Paris Series: Escargot Appetizer and Lunch in Latin Quarters

Now … this blog entry is about food and only about food … how’s that sound to you?

I did not expect that there were so many eateries here along the narrow streets at the edge of the Latin Quarter. I don’t really know what the street is called or the restaurant I went into. It was so hard to choose because it appears that everyone of them had such great deals. What I like is that they are fixed price menus … all around the 12-18 Euros price range for three courses.

I already know what I wanted … something I had never seen before let alone tried but had heard so much of … snails, or in a better word escargots.


Ordering the drink is a no brainer … Perrier, the carbonated spring water bottled somewhere in France. It’s French … that’s all it matters to me. Ordered a large bottle because I was so darn thirsty. This sure beats any pop drink when you’re thirsty. This bottle is 5.50 Euros … expensive right?


It is in France I discovered what the baguette should taste like. I mean, we had baguette at home, sometimes bought from the supermarket, sometimes Suanne baked ready made ones. They are OK and had never understood the fuss about the french loaf.

But holly molly, the baguettes I had in Paris is like a million-trillion times better … no kidding. They are so good I could have just have a meal on them alone … no spread, no butter, nothing … just plain naked baguettes. The crust are so crusty that it splinters apart breaking it. The insides is so soft and airy. I fell in love with baguette and looked forward to them at every place I went in Paris and Brussels.

Back home, I learnt that there is actually a law in French that defines what a baguette is — and that it must contain ONLY water, flour, yeast and salt. Nothing else! If the baker is to put in a single raisin, then by law it is not a baguette. Can someone from France confirm this?


Escargot is normally served as appetizers but to me this is the main meal. There are just six pieces of small snails. I expected the snails to be bigger. They came with snails tongs and fork. I was fumbling trying to figure out how to use that thingy until some guy came over and showed me how. That looked easy enough but after he walked away, I tried again … I got it all wrong again.

I put down the tong and used my fingers instead. That was easy.


The snails looked very greenish and unappetizing. I would not say that it tastes great, not at all. They are somewhat rubbery and chewy. Would I order this again the next time I’m in a French restaurant? Probably not.

It appears that the snails are not cooked in their shells. They are removed from the shells, cooked and then put back inside again before serving. Hmmm … why bother putting them inside again I wondered?


The main meal is the Duck Breast which came with a baked potato. The baked potato is good — much better than the normal ones we have in Canada.


The duck breast is hard and appears to have been fried. There are just six slices of them. Served in Orange Sauce, it gives a certain tanginess. Plate looked good but taste wise, it’s so-so.


For dessert, I opted for three types of cheese. I am not particularly fond of cheese myself but ordered this because this one sounded more frenchy. Arghhh … blue cheese again but this one is not too bad. Goes well as a spread on the baguette. Question … do the French spread these type of cheese on baguette?


I had a window table and took my time enjoying my food and watching the tourists go by. I liked this meal … a lot.

“Eat snails” … checked!

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  1. yumsinger

    Hi Ben,
    Did you try one of those crazy hotdogs you get from the Parisien bakery that is smothered in bechamel sauce and cheese.

    They are sooooo tasty and sinful!

  2. MammaViv

    Your postings on your european trip is making me want to go back right now!! Your blog is the first top 5 websites I read each morning. Love it. Can’t wait to see what’s tomorrow’s postings.

  3. tigerfish

    The way you described how the snails were cooked reminds me of how the Nyonyas cooked the ayam buah keluak!

  4. Windy

    Oh no, more food! As some people said, it makes me want to go to Paris and have the food NOW!

    I tried snails before, but not in France. I have a mix feeling about snails. I guess I would need to try it in Paris someday. Hmm… can’t wait to see your next post – more French cuisine please! 😛

  5. Ben

    Hi Yumsinger: Huh? What crazy hotdogs? How do they look like? What are they called?

    Hi MammaViv: What? You have been in Paris a few times already and you still want to visit again?

    Hi Tigerfish: I just googled Ayam Buah Keluak. They looked tasty.

  6. Psycho Dude

    Damn, that all looks really tasty. The French food is really great, I can’t say I have eaten it in their capital itself yet, but definitely will be a place to visit once as well :).

  7. Chris

    I have had escargot a couple of times as an appetizer but mine came already shelled an in a broiled escargot tray, with wine and butter. It was actually tasty, but I am like you and wouldn’t go out of my way to get it again.

  8. Nono

    You ca use any bread you want, but a “pain de campagne” with a thick crust is very nice with cheese or some bread with raisins in it (you can find those in a lot of bakeries in Paris). And you don’t spread, you take about the same amount of cheese and bread.

    And the PAUL pastry you ate is called a “cramique”.
    ps : I’m french

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