The city of New Orleans in Louisiana is famous not only as the birthplace of jazz but as the home of Cajun and Creole cuisine, whose unique flavors are built on traditions stretching from Paris to Port au Prince and from Cadiz to the Congo. With over 1 400 restaurants in the city, and dozens of traditional dishes to try out, it is unlikely that you’ll go hungry here. Open4fun lists its five favorites that should not be missed when visiting the city:
Crawfish, crayfish, mudbugs, yabbies’ and crawdads are all the same freshwater crustacean that look like small lobsters and are eaten steamed or boiled. They are a firm favorite in Louisiana where 95% of the world’s crawfish are harvested. They taste slightly sweeter than shrimp but pick up notes of paprika, cayenne, garlic, oregano and other ingredients where prepared with Cajun seasoning. Crawfish are most often served boiled but they are also popular when prepared in an etouffee, which comes from the French word “to smother”. This is a very thick crawfish stew, seasoned to perfection and served over rice.
Louisiana’s official state cuisine, the Gumbo is a comforting stew prepared by creating a dark roux and combining it with a variety of vegetables sausages, meats or seafood ingredients. It combines the ingredients of several cultures including West African, French, German and Choctaw.
Similar to a gumbo, a Jambalaya is a stew where incorporates rice in the cooking of the dish. The dish has been around since colonial Spanish settlers first tried reconstructing their native paella from locally-sourced ingredients. It combines, meat, chicken, seafood, chicken or all of the above with rice, spices and vegetables in a variety of ways.
A must when visiting New Orleans is a trip to the historic French Quarter in the heart of the city, which one should not leave without sampling a beignet pastry. This is a type of fritter or deep-fried choux pastry. The square pieces of dough are golden brown on the outside, crispy and chewy and are best served warm and smothered in icing sugar. Arguably the best place to try a Beignet is at Café du Monde. This coffee shop is located in the French Market, which is the oldest building in the city. The French market was originally a riverside trading station of the Choctaw Indians. Later European settlers would come to the market by boat to sell produce. In 1718 the city of New Orleans was established on this location of the Mississippi River. The original area is now known as the French Quarter, which features a collection of historic buildings that exhibit the architectural styles of the countries that once held power in Louisiana, such as French, Spanish and British influence.
The Mufaletta Sandwich
These delicious sandwiches, which were originally created by Italian settlers that moved to New Orleans comprises of crispy Sicilian bread rounds stuffed high with meat, cheese and salad and then sliced into servings. It traditionally includes ham, salami, mortadella and capicola. The sandwich originated at the Central Grocery store in New Orleans in 1906 and can still be bought here today.