Why Do French Eat Frogs Legs?


The French are very selective about food. It seems that the cult of food reigns in this country. The French highly appreciate fresh and high-quality products, reverently approaches the table setting and serving dishes. France has a huge number of restaurants and cafes. Many are ready to drive a hundred kilometers just to have lunch or dinner at their favorite establishment.

Do French really eat frogs’ legs? French really eat frog legs because of their nutritional properties, low-calorie content and tasty meat. France is the number one country for eating frog legs, and the French eat an estimated 80 million frogs a year (that’s 160 million frog legs).

Why Do French Eat Frogs Legs?

Why do the French eat frogs’ legs? The French eat frogs’ legs because of their nutritional properties and exquisite taste. The French began to eat frog legs during the Hundred Years War with England as ordinary people simply had nothing to eat except frogs, snails and onion soup. In the 16th century, frog legs became a delicacy. 

Initially, frog legs appeared in the region now called Auvergne — Rhone — Alpes, where there are many rivers, ponds and streams here. This rainy land is a great place to catch frogs. The main edible frog species are considered to be Pelophylax kl. esculentus, the most common in Europe is a hybrid of a marsh frog and a pond frog that originated 5,000 years ago.

In 1977, the French Ministry of Agriculture banned the massive catch of amphibians. You could catch frogs only for 15 days a year.  In those days, one of the largest exporters of frogs was the Soviet Union. They were caught mainly in the Volga and Dnieper deltas and delivered to France and Italy. Today, chefs prefer fleshy American bullfrogs (adults weigh up to 500 g). In Asian countries, hybrid breeds are specially bred for culinary purposes and supplied to Europe.

The French got their nickname (frogs) from the British back in the XIV century. At this time (from 1337 to 1453), an exhausting war was going on between the English and French nations, which still could not divide the thrones and territories. Each side tried to hurt its opponent, and the British did not miss the opportunity to prick the French for their love of frog legs.

The second most popular version of how frogs became popular in France appeared because of the royal prohibitions on hunting in the forests of the aristocracy. Given that most of the country’s population was engaged in agriculture, people had to eat meat every day. Therefore, I had to look for an alternative to deer, partridges. An excellent substitute for steel frogs

In fact, there is still debate about whether, at that time, the French really loved these amphibians so much or were forced to include frogs in their diet due to food shortages during the war. There is an opinion that it was during this time of famine that the famous French dietary onion soup appeared. Nowadays, frog legs are quite popular, not only in France. They also like this delicacy dish in other countries of Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and Russia.

Are Frog Legs Popular in France?

Are frog legs popular in France? Frog legs are extremely popular in France thanks to the taste and nutritional properties. Delicate frog legs meat, which tastes like fish and chicken, is valued in France to this day and is considered a national pride. Every year the French eat approximately 80 million frogs (160 million frogs legs).

Contrary to popular belief that frogs legs belong only to French cuisine, the facts suggest the opposite: they are eaten in Portugal, Greece, Italy, Spain, the Caribbean, and even in the Midwest in the United States, not to mention Asian countries — in Vietnam, for example, frogs legs are sold in the form of instant convenience foods, like dumplings or chicken legs.

In the twentieth century, a real scandal erupted in France related to the disappearance of frogs. Frog legs used to weigh only 20-50 grams (for one individual). This means that you need to use 3-6 frogs to make you full.

To prevent the extermination of amphibians, the French government in 1980, at the legislative level, banned the capture of frogs for subsequent consumption. Moreover, they even created a special voluntary movement for the protection of frogs. They help frogs during migration to safely get to their swamp.

But the French did not give up their delicacy: frog legs are now imported here from Indonesia, Greece, Thailand and Albania. According to some reports, hundreds of tons of frog meat are eaten every year all over the world. Frog meat is low-calorie, contains many vitamins and minerals. The legs taste like chicken but with a slightly fishy flavor.

What country eats frog legs? Even though France is the country that eats the most frogs’ legs, Asian countries, especially China and Thailand, eat a lot of frogs’ legs, too. Restaurants in Germany, Belgium and the United States cook frogs legs raised on special farms and exported from Asia due to their tender meat and dietary properties. 

From time immemorial in France, there has been a debate about whether it is generally safe to eat frog legs. But as always, it is possible to single out supporters of this dish and those who are categorically against eating these amphibians: some doctors believe that eating frog “meat” is very useful; others, on the contrary, argue that it is even dangerous. Various animal welfare societies are advocating for the protection of frogs. As the defenders of nature trumpet with one voice, it is simply absurd to kill frogs just because of someone’s whim. Indeed, out of the entire mass of the frog’s body, which is 125 grams, only two legs go on the table.

Currently, in France, catching frogs outside a certain calendar period is punishable by a fine. Most of the frog legs in the country are exported from Asia and other European countries. They are not an everyday dish at all, and most of the population has never tried them.

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