Wednesday, April 23, 2014

10 days in France - Impression on French cuisine

My friend was in France for about 10 days (Lyon & Paris) and these were her impressions / comments about France. This post focuses on French cuisine.

During her training in Lyon, she was invited to taste variety of French foods and wine in different restaurants. She got to discover the three meal courses culture (appetizer, main meal, dessert) and the long dining time. Some of her comments:
Why do French people eat bread at every meal?
I thought French food was presented in big plate but in small portion. But each time I had too much. Once I got a dessert that came with three balls stuffed with chocolate, I thought it was to be shared but gosh it was only for me, how can everyone finish everything?

And then we had this discussion about chicken breast vs drumsticks & wings. In Malaysia people in general prefer drumsticks & wings but in France, chicken breasts are more expensive than drumsticks & wings. Once she got a piece of chicken breast and both her and her coworker couldn't finish it as they didn't like the way it was cooked.

She also discovered the different operating hours of some restaurants in France. We reserved a table in a restaurant in Paris, and we were told that they only open at 8pm. I kind of gotten used to it, but she was very surprised and commented that most restaurants in Malaysia would have already going through several servings at this time. I told her that this is not the worst, at least in Paris some restaurants are open on Sundays, in my city, during Sundays we usually will eat at home as most of the restaurants are closed. Some even closed on Mondays.

Anyway, after more discussions, with another Malaysian joining in, we concluded that French cuisine are in general much more healthier than Malaysian foods, but in terms of taste they are less strong. My friend and me missed deep fried & spicy foods. So she actually asked for Tabasco each time she ate French food. I'm someone who needs fresh fruit everyday so after a day of French food I badly need something refreshing. We were walking around Champs-Elysees and I saw in Quick a small pack of fruit salad was sold at 5€. Don't you have vendors selling freshly cut fruits at very cheap price here, my friend asked me. No. And worst it was Sunday, so Monoprix was closed. We walked and walked and I asked around where in the Champs-Elysees area I can buy fresh fruits. People we asked didn't know. While walking towards Eiffel Tower I finally spotted a shop deep down into a small street selling fruits. What a relief!

Our Malaysian friend brought us to the Jewish area and let us try the falafel sandwich. It suited us very well as we love fried food, and in falafel it has fried chick pea balls plus lots of vegetables, and with chili sauce!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bénédictine D.O.M : A marketing success in Malaysia?


We were discussing about Cognac, a variety of brandy, that is popular in Malaysia, but less popular in France. Within my social circle in France, I seldom see or hear people drinking Cognac, while in Malaysia brand like Hennessy, Rémy Martin and Martell are so well known that they become hot gifts during Chinese New Year to business partners.

Then I told my coworkers about Bénédictine D.O.M, one of the confinement tonic for Chinese women in Malaysia after giving birth to a child.  This tonic is produced in France, in the Chinese name it is even called "French Bénédictine". My female coworker said that she has never heard of this, and it is certainly not a practice in France to drink this post-natal. She was even wondering how can the Malaysian women drink it if they are breastfeeding? I wonder the same. It consists of 40% of alcohol, how can breastfeeding mothers drink it?

Anyway, the real question is, why is this drink being included as something nutritious for post-natal women in Malaysia and Singapore, while it is not in the country where is it produced? Is it due to a successful marketing strategy? So the Malaysians and Singaporeans are being fooled then?

PS : According to Wikipedia, United States, Malaysia and Singapore are the three biggest consumer markets for this alcohol.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Three Malaysians in Paris

I had a friend coming to visit from Malaysia. We met in Paris, and a friend who knows Paris very well was touring us around. When three Malaysians get together, we have to talk about food. And when this friend asked if I was craving for Nasi Lemak, I hesitated. I could jump into any Malaysian food anytime since there is no Malaysian restaurant in my city, but I have to think about my friend who came all the way from Malaysia and could have authentic Malaysian food once she goes back. Anyway, thing sorted out as she just had a week dose of French cuisine and she was happy to try something else. So Malaysian food it is!

We chose three menu with the same appetizer and three different dishes (so we can share among us). The appetizer was delicious with freshly prepared curry puff, spring roll and mixed vegetables (taste similar to Lou Sang).

One of the main dishes : Nasi Lemak. The rice didn't have much coconut taste, I think they have to tailor to their French customers. I would give it 7 points out of 10 points, -1 point for the rice, -2 points for the sambal : once again it lacked the coconut milk, but the rendang chicken did taste heavenly.

The second main dish: curry laksa. The verdict : very authentic and scrumptious. The spiciness was just right at my taste. The ingredients were fresh.

I forgot to take photo of our third dish : Chicken satay. I was disappointed though. It didn't have the thick peanut sauce to go with, and it didn't come with a stick. It would probably suit the local better.

Dessert : corn and pandan steam cake.

Anyway, for 19€ per person, it served my craving well. Thanks to my friend who brought us there, and thanks to the other friend who didn't mind spending almost RM100 for these. With this price, I guess she could have gotten 10 bowls of curry laksa or 10 plates of Nasi Lemak in Malaysia.

Restaraunt Langkawi Paris

Note : It is a tiny restaurant with 17 seats. It was opened 6 months ago. You could call them in advise to prepare certain Malaysian foods that are not in their current menu.