French Food Words

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Learning French food words is a great way to expand your French vocabulary. Whether you are a student of French, a businessperson who meets with French-speaking clients, a family preparing for an upcoming trip to France, a worldwide traveler, or a couple jetting off for romantic weekend in Paris, understanding the meaning of a French menu and how to order food in French is a skill that will definitely come in handy.

First, let's review some basic mealtime French vocabulary:

Le petit dejeuner (breakfast); baguette; croissant; pain (bread); pain au raison (raisin bread); chocolat chaud (hot chocolate); le dejeuner (lunch); le diner (dinner); hors d'oeuvres (introductory course/entrée); plat principal (main course).

french food words Poisson = Fish

If you're going on a date to a French restaurant and want to make a good impression, you can wow your date with your knowledge of the following French food words and restaurant vocabulary:

  • Plat du jour = daily special
  • Carte du jour = today's special
  • Un peu de chacun, s'il vous plait = a little of each, please
  • Vin du maison = house drink
  • Fromage = cheese
  • Soupe = soup
  • Salade = salad
  • Viande = meat
  • Poisson = fish
  • Fruit = fruit
  • Legumes = vegetables
  • Dessert = dessert
  • Je suis vegetarien = I am vegetarian
  • C'est delicieux = this is delicious
  • Pomme de terre au gratin = French scalloped potatoes with melted cheese
  • Pommes de terre persillées = boiled potatoes sprinkled with parsley and melted butter

What you may be surprised to learn, however, is how many French food words you already know and use in your daily vocabulary! English has adopted more French words into its vocabulary than any other language, meaning you already have a head start when it comes to ordering food in French. For instance, the very name restaurant, although pronounced differently, is the same in both languages. Test yourself and see how many of these other common French language phrases you are familiar with:

  • A la carte
  • Le menu du jour
  • Entrée
  • Canard a l'orange (duck with orange sauce)
  • Coq au vin (braise of chicken cooked with mushrooms, garlic, and wine)
  • Creme brulee
  • Digestif (after-drink meal)
  • Bon appetit!

Need a fix of your favorite morning Java? To add to your already expanding list of French food words, here is some French vocabulary to use when you order beverages:

  • Une Noissette = Espresso with cream or milk floating on top
  • Cafe au Lait = Epresso with hot milk
  • Cafe Leger or Allonge = Watered-down Espresso-strength coffee
  • Chocolat Chaud = Hot chocolate
  • Thé = Tea
  • Thé au Lait = Tea with milk
  • Glaçons = Ice cubes
  • Une bouteille de l'eau plat = Non-carbonated bottled mineral water
  • De l'eau gazeuse = Carbonated mineral water
  • Une carafe d'eau = Pitcher of tap water
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