten" which is classic Flemish dish. Today, the best known growing area is Poperinge, Belgium, which is only about 50 miles from Ghent.
There is a website dedicated to Hopscheuten
From a write-up on a Hopscheuten book...
"Hop shoots are a culinary delicacy. Formerly food of the common people, today to taste the most expensive vegetable in the world, only in better restaurants between Christmas and Easter."