Five foods of New Orleans
New Orleans is a city that just keeps giving. From its parades to jazz culture, to the marshlands and its deep history it’s full of fascinating features that tourists can explore. And its food heritage is a large part of that.
With Creole culture dominant, the fusion of foods has proved so popular they’re now perfected to incredible standards. Of course it helps that the Crescent City is located near the sea, resulting in some of America’s best seafood restaurants. No wonder New Orleans is known as a foodie destination, with gastronomic tours high on the list of activities in the area.
If you’re tempted to take a trip to this high-spirited historical city, here are the Flexicover team's must try foods.
It would be a travesty to leave NOLA without trying their signature sandwich of a po’boy. Gaining popularity in the 1920s when the oversized, comforting baguettes fed streetcar drivers on strike, the ‘poor boy’ sandwich was traditionally filled with fried shrimp and oysters, but evolved to contain meats, cheese and salads. Now they’re widely available in specialist shops, usually as a takeaway item but many are eat-in too. Head over in November for a festival dedicated to the meal, where po’boy makers get creative with their fillings – we love the sound of the fried catfish and hot sausage combo for starters.
Shrimp, or prawn, is ubiquitous across New Orleans: have it fried, barbequed, with salad, with dips, in soup, with pasta or as part of a platter. But the method that’s most typical for Louisiana is gumbo: a slow-cooked stew that’s loaded with soft vegetables, thick, flavourful broth and shrimp. Often, it’s served with rice but it’s a meal in itself. Other variations include a smattering of okra, a mix of seafood, or a dark roux for a base. Whichever way you try it, it’s guaranteed to be tasty in the stronghold of New Orleans.
Leave the calorie counter at home and dive into New Orleans’ signature treat of beignets. Lighter than a doughnut but similar in principle, a beignet (meaning ‘fritter’ in French) is a choux pastry that’s deep fried and dusted in icing sugar. It’s synonymous with Café du Monde in particular. The most popular of their eight outlets is the takeaway and sit-in café beside the French Market, where guests enjoy their café au laits and beignets with a perfect view of St Louis Cathedral on one side, and the rushing Mississippi River on the other.
There’s no beating fried chicken from the southern states, where it originated and was perfected. It’s a great example of cross-cultural cuisine, as it combined preferences of West African and Scottish heritages to create a new dish that’s now universally loved. A good southern fried chicken combines juicy, tender meat with a crunchy, Cajun-spiced crumb. It’s easy to see why it’s an any-time-any-place kind of meal that’s available from almost every restaurant in New Orleans, though Willie Mae’s Scotch House is known as the go-to place in NOLA.
The world-famous Tabasco sauce is created in Avery Island, a two-hour drive away from New Orleans, where the McIlhenny family still harvest chilli peppers and create the sauce onsite. Unsurprisingly, its tongue-burning taste penetrates the city’s flavours. You’ll always find hot sauce served in restaurants alongside ketchup, though only the bravest will try it. Favourite dishes to include a splash or two of Tabasco include oysters, salad, and chicken and biscuits with Tabasco honey. There’s a Tabasco store in Jackson Square with all flavours and sizes of the pepper sauce as well as merchandise, which make ideal souvenirs too.
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