What are the must try French food?

Aug 8th, 2009, 07:39 PM
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What are the must try French food?

I will be in Paris for one week. I've never had any French food before and would like to know what kind of food I should definitely try and order when I'm in Paris. Thanks.
xsandiax is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 08:10 PM
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Escargot comes to mind first. You'll then have an opinion about it. I found it to be an excellent vehicle for garlic and butter.

Quiche, my favorite.
LSky is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 08:18 PM
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Confit de canard, cuisses de grenouilles, crepes, chouquettes, croissant aux amandes, croissant beurre, pain au chocolat, baguette sandwiches....
MademoiselleFifi is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 08:46 PM
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OMG, you've NEVER had French food before? Is that possible?

I don't even know where to begin, honestly, but
Croque Monsieur and Madame

Oh, I give up. Really, there are so many French classics to try - get a good cookbook and check them out.
StCirq is online now  
Aug 8th, 2009, 09:07 PM
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I am charmed by your honesty.

I too do not where to start but please finish with chocolate and macarons.

Besides a cook book, a good guide would be useful as would a phrase book, so you know what the terms are.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 09:35 PM
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Their version of "steak" so you know how much better ours is in the US (just my opinion of course)
Dukey is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 10:14 PM
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I do not feel as though I should make suggestions unless I know where xsandiax is coming from. I would not make the same suggestions at all depending on what the national cuisine someone is used to at home. And in Paris, I rarely see Japanese, Brazilians and Americans ordering the same dishes.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 8th, 2009, 11:07 PM
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It is hard to find a lousy meal in France. Try to eat where the locals eat rather than head for a tourist restaurant. If you can get a good chateaubriand steak you can't get much better than that. I have some photos of French food if you're interested.
JeremyinFrance is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 12:06 AM
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Kerouac you are, of course, correct, however this is what I, as an Aussie, love to eat in Paris.

Croissant, pain au chocolat, macaroons, but first........

A rotisserie chicken from any local butcher and those FABULOUS potatoes that cook in the bottom of the rotisserie. I can feel my cholesterol soaring as I think about it, but what the heck, for a treat they are amazing.

Apple tart from Poilane bakery.

A freshly made sandwich. It doesn't seem to matter what the filling is, as long as you look for fresh, crusty bread.

Goats cheese with baguette - lovely for a mid afternoon snack.

Butter, so much better than I get here in Sydney, unless I really shop around. Ooops, there goes the cholesterol again!!
cathies is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 01:43 AM
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To help answer your question I went to the website of Chien Qui Fume one of the most traditional French restaurants we've been able to find since losing our old favorite Chez Clovis to a modernization. Practically everything on their menu is a very traditional French dish--starting with French Onion Soup, moving on to Steak Tartare and finishing with Floating Island. You can see their menu at www.auchienquifume.com But probably the best advice I could give would be just to book a table there and start eating. The place is on Rue Berger, right across from the park in front of the St. Eustache church by Les Halles.
JulieVikmanis is online now  
Aug 9th, 2009, 02:28 AM
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Jeremy - it's easy to find a lousy meal in France. A substantial number of the tourist area restaurants in Paris define the word 'disappointment'. France has been sitting on its self-awarded laurels for too long.

StCirq - if the OP has never been to France before then he/she will never have experienced French food, n'est-ce pas? I can cook 'French-style' in my kitchen here in England, but I wouldn't label it as French.

xsandiax - in my limited experience the best food is from small places where the locals go. There are experienced francophiles here who will be able to advise you, I'm sure. Enjoy Paris.
stfc is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 02:30 AM
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Food is regional and seasonal in France. Paris, of course has everything from everywhere, butbr />
Croissants and a million different types of bread.

Mussels, bouillabaisse, oysters (not in summer).

Soupe a l'oignon, garbure, pistou

Foie gras (controversial), ratatouille, french beans, Croque monsieur, croque madame, omelette,anything with truffles, gallettes, anything with cepes, cassoulet, merguez, Bayonne ham, saucisse, salade de chevre chaud, tartiflette, dauphinoise potatoes, lyonnaise postatoes, goose, duck, coq au vin, poule au pot, pot au feu.

