French chefs provide a benchmark for cooking around the world with their careful choice of fresh ingredients and sauce-making skills. Modern French cuisine started with the arrival of sugar in the Renaissance period leading to a clear distinction between sweet and salty food. The growing use of butter and the arrival in Paris of Catherine de Medici’s Florentine chefs also played a major part.
The basic rules of French eating
Breakfasts are simply toasted baguette with butter and jam. On days-off, the routine is the same but eaten in a more relaxed fashion. The French don’t believe in grabbing a quick snack at their desks. They take convivial time over a sandwich of ham or cheese. In contrast, weekend lunches, whether eaten at home or in restaurants are leisurely affairs consisting of three or more courses. On work-day evenings, food is maybe a salad or soup and some grilled meat or fish with vegetables. The French like to dine out or entertain at the weekend and this is when regional culinary skills are showcased. And, we mustn’t forget the afternoon snack when French patisserie comes into its own.
Four French dining rules to follow
Despite their love of wine, croissants and oh-so-delicious pastries, the French always seem to maintain their svelte elegance. Follow these rules and you can enjoy as much French cuisine as you like:
- Apart from a small afternoon snack at around 4 p.m. stay clear of tempting in-between-meal treats.
- The French don’t associate food with guilt. So don’t feel guilty if you’re tempted to snack. Food is meant to be enjoyed.
- Keep a lid on the number of high-calorie coffee and fizzy drinks you enjoy during the day.
- Enjoy everything in moderation and make every meal an occasion.
Popular French classics
From regional dishes to seasonal dishes, classic French cuisine is sure to have something for you. Here are just a few of our favourite classics:
- Coquilles Saint-Jacques, which take scallops to a whole new level, is traditionally served at Christmas.
- French Onion Soup is made truly special with a slice of bread and melted cheese on top.
- Sole Meuniere is a simple, straightforward and lemony fish dish.
- Steak tartare is not for everybody but is a truly divine way of enjoying beef.
- Magret is duck breast cooked the way only the French know how to.
- Cassoulet also uses duck along with beans in a full-of-flavour stew.
Some French dishes that are often overlooked
While street vendors selling sweet and savoury crepes are a familiar sight in French towns and cities, Brittany has its own version made with buckwheat. They are filled with anything savoury from fish and meat to vegetables. Try these as well:
- Hachis Parmentier is comfort food at its best featuring minced beef under creamy mash.
- Piperade from the Basque country is similar to ratatouille but made mainly from onions, peppers and eggs.
- Pissaladière has a pizza-like base topped with onion, olives and anchovies.
Dine French with foodpanda
If we have tempted you with our glimpse of French cuisine then why not let foodpanda bring you dishes from some of the best French restaurants in Singapore? Try the steak or duck at L’Entrecote Customs House or French pastries at Boufe Boutique Cafe. If you have a passion for food from around the world, check out what foodpanda has to say about Korean food and other international cuisines.