Ten Foods You Must Try While Visiting New Orleans

Beignets: This is a French take on the English fritter, an airy, flaky pillow of sugar-coated goodness! A Beignet is simply a bite-sized piece of dough that is deep fried and then sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. The result is a simple yet delicious snack that is perfect to start off your morning or end your night! The best spot in the city to grab a beignet is Café du Monde, which is a staple for locals and tourists alike. Open twenty-four hours a day, many people make this their token first stop when they arrive in New Orleans, pairing the sweet staple with another Big Easy classic, café au lait.

Crawfish: You simply cannot visit New Orleans without eating boiled crawfish at least once! These affectionately-named “mudbugs” are harvested, cleaned and boiled in spiced water before being served family style amongst classic side dishes, such as boiled corn and potatoes. While there are countless restaurants and pubs serving crawfish, Bevi Seafood on North Carrollton Avenue and the Bayou Beer and Wine Garden on the North Jefferson Parkway are consistently voted two of the most delicious places in town!

Chargrilled Oysters: Most people eat their oysters either deep fried or raw on the half-shell, accompanied by a healthy squirt of lemon and/or dollop of horseradish. Chargrilled oysters are a quintessential Creole dish popular in New Orleans, and once you have a taste, you will understand why! The bivalves are cooked to perfection while still in their shells over an open flame. While they are cooking, the oysters are bathed in melted butter, garlic and other seasonings to produce a smoky, savory flavor that is out of this world! To sample chargrilled oysters, you should visit Drago’s on Poydras Street, as they are the ones that made the dish famous! Proclaimed the best bite of food in town, pair your meal with one of their many beer choices for a simple yet elegant culinary experience.

Fried Chicken: Yes, fried chicken is a staple food all over the South, not just in New Orleans. The fried chicken you will find at the following two spots, however, is nothing short of amazing; a true testament to how Creole cuisine can place its influence on even the most classic dishes. First is Willie Mae’s Scotch House, located on St. Anne Street. This place is not fancy, with its family-style seating plan and humble decoration, yet it still serves up what is often heralded as the best fried chicken in America! With a choice of white or dark meat and a plethora of sides to choose from, top the whole thing off with the gooey-delicious bread pudding for desert. The second fried chicken mecca in New Orleans is Dooky Chase, which is still managed by the original master, 94-year-old Leah Chase. Located on Orleans Avenue, this place was once a hotspot for civil rights meetings, yet today, it is a favored lunch spot by everyone in the know! While the fried chicken here is perfectly seasoned, crisp on the outside and moist on the inside, there are some other spectacular things to try here as well. Be sure to take advantage of the lunch buffet which is served from Tuesday – Friday, where you can pile your plate high with chicken, hot sausage, gumbo and stuffed shrimp.

Gumbo: Louisiana’s official dish is gumbo, a thick stew consisting of roux stock and protein (seafood, andouille sausage, chicken, etc) combined with the Cajun holy-trinity of vegetables; onions, bell peppers and celery. Gumbo is usually made with some sort of thickener, such as okra, as well as a number of classic Creole spices. Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street is a popular lunch spot, where you can indulge in two different gumbo dishes. The classic seafood okra concoction is rich with oysters, shrimp and other shellfish, while the duck and andouille gumbo is perfect for those seeking a richer, meatier flavor!

Jambalaya: Another dish that is synonymous with New Orleans, Jambalaya consists of spices, rice, protein and vegetables to form what is often thought of as the Creole version of paella. Sausage is the most popular protein option for the dish, particularly andouille sausage, yet it is also not at all uncommon to throw in some shrimp, shredded chicken, pork and/or shellfish. This is a meal that is commonly cooked in a large cast iron skillet, with the intention to serve a large volume of people with one community pan. Mothers on Poydras Street serves one of the best examples of jambalaya you will find anywhere in the city, so be sure to get there early and have the patience to wait your turn in line.

Muffaletta: The term muffaletta actually refers to the Sicilian sesame bread that forms the basis of this iconic New Orleans sandwich. First introduced by Italian immigrants, this is a delicious combination of the aforementioned bread stuffed with Italian meats and cheeses coupled with a distinctive, delicious olive spread. Central Grocery in the French Quarter is the golden nugget of the muffaletta, praising itself as the sandwich’s original home. Well worth the wait in line, order one of these classics cold and enjoy one of the most flavorful dishes in the city.

Po’Boys: The most iconic sandwich in the city, a po’boy consists of cooked meat or fried seafood served on crusty, fresh-baked French bread. Po’boys come garnished with a number of toppings, with the most popular combination being lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and/or mayonnaise. The theory is that the term po’boy was coined after the particular kind of sandwich served to workers on strike, as they were delicious, filling, yet easy to consume. Today, the classic combination is something you do not want to miss! Domilise’s Po-Boy and Bar is in a class unto itself when it comes to seeking out the perfect po’boy. Located on Annunciation St, this no-frills eatery has occupied the same space since 1924. Quite popular as a lunch option, you can expect to wait in line, yet the results are sure to be well worth it! If you are craving seafood, go with the shrimp or catfish option, but if you are looking for something meatier, you can’t go wrong with the hot smoked sausage.

Praline Bacon: This sweet and savory indulgence is so deliciously sinful it could only have its origins in New Orleans. It is exactly what it sounds like, a thick cut piece of perfectly cooked bacon dusted with finely ground pralines. The resulting taste and satisfying crunch are enough to make this a city staple! Elizabeth’s is one of the finest breakfast restaurants you will find anywhere. Nestled on Gallier St, you can order praline bacon for breakfast every day of the year if you choose to, or make a reservation to partake in one of their classic weekend brunches! Praline bacon is also a popular topping for one of the city’s signature adult beverages, the Bloody Mary. Ruby Slippers, with its multiple locations throughout NOLA, is the champion of this combination, offering a morning libation consisting of fresh mix and vodka topped with a rasher of praline bacon, olives, and spicy asparagus!

Soft Shell Crab: Soft shelled crabs are harvested shortly after molting, when their previous exoskeleton is replaced by a pliable, soft shell. In the United States, the most common species is the blue crab, which is in season from April to September. A popular ingredient in po’boys, soft-shell crabs are a popular dish amongst many tasty restaurants in New Orleans. If you find yourself here in soft shell season, be sure to pay a visit to Irene’s, located in the French Quarter on Bienville Street. Classified as Italian fare, this place fries their crabs to a perfect crispiness before serving them sprinkled with lemon juice, parsley and paprika.

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