Clafoutis, creme caramel, creme brulee, crepes.

And, then.. and then... the cheeses.... oh, the cheeses....
sheila is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 02:41 AM
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Ok, you got me hooked. I can't give up on your question. To help me organize my thoughts I went to the Paris Michelin Guide section on Classic French specialties and to a wonderful, now out of print I'm afraid, book called Gourmet Paris which is organized not by arrondisement or by restaurant type as so many are but by dishes. Here's my best shot with apologies and willingness to accept corrections re: ingredients, preparation, etc.

Andouillette--probably the most controversial food of France, a chitterling sausage made of innards. I've spent a lot of time in Paris and France and I've tried this dish several times but I have yet to find a way to like it. I think you have to be brought up on it. But if you're a really adventuresome eater, give it a whirl.

Tarte Tartin--apple tart

Aligote--from the Auvergne region, mashed potatoes with garlic and cantal or tomme cheese that is whipped into a concoction that produces strings over 3 feet long.

Blanquette de Veau--veal stew with a creamy base

Bouillabaisse--a fish stew from Provence, often Marseille, with saffron in the sauce

Tete de Veau--calf's head. Better than it sounds, it's a combination of leftover parts which include cartilege and fat so it's unctuous, but this is balanced by the gribeche sauce it's served with which has a sourish taste from vinegar and capers. I love it.

Cassoulet--a stew usually including duck confit, other meats and beans, from Southwestern France--Toulouse, Carcassone and Castelnaudry being the three competing towns which vie for "caiptol" of cassoulet status.

Charcuterie/coquinailles--pig products made into sausages, bacon, etc.

Cheese--the number of different cheese produced in France probably ranges in the hundreds. Some of the best IMO come from Normandy--Reblochon, Pont Leveque, Camembert, Brie. Eppoisse is a very gooey, stinky variety which is well worth searching out.

Coq au Vin--a chicken stew usually in red wine.

More to follow. This is kind of fun.
JulieVikmanis is online now  
Aug 9th, 2009, 03:29 AM
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Hi xs,

> JulieVikmanis on Aug 9, 09 at 05:43 AM <

Very good advice. "The Smoking Dog" has a good, traditional menu. It is also nice for people watching.

I like "rognons nature", "andouillette", "choucroute garnie", "gésiers de canard"
ira is online now  
Aug 9th, 2009, 04:42 AM
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<< I like "rognons nature"... >>

Some might label you disingenuous, ira... to recommend kidneys (usually veal or lamb), without offering the translation...

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 04:53 AM
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More typical/traditional French foods:

Creme Brulee--a vanilla custard with carmalized sugar on top so hard you have to crack through it with a whap of your spoon.

Crepes--sweet or savory, from street stands or as a main course from a restaurant specializing in crepes like Breizh Cafe which has outlets in Paris, Tokyo and Cancale--a tiny town in Brittany from which crepes come.

Souffles--also sweet for dessert, or savory for a main dish--puffed up with egg whites

Confit de Canard--duck roasted and preserved in its own fat, used in cassoulet or served by itself with fried thinly sliced potatoes

Pot au Feu--a chicken and meat stew with vegetables all boiled in broth

Fois Gras--preserved duck or goose liver. Controversial because of the way the animals are force fed to increase the size of their livers, but unctuous like butter. Rich and creamy.

Lapin au Moutarde--rabbit in a creamy mustard sauce

Hachis Parmententier--stewed served with a mashed potato topping.

Steak frites--broiled or fried beef steak with french fries

Quennelles--ground fish (most often pike) with cream shaped into ovals about the size of a large soup spoon and sauced with a creamy fish-based sauce

Gratin Dauphinois--thinly sliced potatoes baked with cream until they are done and a nice brown crust forms on top. Sometimes seasoned with onion and/or garlic.

Gigot de sept heures--7 hour lamb, stewed for 7 hours.

Ratatouille--a vegetable casserole from Provence seasoned with basil and other herbs and including eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes.

