From a po’boy to jambalaya to beignets, Musement shares 10 foods that should be on your New Orleans bucket list.
New Orleans is one of America’s most exciting cities for several reasons, and chief among them is its vibrant food scene. This melting pot fuses elements of its Native American, French, Cajun, German, Spanish, Italian, and West African heritage to result in a particular cuisine to the Big Easy. Here are 10 foods you must eat in New Orleans.
No visit is complete to New Orleans without sampling a Po’ Boy sandwich stuffed with fried seafood. Take your pick from shrimp, crawfish, catfish, oysters, or even meat-centric tks like ham, roast beef, or sausage; all served on New Orleans-style French bread, which has a thicker crust and softer center than a typical baguette. You can also get it “dressed” (with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and pickles).
With its West African, Spanish, and French influences, jambalaya bursts with flavor. This rice and pork and/or fish dish begins with the holy trinity of Cajun cuisine (onions, celery, and green peppers) and has a luscious sauce so replete with spices that the flavors just dance in your mouth. Sausage is almost always thrown into the mix.
Sicilian immigrants created this incredible sandwich named for the sesame bun on which it’s served. A marinated olive salad tops layers of Salami, ham, Swiss cheese, provolone, and mortadella to make for an unforgettable bite. You can find a muffuletta all around town, but Central Grocery, where it was invented in 1906, is the best place to try one.
These dough fritters with a super crispy crust and a soft, pillowy interior, are topped with a blanket of powdered sugar. Needless to say, they’re best consumed hot. The best place to try them is Cafe Du Monde…ideally paired with their cafe au lait.
5. A crawfish boil
This freshwater crustacean abounds in the nearby swamps, so it appears in several of the city’s signature dishes. A crawfish boil is exactly what it sounds like: crawfish that’s been boiled, usually with spices and vegetables, such as potatoes and corn on the cob, and occasionally sausage. They’re usually offered in three- to five-pound orders, they come out whole and you peel them and get eating.
This hearty, flavorful stew starts with the same holy trinity as jambalaya (onions, celery, and green bell peppers), but has a thicker consistency and often contains okra, filé powder (a spicy herb made from dried sassafras tree leaves) with the main protein of meat and fish, andouille sausage and some rice.
7. Red Beans and Rice
You’re likely to find a version of rice and beans in just about every Caribbean culture. Since New Orleans has countless influences from the area, it’s not surprising that Crescent City has its own signature rice and beans preparation. It starts with the aforementioned “holy trinity” and features plenty of spices, as well as usually some ham or sausage, so it’s not usually vegetarian friendly.
8. A Sandwich at Turkey and the Wolf
If one thing is obvious on this list, it’s that New Orleans does impeccable sandwiches. Turkey and the Wolf, named the best restaurant in America by Bon Appetit magazine in 2017, specializes in that beloved hand-held food. And chef Mason Hereford’s creations are incredible. You’d be remiss if you skipped a meal here.
9. Crawfish Étouffée
In addition to the boil, crawfish also is popular étouffée, a term that means smothered. The technique, found in both Creole and Cajun cuisines, calls for simmering fish in a flavorful, thick gravy-like sauce and rice.
10. Bananas Foster
This retro dessert never goes out of style here. Bananas, vanilla ice cream, a sweet and cinnamony rums sauce, and tableside flambe. Need we say more? Enjoy it at Brennan’s where Paul Blangé and Ella Brennan created it in 1951.