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French Vocabulary

How to Comment About Food in French

Camille Chevalier-Karfis By Camille Chevalier-Karfis on September 28, 2015
Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Food is often at the very top of French conversations. The French always comment on their food and at home, a cook always expects many compliments. So today, we’ll study how to make positive and negative comments about food.

If you are invited in a French home, you will have to comment on the food. Several times. Just saying “c’est bon” is not going to cut it if you want to follow French etiquette.

Even in a restaurant, it is common to express your satisfaction or disappointment to the waiter, and even sometimes to the chef – in a smaller restaurant, the chef will sometimes come out to talk to his customers. And he is fishing for compliments.

If you have to remember one compliment, I would go with “c’est dĂ©licieux” (it’s delicious): simple, yet very effective.

Note that the French comment on everything: the taste of the food and quality of the produce of course, but also the presentation, which is very important as well.

So, here are some useful comments to say about food, pointing out problems, or expressing your satisfaction…

  • Mmmm, c’était absolument dĂ©licieux ! Le poulet Ă©tait tendre, l’assaisonnement trĂšs fin et les lĂ©gumes croquants.
  • Berk, c’était absolument infect ! Le poulet Ă©tait super dur, l’assaisonnement complĂštement fade et les lĂ©gumes beaucoup trop cuits.

1 – Positive Comments About Food In French

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  1. La présentation est magnifique /superbe.
    The presentation is gorgeous.
  2. Que/Comme c’est beau. (Note the construction “comme c’est + adjective”)
    How beautiful.
  3. Que/Comme la présentation est belle.
    Difficult to translate literally. But it means “how pretty” , talking about the presentation.
  4. C’est vraiment appĂ©tissant.
    It looks tasty/appetising.
  5. J’en ai l’eau à la bouche (idiom).
    It makes my mouth water.
  6. Mmmmmm
    The sound the French will do when something looks appetising / tastes good – you’ll hear a lot of “Mmmm” when the French are eating!
  7. Miam !
    Yum!
  8. Je me régale.
    I am really enjoying it/I love it.
  9. C’est un dĂ©lice.
    It’s a delight.
  10. C’est vraiment/trùs bon.
    It’s really/very good.
  11. C’est dĂ©licieux.
    It’s delicious.
  12. C’est fameux.
    It’s delicious – a bit more old fashion.
  13. C’est trùs fin.
    It’s very delicate.
  14. L’assaisonnement est parfait.
    The seasoning is perfect.
  15. La viande est trĂšs bien cuite, et tendre.
    The meat is very well cooked, and tender.
  16. Les légumes sont bien croquants.
    The vegetables are nicely crunchy.
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Mmmm ! C’est vraiment dĂ©licieux !!

2 – Negative Comments About Food In French

Now for comments you’ll make later, on the way home in your car…

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  1. Qu’est-ce que c’était laid (or “moche” in colloquial French)
    It was so ugly.
  2. Berk (or beurk, alternate spelling and pronunciation)
    Yuck.
  3. C’était immangeable.
    It was inedible.
  4. La viande Ă©tait super dure.
    The meat was super tough.
  5. C’était beaucoup trop cuit.
    It was really over done.
  6. C’était pas assez cuit / c’était cru.
    It was not cooked enough / raw – you may be exaggerating a bit there but it’s OK!
    [Note that in formal French, you would need to say “ce n’était pas assez cuit”. But more and more, we drop the “ne” in spoken French.]
  7. Le poulet Ă©tait tellement fade.
    The chicken was so bland/tasteless.
  8. La sauce n’avait aucun goĂ»t.
    The sauce had no flavor.
  9. Les huĂźtres n’étaient pas fraĂźches.
    The oysters were not fresh (you should really have not eaten them! – you might now need to read this)
  10. C’était trop sucrĂ© / salĂ© / fort / poivrĂ© / Ă©picĂ© – piquant / lourd / brulĂ© / glacĂ©.
    It was too sweet / salty / strong / peppery / spicy / heavy / burnt / very cold.
  11. C’était infect / dĂ©goĂ»tant.
    Or in common slang: c’était dĂ©gueulasse (short “dĂ©gueu”).
    It was disgusting.

You will find many comments on food used in context in my intermediate level French audiobook À Moi Paris 4, chapter 13 and 14 “Dans Un Grand Restaurant”.

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