Studying abroad is a time that all university students look forward to during their four years. Classes aren’t necessarily a top priority; rather students care more about the city’s nightlife, culture and of course — the food. In this series, we ask those who are currently making their friends jealous with awesome Facebook posts to give us some insight about what they’ve been eating. If you plan to study abroad in the same city, perhaps you’ll learn a thing or two.
SU: Spoon University
MC: Maria Cho, a senior studying International Relations and Global Business at ACCENT and Université de Paris – Sorbonne with the USC Paris program.
SU: What dish were you most excited to try? Have you had it yet? Did it live up to your expectations?
MC: I want to try escargot. I have yet to try it but am slowly working up to it. The grand and complete process includes several steps – I first needed to get comfortable with the idea of eating snails. Then it took me a couple days to figure out how to say, “Where is a good escargot restaurant?” in French so that I could ask my host mom. I finally got a recommendation from my host mom who enthusiastically asked all of her friends for a good place for an American to first attempt it.
SU: What’s the best dish you’ve eaten there so far?
MC: I have the biggest sweet tooth, so the best food I’ve had so far are all desserts. In Paris, they have a pâtisserie, or a pastry store, on every street. There are also beautiful and incredibly skinny people on every street. I have yet to solve the mystery of how the two coexist. This is what a standard pâtisserie looks like.
SU: Any really great cheap restaurants you’ve found?
MC: There is this amazing falafel place called “L’As du Fallafel” in Paris. There’s almost always a huge line, and they have a really good vegetarian option and I have gone there an embarrassingly large number of times.
SU: Where are you living and do you cook for yourself or go to a dining hall or eat out? What’s your typical dinner like?
MC: I’m living with a host family in Neuilly which my host dad explained to me as the “Beverly Hills of Paris.” I have dinner with my host family four times a week, and the remaining days I go out and explore food options. It would be difficult to describe a typical dinner since Paris is such a cosmopolitan place. But speaking from just my experience with my host family, the one constant component of each meal has been bread and cheese. This picture (taken at a restaurant called Hippopotamus) is also not an uncommon meal in Paris: wine, steak, fries, salad and bread and cheese.
SU: Have you traveled to anywhere else? What did you enjoy eating there?
MC: I had fish and chips in London. I’m sure this is common knowledge to every other college-educated, literate person, but London is where I found out “fish and chips” means “fish and fries.” I was pleasantly surprised.I also visited Denmark and Sweden and tried a meatball open-faced sandwich (picture below). I was told that I had to try meatballs when I went to Sweden and to have an open-faced sandwich (which is basically a single slice of bread with the food items stacked on top) in Denmark. So this meatball sandwich was the perfect way to multitask.
SU: Any American foods that you’re really missing since you can’t find them in Europe?
MC: Chipotle. I have found Chipotle in Paris (with great effort), but it’s not the same. You go in expecting it to taste the same, but it’s not.