New Orleans in a central place for amazing cuisine. There are a variety of foods to try while in the city. From classic gumbo and jambalaya to beignets and pralines, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the top foods that you should not miss out on while in New Orleans.
Gumbo is a Creole and Cajun dish that originated in New Orleans. Gumbo, which came from the African word for okra, was originally a rice and okra dish that was cooked or stewed. When in New Orleans, you must try this Louisiana specialty. It’s a soup with seafood, meat, and veggies that’s eaten over rice and made with gumbo. Gumbo is most likely made with a roux, a flour and fat combination that can be found in many French recipes, including pot pies and paellas. Gumbo may include chicken, pork sausage, fish, shellfish, and seasoned with salt and spices. You’ll find several types of gumbo in New Orleans, but you won’t find tomato in a Cajun gumbo. Creoles use tomatoes whereas Cajuns do not.
The po’ boy sandwich first originated in New Orleans, and it is most commonly filled with either roast beef or shrimp. However, there are many other types of fillings that can be used such as oysters, catfish, crawfish, Louisiana hot sausage, ham and cheese, or chicken. The Po’Boy sandwich is now New Orleans’s most well-known sandwich, but it started out as a way to feed striking streetcar workers. Po’Boys are served on crusty French bread and dressed with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. They’re overflowing with fresh gulf seafood, smoked pork, meatballs, and anything else the chef can dream up!
Jambalaya is a Cajun and Creole dish that originated in Louisiana. It’s cooked with rice, veggies, and meat or fish (typically sausage or chicken). Jambalaya is comparable to the Spanish paella and Indian pilaf. In and around New Orleans, Cajuns and Creoles enjoy jambalaya, which is made with rice and pork or seafood. Although it’s unclear who first came up with the dish, rice, pork, onion, celery, pepper, herbs and spices are cooked together to create jambalaya. A roux is used in Cajun versions while tomato is used in Creole versions. Some believe that jambalaya originated from Spanish paella during the time when Spaniards occupied New Orleans.
Beignets are a French pastry that was brought to New Orleans by the Acadians. They’re coated in powdered sugar and round shaped. Beignets may be eaten for breakfast or as a dessert. Beignets are commonly served with café au lait, which is coffee with milk. The term “beignet” derives from the French word for “fritter.” In 1862, Cafe Du Monde began selling these square, powered sugar-rich donuts to the residents of New Orleans. The outside is golden brown and crispy, while the inside is light and fluffy. They’re made with a yeast dough that’s rolled to just the right thickness before being cut into squares.
In New Orleans, the king cake is a Mardi Gras custom. It’s coated with purple, green, and gold icing or sprinkles and resembles an oval-shaped cake. A tiny plastic baby is also hidden inside the cake. The individual who discovers the infant in their piece of cake is deemed to have good fortune and is crowned king or queen for the day! In New Orleans, King cakes are delicious circular desserts covered in festive icing. The current version of the King cake probably originated in both Spain and France. During the Middle Ages, it became associated with Epiphany celebrations. Cakes were sometimes given to peasants by wealthy landowners.
Red Beans & Rice:
Red beans and rice is a traditional New Orleans dish. It’s made with red beans stewed with pork and served over rice. Mondays are usually when the dish is made because wash day was once performed all day. Because washing laundry would take all day, a slow-cooked meal was required that didn’t need much attention. Red beans and rice has become an important part of New Orleans culture and cuisine. It may be found on the menu of most restaurants, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Nothing says Monday in New Orleans like Red Beans and Rice! This dish, which combines pork, kidney beans, rice, and spices, is a result of the city’s African and Caribbean immigrants.
Étouffée is a Cajun seafood dish, most commonly made with shrimp. The name of the dish, étouffée, derives from the French word for “to smother”. Étouffée is usually served over rice and can be found on virtually any Cajun restaurant menu in New Orleans. To make étouffée, shellfish or poultry is cooked until very tender in a sauce. That sauce is then thickened with roux before being ladled over rice. Étoufee may also feature crawfish as its primary seafood ingredient instead of shrimp
The muffuletta is a sandwich that was born in New Orleans. It’s traditionally made with an assortment of Italian meats, cheeses, and olives on a round loaf of bread. The very first muffuletta was created at Central Grocery in the French Quarter. Nowadays, you can find them at many delis across New Orleans. Your standard muffuletta will be packed full of ham, salami, mortadella, Swiss cheese, provolone cheese, and olive salad. The latter usually contains chopped green olives, celery sticks , garlic cloves , cauliflower florets , carrots, and various spices.
Pralines are just one of the numerous ways New Orleanians express their affection for sugar. The New Orleans praline, which is made with pecans and tastes like fudge, is derived from the sugar-coated almond that was first called in France. A French nobleman named Praslin, a renowned Casanova who was attempting to calm and entertain his many girlfriends, is said to have inspired the invention of the praline! Pralines arrived in Louisiana with the Ursuline nuns, who educated young French girls in domestic chores, including pralining. Locals to the Louisiana region started using the readily accessible pecan instead of almond trees. Pralines are still produced in homes throughout the Southern United States today.
In conclusion, these are some of the many delicious foods that you can enjoy while in New Orleans! From traditional dishes like red beans and rice to sweet treats like pralines, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So make sure to sample some of these local favorites during your next visit to the Big Easy!