NOLA, with its diverse mixture of people, has inspired some fantastic cuisine. Settlers to the region figured out how to live off the land and utilize all of the available resources. For example, the Louisiana Bayous are home to many different types of vegetation and wildlife that have been eaten by residents for years. When you’re visiting New Orleans, whether it’s for Mardi Gras or a summer festival, there are a few traditional dishes that everyone should try at least once. The city is the perfect foodie getaway at any time of year. Here is a brief list of the top 4 traditional New Orleans cuisine every visitor should order.
Jambalaya dates back to the Spanish colonists and is a take on traditional paella. Jambalaya is a mix of rice, vegetables, meat, or seafood, depending on your preference, along with an assortment of different spices thrown into the mix. The best part about this dish is the taste and recipe can vary depending on the section of NOLA. Try some delicious jambalaya at Jacques-Imo’s Café located in the Garden District.
2 – Crawfish
Crayfish or commonly referred to in NOLA as Crawfish has been a staple food of the region for many generations. These small crustaceans are so popular that you can find them added to many different dishes. If your palette is more on the fancier side, give crawfish etouffee a try. This French-inspired dish is similar to gumbo, however, traditionally served over rice. If you prefer to keep it simple, grab a bucket of steamed crawfish for a mouthwatering meal. Just make sure you have plenty of melted butter nearby.
3 – Gumbo
Don’t be surprised if you find gumbo listed on many menus around New Orleans. This traditional stew can be traced back to both French and West African origins. The ingredients can vary, and you’ll find lots of different recipes. However, the gumbo typically calls for varies vegetables, such as onions, celery, and peppers. Along with either sausage, chicken, or seafood (a personal favorite). With so much variety, it’s hard to get bored with gumbo, plus it’s perfect for enjoying on a winter day. Stop by the Gumbo Shop conveniently located in the French Quarter for a tasty bowl of gumbo.
4 – King Cake
Finally, don’t forget to try king cake, which is traditionally available during Mardi Gras. If you decide to come out for Mardi Gras, you’re bound to come across king cake. The cake is symbolic of the biblical story about three wise men who visited baby Jesus shortly after his birth. King cakes are a mix of cinnamon roll and coffee cake topped with colorful icing on top. There is a plastic baby toy hidden in each cake to represent baby Jesus, so don’t eat too fast.