The Best New Orleans Food the Big Easy Has to Offer
The Big Easy, 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 available resources to make their food. For example, the Louisiana Bayous are home to many different types of vegetation and wildlife that have been consumed by New Orleanians for years.
When you’re visiting New Orleans, whether, 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 7 traditional New Orleans cuisines every visitor should order. Which one first? We’ll let you decide!
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 food preference, and an assortment of different spices thrown into the mix. The best part about this dish is that the taste and recipe can vary depending on the New Orleans section. Try some delicious jambalaya at Jacques-Imo’s Café located in the Garden District of New Orleans.
2 – Crawfish
Crayfish, commonly referred to in New Orleans as Crawfish, has been a staple food 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 fancy side, give crawfish etouffee a try. This French-inspired dish is similar to gumbo; however, it is 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 food origins. The ingredients can vary, and you’ll find lots of different recipes. However, the gumbo typically calls for various vegetables, such as onions, celery, and peppers. Along with either sausage, chicken, or seafood (a personal favorite), you must get that piece of french bread on the side. It’s hard to get bored with gumbo with so much variety, plus it’s perfect for enjoying on a winter day. Stop by the best restaurant in New Orleans for gumbo, the Gumbo Shop conveniently located in the French Quarter for a tasty bowl of gumbo.
4 – King Cake
Don’t forget to try a 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.
5- Red Beans and Rice
In New Orleans, creamy and comforting red beans and rice is served on Monday. The dish is made with slow-cooked dried Camellia red beans and spiked with ham hock and spicy sausage. For almost 40 years, Riccobono’s Peppermill has been observing the Monday tradition, but you can order it any other day of the week too.
The first thing most tourists want to eat when in New Orleans is a beignet from Cafe du Monde, and why not? They are a fantastic square donut fried and covered with powdered sugar. Stop by the French Quarter and Cafe du Monde, get a beignet and coffee with chicory, and you are on your way to a real New Orleans day.
7- The Po-Boy
Many of the restaurants of New Orleans offer the iconic Po-Boy. It is a gut-filling overstuffed sandwich between to pieces of french bread. One of the best you can get in New Orleans happens to be at Bears PoBoy’s at Gennaro’s. Their stand out po-boy is the roast beef. Other popular flavors are the pork po-boy, oyster po-boy, the shrimp and lobster po-boys, and many more.
So Much Good Food
With so many delights to feast upon, the restaurants in New Orleans offer the best of Cajun and Creole traditional dishes. The French Quarter has long boasted the best of everything from the above delicacies to the olive salad, bananas foster, pralines, and more. Whether it is your first trip to the French Quarter or choose to go out to one of the many yummy restaurants New Orleans has to offer, the food there is a massive part of the experience.
So, come on down to a New Orleans restaurant or two. Pick the restaurant that has the food you want to try first, top it off with bananas foster with a side of ice cream, and you’ll get to experience one of the best meals ever… New Orleans style.