When I was in France, I sucked at ordering food. I couldn’t read the menu and I didn’t know what was “good” around there. Meals were an utter failure (once I tried to order pie but got a pineapple instead and in all my other attempts I ordered some form of cheese & potatoes). But my opinion of French food was redeemed on my last night in Paris when I splurged on a traditional French bistro dinner!
The French are serious about their drank. Not only did we get a glass of pink champagne (omg it was so good but now I have no idea what it was called), but they also supplied us with generous amounts of red and white wine. Now what’s a French meal without wine?
Now let’s get on with the appetizers. I shared appetizers with two other girls so that we could each get something different and sample a variety of traditional French food.
Described as “duck liver” on the menu, I did not realize at the time that it was the same as foie gras. In fact, it wasn’t until my birthday dinner when I had it again that I put two and two together. I was also disturbed by the Google images that showed up when I searched “foie gras” (DON’T do it unless you want to lose your appetite) because of the way the birds are stuffed (until they explode) in order to get the liver all fat. Bleh. So that was a no-go.
However, I was more receptive to the other French appetizers:
Yes, those are snails! They were actually very delicious, soaked in all that pesto. My tour director showed us how to pick out the meat with a tiny fork, dip them into the sauce, and pop! In my mouth they go. It was very different from the first time I tried escargot on a cruise. While those snails were chewy and took forever to swallow (yuck), these ones were supple and juicy. In conclusion, don’t eat escargot anywhere but in France.
And my personal favorite, FROG LEGS!!
Eating frog legs was not new to me. My grandma used to make spicy frog legs for me when I visited her in China. And I followed her cooking process from the minute we bought the frogs (alive!) in the market to the moment they hit the stir-fry wok. Obviously, these frog legs were cooked in a different way but still tasted great (and garlicky). For those of you still hesitant – it tastes like chicken!
Oh yeah, we also had live entertainment while we wined and dined.
I loved it when these little old French ladies from another table joined us when the music and dancing started, haha!
My entree was duck confit. It “is a French dish made with the leg of the duck. The confit is prepared in a centuries-old process of preservation that consists of salt curing a piece of meat and then cooking it in its own fat” (source). And now I know why it was so tender and tasted so good…
Finally, I ended with chocolate mousse. Enough said.
I’m so glad that I tried this dinner, or else I would have left France with a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended, heh). Now I’m all for trying traditional foods and local cuisines! What about you?
What kinds of cuisine do you like (or hate)? And if you enjoy French food, what are your favorite dishes (and ones that you avoid)?
Thanks for reading!
P.S. And now I find this article: 44 Classic French Meals You Need To Try Before You Die. Facepalm.