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It’s polite to comment on food in French

In her latest article explaining the vagaries of French, language expert Camille Chevalier Karfis explains the linguistic etiquette of dining out

Experiencing the cuisine is a major part of travelling in a French-speaking country.

In France, people will expect you to comment on the food you are eating. A waiter at a restaurant may even ask you: “Est-ce que tout s’est bien passé aujourd’hui” meaning “was everything to your liking today”... He is fishing for compliments!

Commenting on food is even more important if you are guests at a French house. Not doing so would be rude.

So, let’s see what you could say:

If you have to remember one thing out of this lesson, it would be the following: “c’est délicieux”. It means it’s delicious, and it’s the standard positive food comment!

Change the verb tense according to the situation: “c’était délicieux” (after the meal), “ça a l’air délicieux (before the meal). You could also say: “c’est un délice” (what a delight).

Another positive comment would be: “je me régale”, which means... well... how delicious... I’m very much enjoying myself. It’s a bit more sophisticated, but still very much used.

You could also say: “c’est très bon” = It’s very good. Simple but effective.

In an informal context, you may say: “Miam”, which is “yum” in French. Or just “Mmmmmm” which is the sound the French make when they enjoy food. Pay close attention, you’ll hear it a lot when you are in France!

Feel free to combine them all: saying “Mmmmm: c’est délicieux. Miam ! Je me régale. C’est vraiment très très bon !” should delight your French host!

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