The Best New Orleans Food —And Where to Find It
If there’s one thing that New Orleans is known for, it’s the food. From powdery beignets to spicy gumbo, Nawlins […]
If there’s one thing that New Orleans is known for, it’s the food. From powdery beignets to spicy gumbo, Nawlins is a foodie’s paradise. The city certainly doesn’t hide its passion for food and if you talk to any local restaurateur for long enough they will begin to wax poetic about the mouth-watering pleasures of New Orleans cuisine. Food is taken very seriously here and during your visit it’s best to forget about counting calories and enjoy in the smorgasbord of delicious, “stick-to-your-ribs” Southern cooking.
What dishes should you try on your trip to the Big Easy and where can you find them? Here are a few tips for the ultimate New Orleans culinary adventure:
A po’boy is the perfect blend of French baking and the American love for ample amounts of juicy meat. It is essentially a submarine sandwich heaped with juicy meat, but served on a large French baguette which is crusty on the outside and warm, soft and fluffy on the inside. The soft French bread soaks up the juices that drip from the roast beef or spicy sausage, making this sandwich an absolutely mouthwatering treat. Po’ boyscan be made with batter-fried shrimp, oysters, lobster, catfish and other seafood as well. Po’ boys are so well-loved in New Orleans that there is even an annual festival dedicated to these amazing sandwiches.
To taste an exquisite po’ boy, visit Parasol’s, one of the city’s most iconic po’ boy shops that dates back to 1952. Another great place to go is Johnny’s Po’ Boys which is one of the few very authentic po’ boy joints in the French Quarter.
If you try jambalaya while you are in New Orleans you will realize that no two versions of this dish are ever the same, but they are always delicious. This rice concoction usually includes sausage, chicken, seafood, vegetables and lots of spicy Creole seasoning. It is thought to have been created when the Spanish attempted to make Paella after they had arrived in the New World, but didn’t have the right ingredients so they improvised withCaribbean spices and tomatoes instead.
Where can you find the best jambalaya in the city? Try Coop’s Place which is a small mom-and-pop restaurant that offers a wide variety of jambalaya variations like rabbit and sausage. Another great place is K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, where the jambalaya is robust and spicy. For another creative take on this dish you could try the “Black Jambalaya” at the Crescent Pie & Sausage Co. which contains black-eyed peas along with sausage, chicken and braised pork.
When Italian-American immigrants came to New Orleans, they tried using a full round of Sicilian sesame bread and filling it with Italian meats and olives as a tasty lunch that they could take to work with them. Thus, the muffaletta was born. It is an enormous sandwich heaped with salami, ham, pepperoni, provolone, marinated olive salad and Swiss cheese. One muffaletta is big enough for two people to share and it makes for a great picnic lunch.
The most well-known place to get an amazing muffaletta is Central Grocery. It is located in the French Quarter, just across from the French Market. Another great place is Cochon Butcher in the CBD, where the muffalettas are made with house cured meats. Be sure you find a hotel in New Orleans with comfortable beds before enjoying this sandwich, since you’ll probably need a nap afterward!
Light and fluffy and covered with a melt-in-your-mouth dusting of powdered sugar, a beignet is a must-have while you are in New Orleans. These French-style donuts are served warm and eating them is a heavenly indulgence, even if you do get powdered sugar everywhere!
The best place to get these treats is at the famous Café du Monde, located right in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. This café really only specializes in two items—coffee and beignets—but it does both of them to perfection. There is almost always a line, but they are absolutely worth waiting for.
These are just a few of the characteristic dishes that define New Orleans, but there are also so many more including crawfish, gumbo, red beans and rice and so much more. Come explore this exciting city, bring a big appetite and enjoy!
Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author: Marisa Dumont is a freelance writer and travel agent who considers New Orleans her favorite city in the USA. She loves to search for online travels deals and visit as often as possible.