Fortune in France

 

By Elizabeth Greenberg, Staff Writer

La gallete des Rois (in English, often known as a king cake) is typically eaten in France in celebration of the festival of Epiphany during the Christmas season. A small plastic or porcelain figurine is buried in the cake, and the guest who has the figurine in their piece of cake becomes king for the day.

 

 Fortune in France

By Elizabeth Greenberg, Staff Writer

La gallete deking_cakes Rois (in English, often known as a king cake) is typically eaten in France in celebration of the festival of Epiphany during the Christmas season. A small plastic or porcelain figurine is buried in the cake, and the guest who has the figurine in their piece of cake becomes king for the day.

Sounds a little bit like a fortune cookie, doesn't it?

In the United States, it's probably impossible to come up with two cuisines regarded so differently as Chinese and French food. French food, to most Americans, symbolizes richness, elegance and a certain amount of snobbery. Chinese is what you order when you want something cheap and you're too lazy to cook your own meal, or even to leave your apartment. But the two cuisines have a remarkable number of similarities. Both cuisines, for one thing, vary widely by region. For example, most Americans would mis-identify Southeastern French cuisine, which relies on ingredients like sauerkraut and pork sausage, as German: the food we think of as French is closest to southern French cuisine. In China, food from northern regions tends to be based more heavily on wheat-based foods than food from southern regions. And both countries take their food very, very seriously.

As such, it's not really surprising that Chinese food is generally quite good in France. Unusual local dishes like salt-and-pepper frog legs, ginger salad, join traditional favorites like spring rolls and Beijing roast duck. And in a stark difference from American cuisine, the price tag can be quite high: Chen Soleil d'Est, for an extreme example, averages about US$100 per head for a meal.

On an interesting side note, French food is gaining some traction in China, too (not too much, given that at some prominent restaurants, the cost of a meal is approximately one third of the average monthly salary.) There are over a dozen French restaurants in Beijing alone.

Best Restaurant Worldwide

I know, you're probably wanting to know about the places where the food is the best, but this restaurant is too interesting to pass up. Davé Cheung's in Paris has been extremely popular for over 20 years—especially with American celebrities. Regulars at the restaurant include Tobey Maguire, Kate Moss, and Leonardo DiCaprio. And interestingly enough, instead of menus, the owner tailors dishes to individual patrons based on what they won't eat and how hungry they are.

Au revoir until next time, when we head to another continent entirely!

 

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