Food of Paris
The word 'cuisine' is of French origin, which is in itself saying a lot! So intricate in nature and delicate to the palate, French cuisine is more of an art form. The French have an eye for detail, which can be envisaged in the presentation techniques of various dishes.
Cheese, butter, black truffles (a type of fungi), wine, meats like veal and beef, etc. are the most commonly used ingredients to conjure a hearty Parisian fare. Breakfast is never a massive affair in Paris since the French prefer eating light. You must have the croissant, claiming its origin in France. Just in case the actual croissant doesn't appease you try the other forms of the light, flaky pastries like the Pain au Raisin (sweet custard-like filling and raisin), Pain au Chocolat (filling of pieces of chocolate) or a Chausson aux Pommes (baked with a filling akin to apple sauce). For a more savoury taste, try the French bread - baguette smothered with oodles of French Butter. The bistros and brassieres (French for breweries) serve some exquisite delicacies, which are a delight for meat and seafood lovers.
Some of the popular favourites you must try are Steak Frites (traditional steak with Frites), Huitres (oysters), Mouclade (mussels baked in cream and white wine sauce), Confit de Canard (duck confit), Beef Bourguignon (slow cooked beef stew with Burgundy wine), Chateaubriand or Filet Mignon (tender cut of prime steak pan seared in bernaise sauce), Coq Au Vin (chicken in wine sauce) or the well known Onion Soup (beef based broth, baked with onion & cheese) with Croque/Mounsier Madame (French version of the cheese grilled sandwich with ham filling). The more adventurous can try the Escargot (snails cooked in butter) or the Steak Tartare (finely chopped raw beef, marinated and seasoned) or even Cuisses De Grenouille (frog legs coated with bread and eggs!) Foie Gras or fattened duck liver, with a velvety texture and typically served with truffles, toasted bread and white wine, is a pleasure to the palate and demands a try when in Paris.
You owe it to yourself to indulge in some sinful decadence for dessert, so make sure you have room for enough. Choose from dessert soups, crème brûlée, soufflé, gauteux, madeleines, brilliantly coloured macaroons (visit Laduree, the shop that started selling these beauties) or simple ice cream (Berthillon sorbets are a must try! ) or chocolates; you will only be left craving for more!
Sample the crepes from the creperie stands while on the move. In an assortment of both sweet and savoury these ultra thin pancake like delights can make a quick snack as you amble around from one museum to another.
A visit to a Paris fromagerie will astound you at the sheer variety of cheese manufactured. Learn about cheese making techniques, the origin of ingredients while you sample some exotic varieties. Many bistros also serve other international cuisines, ranging from American to Asian. If you try the falafel on the streets, you will realise that this popular Middle Eastern dish has infiltrated the Parisian consciousness so much so that it is regarded as a local delicacy.
They say wine flows like water in Paris. Frenchie Bar a Vins or Juveniles or in just any other bistro, choose between the red, white or rose to compliment your food.
Although French food is meat based to a large extent, there are occasional cafes that serve organic vegetarian food in the likes of soups and salads.
You will be surprised to know Paris has several Indian food joints, including chains. Krishna Bhavan, MG Road, Gandhiji's, Annapurna, Desi Road are to name a few. Saravana Bhavan, in Saint Denis, a chain in over 10 countries serves pure vegetarian South Indian food. Complete with very Indianised names, restaurants in Paris will not give you an opportunity to feel away from home.