Chinese Food in France (Helps with Homesickness)

Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans, whether you are actually celebrating it or not! This week is always hard for me because I’m usually rather homesick, more so than at Christmas since Christmas actually exists in France (albeit a less excessive form of the holiday… I need an overload of decorations, people!) Luckily we did something this week that helped with the homesickness: ate lunch at an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant.

Eating out in France is not common for us since we can’t really afford it, but I make an exception for Chinese restaurants. If I could find a decent Mexican restaurant where I live, I would make an exception there too, but I’ve been having no luck finding one. Luckily there is a good Chinese restaurant near Chambéry with offers an all-you-can-eat buffet (buffet à volonté) and it reminds me of an American-style restaurant because it is huge:

Finding restaurants that serve more than French or Italian food can be hard outside of the large cities, and even in Indian or Moroccan restaurants, épicé is not what Americans would call spicy. Every time I travel I make sure to find a restaurant that serves food that I can’t find in the Alps, such as falafel and hummus. There’s only so much cheese and potatoes I can take, which is surprising because I really LOVE cheese and potatoes.

The lack of variety of food that we take for granted in the US is what makes me homesick often, and I’m not just talking about in restaurants. I would give anything to find frozen mini tacos in my local grocery store. There is usually one small section of international food, and even though you can find fajita kits, Asian soups and occasional British items, it just isn’t the same. Luckily Picard offers more choices in the frozen food department (bagels!), but some days I just really want some nachos, you know?

For now I’ll take advantage of the Chinese restaurant and its side of the highway exterior and non-French decor.

Le Palais Cantonais is just outside of Chambéry, on the borders of Barberaz and La Ravoire. Lunch is 13€ and dinner is slightly more, but there is more food available in the evening (and karaoke on weekends!). Plus they accept tickets-restaurant, so thanks French government for paying for half of my lunch.

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  • http://www.boeingbleudemer.com Cynthia

    I’ve never ever seen a Mexican restaurant in France, not even in Paris where the restaurants are quite diverse!

    I’ve realised that in Paris we eat mostly Asian food when we go out: Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Nepalese, Indian or Iranian … my favourite is the Nepalese because when you ask for spicy it’s quite spicy :)

  • Zhu

    All you can eat buffets are not common in France, I don’t think I know any in Nantes. I went to one in Paris, that’s it.

    feng was so disappointed with Chinese food in France… especially at the traiteur, because the food is microwaved before being served and it kind of defies the purpose of Chinese food, which is usually steamed or fried.

    On a side note. I’m having troubles seeing your blog correctly (IE), because of the pop-up windows and the social media bars. :-(

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    Evil IE! Try again, I deactivated the Apture bar at top (been meaning to do that for a while anyway) and got rid of the Follow Me sidebar. The Wibiya bar at the bottom should stay minimized most of the time.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    We ate a Mexican restaurant just south of Annecy a few years ago. It was so colorful!

  • http://webtaz.blogspot.com/ Taz

    Nous non plus n’allons pas au resto très souvent, voir jamais, mais ce dimanche nous nous payons un Subway qui a ouvert à Toulon… Ça me rappelle le Québec ;)

  • Anna

    While in Paris I only felt homesick by craving random food I knew I couldn’t get in France – even if it was something I never/rarely ate at home. Had the strongest cravings for Olive Garden, not Italian food but Olive Garden specifically, even though I never eat there. I made myself deviled eggs to cure that craving. And I was devastated when I learned there were no Reese’s Pieces in France. Though after coming back all the random food I craved has been disappointing so far. And I think American food is giving me somach aches.

  • aurora7

    4 years ago i went to Manana (with the ~ as in tomorrow) in Geneve, near the gare. It was quite pricey but I remember being pleasantly surprised with their Mexican food. you should check it out!

  • http://www.american-in-france.com Cynthia in Chambery

    Ive eaten here several times but I find the food really oily and it gives me a stomach ache. I REALLY miss Mexican which doesnt exist in this region. I found it in Paris, owned my a Mexican woman, but she had Frenchified it. Petit portions all dressed up pretty, very unspicey, and very unsatisfying. I guess I’ll just have to wait until the US trips.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    Gare Cornavin? I will have to check it out!!

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    I know the feeling! I crave food that I know I can’t have, then when I go home and eat it, it’s not as good as I thought it would be and makes me sick.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    Il y a un Subway à Aix-les-Bains (à 20 km d’ici), mais pas à Chambéry. Bien sûr qu’on y va parce que j’adore le pain mou ( et ça me rappelle l’Amérique du Nord aussi). Je déteste les baguettes et leurs croûtes dures. C’est trop nul pour faire des sandwichs.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    We should try a Mexican place in Geneva sometime!

  • ferdibarda

    Wow I’m really surprised, I think you’re the first person I hear about that actually seeks those all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurants. I remember I went once to something like that with some friends, we were in a suburban zone and ended up there. The food was greasy and there was nothing but families for the Sunday out. I thought to myself “never again”.
    I guess I’m nothing but a snobbish Parisian :(

  • Kevin Smith

    So you’re in France, country of gastronomie and fine dishes, and you’re craving Mexican Food? Really?

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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