Saturday, January 9, 2010

Delicacies from Various Traiteurs in Paris

Although it is uncommon to order food to-go at restaurants in Europe, there are plenty of of traiteurs in Paris to cater to your take-out needs.  In 2006, I indulged in trying different traiteur delicacies in my neighborhood in the 7th arrondissement and ate like a queen in the comforts of my broom-closet-sized apartment.

My wonderfully functional broom-closet studio:
(from left to right) View of my bathroom door, kitchen, and "dining/study room" from my bed

There were a plethora of Chinese traiteurs all over Paris, mostly run by Chinese immigrants from Wenzhou.  Unlike Panda Express in the U.S., these Chinese fast-food joints display cold prepared dishes and price by weight.  Then you can opt to have them heat your box of food in the microwave.  It doesn't sound appetizing, but I admit that I've visited these traiteurs a few times when I'm too lazy to transfer 3 times on the metro to go to Chinatown.  Many of these Chinese traiteurs offer Vietnamese fare, like rice noodles topped with beef balls and Vietnamese egg rolls.  My favorite item from any Chinese traiteur is the brochette de poulet.  Though, far from Taiwanese, it's super tasty and brings back memories of street food in Taiwan in the middle of Paris.  An interesting thing I observed in Paris is that you will be hard-pressed to find Taiwan-imported food products.  I couldn't find any Taiwanese soy sauce and other condiments, which I'm used to getting in the states, and thus I bought my first bottle of China-made soy sauce in Paris.  I apologize for going on about Chinese traiteurs without actually having photos to share!  Reember, I was in Paris before I cared about writing about food.

But I did take pictures of some other prepared foods from French traiteurs.  I first noticed prepared foods at my local fish monger's.  I wanted to get some pieces of cod, and I kept eyeing at the beautiful stained-glass looking seafood terrines against the wall and vowed to buy one everytime I came to the market on rue Cler (Here's also another list of stores on rue Cler).  A slice of seafood terrine with a piece of fresh bread and a small plate of salad make a delicious lunch.

Seafood Terrines

The most beautiful of these seafood delights was the salmon tower I got from the same fish monger on rue Cler.

(bottom up) Salmon tartare, sour cream and dill gelee, leeks, sour cream and dill, slice of smoked salmon, and topped with ground cherry, raspberry, and strawberry

I also love buying peel and eat shrimp while at the poissonerie for lunch.

Peel & Eat Shrimp

Just a few stores down from that fish monger, which I believe is La Sablaise Poissonerie, is Davoli-la Maison du Jambon, a popular Italian traiteur specializing in all sorts of dried and cured meats.  They also have an assortment of head cheeses.  I once got a trio to try out and liked them well enough to want to try and make some sometime this year.  Davoli is packed around lunch time and the late afternoons.  It's exciting having to make decisions quickly from an abundance of delicacies with a crowd waiting hungrily behind you, but I always end up leaving thinking "shucks, I should've also gotten this and that."

Davoli-Masion du Jambon sausages; Trio of head cheese

Like with many places where I've previously lived, I always end up regretting not visiting more places and trying more things.  Here are a few more photos of prepared foods I ate, and yes, I definitely wish I were wise enough to have explored more traiteurs.  When my mom came to visit me, I planned on buying some amazing traiteur foods for a picnic on the Champ de Mars (just a couple blocks away from my place), but alas that never happened because I was "too busy."  Next time, to hell with what I think I need to do;  I'm going to stop and smell the roses!  Mom and I did manage to have an impromptu picnic at the end of the Mouffetard market in the 5th arrondissement munching on crab meat potato salad and terrines and drinking from a bottle of rose flavored sparkling water while sitting on the curb of a pedestrian street.  Yeah, not very refined of us, but we were hungry, we couldn't resist the crab salad that would surely spoil by the time we arrive back to the 7th arrondissement, other people were sitting on the curb listening to a band play in the streets, and it was a gorgeous spring day in Paris.

Potato Salad with Crab Meat; Terrines

Zucchini and Shrimp Terrine from Le Notre

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