When I studied abroad in Paris, I was thrilled at the prospect of French cuisine at my fingertips. Crepes, macarons, croissants – all delicious and well-known treats that I was excited to eat on a daily basis. What I did not realize, however, was how diverse the food culture of Paris really is. Here are a few eye-openers that I learned while exploring the cuisine of the City of Lights!
1) Go to an outdoor market – every city has at least one, and they are a great way to buy fresh produce and meet local vendors! Most markets also have food stands with local snacks and food that are much more authentic than tourist trap restaurants. I try to go to a market in every city that I visit:
2) Recognize different cuisines in your city – like me, you may get to your city and want to eat only the local cuisine. It’s important to recognize that there is more to a city than what you perceive originally! One of my favorite meals to eat in Paris was a falafel sandwich – not quintessentially French, but delicious nonetheless.
3) Find food that reminds you of home – the sad truth is that you will miss American food. And while you may not find barbecue or Torchy’s Tacos abroad, you can find other close substitutes. It’s fun to see foreign takes on American cuisine (examples – a hot dog in a baguette rather than a bun, and Gruyere cheese at Chipotle in paris)!
4) Try new foods – this may seem like obvious advice, but you should definitely take it to heart. I went into study abroad with traditional tastes in food, but I seized the opportunity to broaden my tastes when I was traveling. I tried escargot in Paris and mussels in Montenegro – both unexpectedly delicious!