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 Understand French menus..   For mobile devices


A short French-English Glossary of  essential food terms.  

Translations of the main expressions found on French menus

Some other useful pages:
Paris visitor guide
Paris travel guide
France hotel guide

On this page:  EntréesMain courses
Desserts Methods of servingVarious

Entrées / Starters

Andouillette: roast spicy tripe sausage.
Bouillabaisse:
Mediterranean fish soup.
Charcuterie:
cold meats
Consommé:
a thin soup
Croutons:
bits of deep-fried bread, or fried or grilled bread with chese.
Crudités:
selection of vegetable salads
Cuisses de grenouilles:
frogs' legs
Escargots:
snails
Feuilleté:
puff pastry wrap
Jambon:
ham
Jambon de montagne, jambon cru:
cured, uncooked ham.
Paté:
ground meat or liver paste.
Paté de foie gras:
very rich goose liver or duck liver paté.
Potage:
soup
Quenelles:
fingers or dumpling of ground white meat or fish, usually served with a creamy sauce;
Salade composée:
mixed green salad
Saumon fumé:
smoked salmon
Terrine: Paté,
cold meat

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Plats principaux / Main courses :

a) Fish & seafood:

Brochet: pike (see quenelles above)
Crevettes: shrimps
Daurade: Sea bream
Flétan: Halibut
Fruits de mer: selection of shellfish and crustaceans
Homard: lobster
Loup (Loup de mer) : Sea bass
Moules: mussels
Poulpe: octopus
Raie: Ray
Rouget:  Red mullet
Truite: Trout
Saint Jacques (noix de..) : scallops
Sandre:  Sander or pike-perch
Saumon: Salmon
Thon: Tuna fish

b) Meat:

(see also methods of serving below)
Agneau: lamb
   Carré d'agneau: rack of lamb
    Navarin d'agneau: lamb hotpot
Biftek haché: hamburger steak
Boeuf: beef
  Boeuf bourguignon: beef casserole in a wine sauce
Canard: duck  
    Magret de canard: duck's breast
Chèvre: goat
Chevreuil: deer
Dinde: turkey
Lapin: rabbit
Oie: goose
Porc: pork
   Filet mignon de porc: pork tenderloin
Poulet: chicken
Sanglier: wild boar
Veau: veal.
    Ris de veau: veal sweetbreads (made from a calf's pancreas)

Methods of serving ...

 ... and describing:
These terms can be applied to various meats or fish dishes.

Béchamel: in a white creamy sauce
Beignets: fritters
Côtes de ...  chops
Chasseur: In a rich gravy, with a variety of mushrooms.
En daube: in a stew.
Escalope: filet (veal or turkey)
Farci: stuffed
Fermier: fresh from the farm
Forestière: In a rich wine based sauce, with mushrooms and onions.
Aux Lardons: with chopped bacon
Pané: breaded
Poêlé: pan fried
Provençal: served with herbs and mediterranean vegetables
Rôti: roast

Cooking times for steak:
Saignant: rare
A point: medium
Bien cuit: well cooked

Desserts:

Beignets de ...: fritters of ...
Coupe .... Generally a fruit and ice-cream or sorbet based dish.
Crème brulée: caramel custard
Flan: custard tart
Fondant au chocolat: warm soft-centered chocolate pudding
Mousse au chocolat: chocolate mousse
Tarte tatin: caramelised apple tart
Plateau de fromages: cheeseboard. See cheeses

Various:

Fondu savoyard : (Fondu comtois, fondu de fromage) a pot of melted cheese, in which diners twist bits of bread.
Fondu bourguignon: A pot of hot oil, in which diners cook small pieces of tender beef.
Raclette: A tabletop grill, under which diners grill cheese and slices of charcuterie. Served with hot potatoes, gherkins & pickled onions

See also: Understand the menu in Spain

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