Top French Dishes to Try in France

France is an oasis of culinary inspiration and if you get the chance to visit this romantic city, there are a few traditional dishes that you just have to try. With a culture that puts emphasis on lounging around cafes and dining out as a pastime, it’s no wonder that they have created one of the world’s top culinary scenes.

Annie Koehlinger is passionate about food and cooking and loves learning about unique dishes from different areas and cultures around the world. Currently, Annie Koehlinger is pursuing a degree in culinary studies and plans to pursue a career in culinary arts from there. Recently, her parents surprised her with a trip to Paris, France where she had the opportunity to learn about traditional local dishes.

Duck Confit

This dish was created out of a method that was used in order to preserve the duck for future eating. By cooking the thighs of the duck in its own fat, the meat becomes tender and beautifully moist. Usually the dish is served seared with a crispy, brown skin. Additionally, it is typically served with  side of potatoes, sautéed in duck fat and garlic.

Moules Marinieres - Annie Koehlinger

Moules Marinieres

Moules Marinieres

While mussels are typically associated with Belgium, the French have adopted them as a popular dish. Putting their own spin on them, they typically marinate them in a white wine broth and add shallots and parsley. And, most importantly, they are always served with a side of crispy banquette.

Steak Tartare

With this dish, the meat is famously eaten raw. High quality beef is finely chopped and then mixed with onions, plenty of seasonings and a topping of grated cheese. On top goes a runny egg yolk and a side of rye bread to go along.


Although it was made famous because of the children’s movie, this dish already had quite the following in France. It was created in Nice and consists of garlic, eggplant, zucchini, onions, basil, bell peppers, thyme and additional seasonings to taste. It’s a versatile dish that can be eaten for lunch, dinner or just as  a side.

Crème Brulee - Annie Koehlinger

Crème Brulee

Crème Brulee

This well loved dessert can be found on menus all around the world but it got its start in France. Served at room temperature, it consists of a thick custard base and a sugary, crunchy top, typically achieved by a torch. It tastes of vanilla and often is served with a topping of cream and fresh fruit.

Taking Great Food Photos

Thank you for reading my blog. Cooking is my passion and I hope to one day own and operate my own restaurant. I have always been interested in photography and plan to use photography to market my future restaurant. In the meantime, I have been honing my food photography skills while traveling. I recently read an article on Uncornered Market with 10 great tips for taking high-quality food photos while traveling abroad. A few of my favorites were:

“Show Genuine Interest and Curiosity.”

The article suggests that by expressing interest in a dish, you will encourage vendors or chefs to share a bit about how the dish is cooked. When I recently took a trip to Paris with my parents, I met several chefs and had the opportunity to learn about their cooking techniques. My discussions with chefs at Capella Padregal and Café Med stand out in particular.

“Go Where the Food is”

I have traveled to a number of diverse locations, including Paris, Cabo San Lucas, and Boston. Sometimes my family and I will eat at prestigious restaurants and other times we will look for unique restaurants that locals frequent. This allows me to try many new flavors and techniques that I can one day incorporate in my own cooking style. The article recommends finding offbeat meals at street food stalls, delis, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and open markets.

Dumpling photo

This image from the original article demonstrates how showing context can enhance the dish’s aesthetic appeal.

“Show Some Context”

The article recommends including drinks, condiments, or even other diners in the photo to give the dish some context. An example picture in the article, showing a pair of chopsticks holding a dumpling, helps illustrate this concept. I like the idea of using the photo to capture the atmosphere of the restaurant and the full experience of the meal but I would also suggest including side dishes.

View the full list of suggestions here:

Thanks for reading,

Annie Koehlinger


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