Rognons de Veau--veal kidneys served with a creamy red wine sauce

Roast chicken--the French think they invented it and maybe they did. Supposedly they judge the skills of a chef by how s/he makes it.

Salade au chevre chaude--salad with warm goat cheese which oozes out as you poke your fork into it. Salads may also be found with duck gizzards, a special treat.

Choucroute garni--an Alsation specialty. A sauerkraut base with pig products over it--weiners, veal sausages, blood sausages, pork chops--often smoked--and pork hocks. There are even variations that substitute fish for the pig products.

Plateau de fruits de Mer--an enormous platter of shaved ice topped by all many of cooked and raw seafood, the most common ingredients are oysters, langostines, bulots, periwinkles, crab and lobster

Escargot--snails cooked in butter and garlic and often stuffed back into their shells to be extricated with almost surgical like tongs.

Soup de Poissons--fish soup of unlimited variations depending upon what's available at the market with an equally unlimited number of variations of stocks.

Steak tartare--ground up raw beef either mixed with onions, ketchup, worsteshire (sp?) and raw egg, or served with them separately so that the diner can mix to his/her liking.

Tripes ala mode de Caen--tripe (sheep or cow stomach) stewed in Calvados See Andouillette above--same basic IMO nasty tasting stuff. It's truly an acquired taste if you can get beyond the smell. The same stuff is also featured in something the South of France calls Pieds de Paquettes where it's wrapped in a coat made from sheeps stomach.

Pieds de Cochon--pig's feet. One of my favorite foods. They can be served by themselves--sometimes in a mustard sauce, or the meat removed (a painstaking process) and used in a variety of trendy dishes in modern bistros.

Aioli--a garlic mayonnaise served with boiled vegetables and fish to dip in it.

Baeckoffe--another Alsatian dish, served in an iron pot, with a variety of meats and sliced potatoes.

Boeuf Bourguignon--beef stew cooked in red Burgundy wine.

L'oes au Moelle--beef marrow served in the bone from which it comes.

Brandade de Morue--pureed potatoes and salt cod with garlic

Daube de Beouf--another kind of beef stew, cooked in tomato and usually served with its thickened juices over cooked macaroni

Tartiflette--one of my all time favorite potato dishes. Chunks or slices of potatoes with cheese, cream and bacon. Doesn't get any better.

Flammekuche--Alsatian pizza with a very thin crust topped with onion, bacon and cream. Another winner in the cholesterol hall of French fame.

Herring in oil--smoked herring fillets and potatoes served in oil in a casserole. Often the casserole is set down on the table for the diner to take as much as s/he likes and then it is passed on to the next diner who orders it. The same may be done with pates in some of the more old-fashioned and generous bistros.

Pissaladiere--a wonderful rectangular Provencal pizza made with a flakey base and covered with onions and anchovies in an intricate pattern.

Poule au pot--chicken stewed in a pot with vegetables.

Truffles--not a dish but an ingredient to be sparingly shredded over appropriate dishes to drive up the flavor, the snob appeal and the price. Most often available in the late fall when they are harvested by truffle-snouting pigs and dogs by gnarling old men made famous by Peter Mayle.

I'm sure I've missed a lot, but this is a start and it has been great fun to put together.
JulieVikmanis is online now  
Aug 9th, 2009, 05:05 AM
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Macarons for a nice treat!
Ruby99 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 05:19 AM
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Someone said try a steak so you will know how much better those in the US are....

That might be true to some extent, but what I find amazing is how the French can take a relatively tough steak or piece of beef, and make it delectable simply by using various herbs and seasonings.
Barnum is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 05:27 AM
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definitely barnum, and on that subject, no-one has yet mentioned my favourite, "onglet aux eschalottes", the closest translation being beef skirt, fried with lots of sauteed shallots - yum. a typical dish you'll find in every Parisian brasserie.

brasseries are [generally] typical local restaurants which serve french classics more or less all day. great places to sample the sort of food that parisiens eat without breaking the bank.
annhig is online now  
Aug 9th, 2009, 05:51 AM
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Warmed goat cheese on toast a fave of DH.

Duck a l'orange a fave of mine.

Can't wait to hear what you try!
TDudette is offline  

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