Clafoutis, bouillabaisse, and confit de canard are all delicious French dishes that you should definitely eat. But do yourself a favor – don’t try to pronounce them. Even ones you may think you know how to pronounce (hint, crêpes and macarons), you’re still probably pronouncing them incorrectly. It’s okay, though. Stop worrying about the pronunciation and just give these 19 foods a try… you won’t regret it.
1. Boeuf Bourguignon [Buff bohr-gee-nyon]
This classic French dish is a beef stew made in red wine with bacon, onion, and mushrooms. It was made popular by the famous Julia Child. If you ever find yourself in a French restaurant with this on the menu, you won’t regret ordering it. But please, just point, don’t try to pronounce it.
2. Bouillabaisse [Boo-yah-bes]
A traditional fish stew, usually featuring at least three types of fish: red rascasse, sea robin, and European conger – a favorite for shellfish lovers.
3. Clafoutis [Clah-foo-tee]
A baked French dessert made of fruit, typically black cherries, and covered with a thick, flan-like custard. It’s not very common in French restaurants, so believe me when I tell you: try it if you find it.
4. Confit de Canard [Con-fee de Cah-narh]
Considered one of the finest French dishes, duck confit is a dish made with the whole duck. If you’re lucky, you might even get some potatoes fried in the leftover duck fat on the side. Yummy.
5. Coq au Vin [Coke oh vahn]
One of my personal favorites, coq au vin is a chicken dish braised in wine with mushrooms, pearl onions, and sometimes garlic. The French like their wine.
6. Crêpes [Krep]
No, it’s not “krape.” Although these delicious sweet or savory thin pancakes are immensely popular even in the United States, you were still probably saying it wrong.
7. Croissant [Cwah-sahn]
Just like crêpes, these flaky pastries are also very popular around here but are often mispronounced. There’s no good way to explain it except to put on your best French accent and you’ll probably be halfway there.
8. Croque-Monsieur [Krohk mih-syurr]
If you can find a really good Croque-Monsieur, it is a perfectly fried ham and cheese sandwich with butter and oftentimes a mustard sauce. Its cousin, the croque-madame, is the same deal but with a fried egg on top. Boom.
9. Foie Gras [Fwah Grah]
Considered a French delicacy, foie-gras is a dish made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. Once again, when ordering, do yourself a favor and just point at the menu. It’s not foy-grass.
10. Gougères [Goo-jehrr]
So many things could go wrong when pronouncing this savory pastry, but you won’t regret trying it. Having made these myself several times, I can attest to the greatness of combining cream puff dough with several types of cheese, mustard, and other herbs.
11. Haricot Vert [Ar-ee-koh Verr]
Yes, these are just green beans. But you’re probably not saying it correctly and the French usually stir-fry these with butter and fresh herbs. Everything is better with butter, really.
12. Jambon-beurre [Jahm-bonn Burr]
Literally, this means ham-butter. In French, it is a popular sandwich made with a baguette, butter, ham, and oftentimes cheese. Yes, it’s just a ham and cheese sandwich, but the French do it better, trust me. Like I said, everything’s better with butter, right?
13. Kouign Amann [Queen Ah-mann]
A flaky pastry made with puff pastry and layers of butter and sugar, then sprinkled with some sugar on top. Difficult to make and pronounce, but very easy to overeat.
14. Macarons [Mac-ah-rohn]
Like crêpes and croissants, many of you have probably tried these, but you’re all probably saying it wrong too (no shame). It’s mac-ah-rohn. Macaroons are the dense coconut ones found in bakeries around here, macarons are the much more difficult to make, light and airy sandwiches native to France.
15. Poutine [Poo-teen]
Probably the least heard of on this list, and yet the most worth trying. This dish is french fries with cheese and gravy. The gravy is sometimes even made from animal fat, such as duck. It’s most popular in Canada, but if you ever see this on your menu, close it right away and order this, then thank me later.
16. Salade Niçoise [Sah-laad Nee-swahzz]
Simply a salad made with tomatoes, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, and anchovies, dressed with a vinaigrette. Even if you’re not a salad person, you’re guaranteed to still love this.
17. Soupe à L’Oignon [Soup oh luh-nyohn]
Probably my favorite on this list, French onion soup is made with beef stock and onions cooked in butter, then topped with slices of various cheeses and croutons or a baguette. I’ve made this at home and practically licked the bowl clean; this is definitely worth trying.
18. Steak Frites [Stake freet]
Simply a dish of steak and fries, yet never pronounced correctly. By that, I mean it’s not “frights.”
19. Tarte Tatin [Tart tah-tuhn]
The French version of apple pie, but flipped upside down. Plus they caramelize the apples in butter and sugar before baking, so pretty much it’s infinitely better.