There is very little that can be described as staid or reserved when talking about New Orleans (hello Mardi Gras celebrations!), so to assume that the best-known foods of the region would be anything but outrageously delicious would be laughable. The New Orleans region of the United States is known for its Cajun and Creole foods, with the savory foods being full of spices and flavor while the sweet treats melt in your mouth with a dangerous ease. To experience The Big Easy in a truly authentic fashion, there is no way around it: you simply must eat like a local. Listed below are a few ideas on the foods to try while visiting New Orleans, Louisiana - try them all if you can!
Everyone has heard of gumbo and perhaps even tried a bowl before, but until you’ve tried it in New Orleans, you haven’t had the best gumbo out there. Gumbo is a stew that starts with a dark, heavily flavored roux and typically includes some type of meat or shellfish, a variety of vegetables such as celery, bell peppers, and onion and a thickening agent. For an authentic gumbo experience, visit the Gumbo Shop, where you can try either a chicken andouille or seafood okra variety of the dish for less than 10 USD a bowl.
Address: 630 Saint Peter Street, New Orleans LA, 70116
Website: Gumbo Shop
Average cost per person: 10 USD
2. Po' boys
Ever had a sandwich so iconic that it has its own day-long festival in New Orleans? Everyone, meet the Po’ boy. This sandwich can be served warm or cold, using almost any form of fried seafood, including shrimp, crab, and crawfish. “Dress it up” by adding mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion and perhaps top it off with a bit of Louisiana-style hot sauce. While visiting New Orleans, stop by Killer PoBoys to try one of these sandwiches for yourself; the restaurant has recently opened at a second location and serves up their sandwiches for 13 USD or less.
Address: 219 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112
Website: Killer PoBoys
Average cost per person: 13 USD
Jambalaya is an amalgamation of Spanish and French cuisine and consists mainly of a meat, vegetables, and rice. Typically, you’ll find andouille as the main meat, with a secondary meat that could be chicken, pork, seafood or crawfish. Onion, celery, and bell peppers often referred to as the “holy trinity” of Cajun vegetables, are found in jambalaya more often than not. Rice is the last food item added and is cooked with the rest of the ingredients in a bit of broth until it has completely softened. Be sure to visit Mother’s, a cafeteria-style restaurant in New Orleans that serves up some of the best jambalayas in the city for about 8.50 USD per medium serving.
Address: 401 Poydras, New Orleans, LA 70130
Website: Mother’s Restaurant
Average cost per person: 8.50 USD
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Andouille, pronounced ann-DOO-ee, is the most common type of sausage found in Cajun cuisine. The sausage is pork based and is seasoned using a mix of garlic, pepper, onions, and wine. While the sausage is undoubtedly delicious on its own, you can find it as the staple meat in jambalaya and oftentimes in gumbo as well. One of the best places in New Orleans to get your andouille fix is at Emeril’s, where each serving will run you about 10 USD.
Address: 534 St. Louis St, New Orleans LA, 70130
Website: Emeril’s Restaurants
Average cost per person: 10 USD
5. Red beans and rice
You’ll be hard pressed to find another dish more representative of New Orleans than red beans and rice. In the past, this was a traditional Monday evening meal, as the beans could simmer all day with the pork bones leftover from the Sunday dinner while the women took care of the washing for the week. While those days are a thing of the past, red beans and rice are still as popular and delicious as ever. Andouille is often served with the beans. Looking for the best red beans and rice to try in New Orleans? Check out Willie Mae’s Scotch House for red beans and rice.
Willie Mae's Scotch House
Address: 2401 St. Ann Street, New Orleans, LA 70119
Website: Willie Mae’s Scotch House
Average cost per person: 7.50 USD
The muffuletta is a sandwich originating in Louisiana. It is made using a bread by the same name. Muffuletta, the bread, is usually of a light texture, crispy on the outside while remaining soft on the inside. To make the muffuletta sandwich, split the bread in half and add the traditional fixings, which include olive salad, salami, ham, Swiss and provolone cheeses. The traditional muffuletta is served cold, though it can be toasted if you prefer. Stop by Napoleon House to enjoy one of these delicious sandwiches while visiting New Orleans for a reasonable 5.25 USD.
Address: 500 Chartres St., New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Website: Napoleon House
Average cost per person: 5.25 USD
7. Quail salad
Adding quail to your salad can elevate it from a boring bowl of greens to a special meal. Typically, the quail is marinated for several hours overnight before it is cooked to ensure it has optimum flavor and added to your favorite salad, or whichever greens are in season. Visit the cottage restaurant Bayona to try chef Susan Spicer’s version of this unique salad priced at 14 USD.
Address: 430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112
Average cost per person: 14 USD
Enjoy a delectable breakfast or satisfy your post-dinner sweet tooth with one of these iconic treats found in New Orleans. Pronounced ben-yay, these fried dough delights are commonly served as a breakfast dish, usually with a healthy topping of powdered sugar. They are prepared fresh and served warm, allowing you to savor their deliciousness with a warm cup of coffee or tea. Visit the popular Cafe du Monde while in New Orleans and find out why beignets are so good, that they have been named the state doughnut of Louisiana. Try a plate of three for 2.73 USD.
Cafe du Monde
Address: 800 Decatur Street, 70116 New Orleans
Website: Cafe du Monde
Average cost per person: 2.73 USD
9. Chargrilled oysters
Cooked over the open flames of a hot grill, these oysters are typically coated in butter and seasoned with garlic and pepper before being topped off with a blend of cheeses. The popularity of this entree in local restaurants has grown tremendously over the past few decades, but one of the best places to get your chargrilled oysters while in New Orleans is at Drago’s Seafood Restaurant. Stop by and taste this heavenly grub - you may just find your new favorite food! Half a dozen oysters are priced at 11.95 USD.
Drago's Seafood Restaurant
Address: 2 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Website: Drago’s Seafood Restaurant
Average cost per person: 11.95 USD
10. Praline bacon
A marriage of sweet and savory flavors, praline bacon originates in New Orleans and has an appeal you just can’t resist. The typical ingredients are pretty simple: bacon, brown sugar, cane syrup, and pecans. Even if the flavor combination doesn’t seem appealing, it’s definitely something that should be tried at least once. One of the best places in New Orleans to sample praline bacon is at Elizabeth’s Restaurant, which is the birthplace of this unlikely treat. An appetizer platter goes for 7 USD.
Address: 601 Gallier St. New Orleans, LA 70117
Website: Elizabeth’s Restaurant
Average cost per person: 7 USD
Explore New Orleans' food as you explore the city
There is certainly plenty to take in while visiting New Orleans and the local cuisine should definitely be one of these things. So eat your way through this list of delicious foods during your trip to New Orleans, just be warned you may have to make a return trip because the fare is so darn good!
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