New Orleans is a rich town in sights, sounds, and flavors. It’s known for its cajun and creole dishes which are actually different. Cajun food first originated along the bayou, and uses a lot of French and southern flavors. Creole on the other hand uses French, European, and African influences. Either way you can expect to find huge flavor profiles. Here are some of the foods that you must try.
Jambalaya is a heart dish that is usually made with chicken, andouille sausage, and lots of thick veggies. Rice and stock are added to the dish as well. The Creole style of jambalaya includes tomatoes, while the cajun style does not. Creole jambalaya was the Spanish attempt at making paella in the new country. There was no saffron available at the time due to high import costs, so the tomatoes were added as a stand in for the saffron to increase the flavor.
Many restaurants serve a version of jambalaya that doesn’t have the vegetables added, mostly to appeal to children better. Be sure to ask which version you will be getting if you are interested in trying out different styles of the dish.
A muffuleta is a popular choice at a lunchtime. It’s basically a hearty sandwich with salami, ham, provolone, swiss, and an olive spread. One way it differs from other types of sandwiches is the bread. Muffuletta bread is similar to a focacia, but lighter. (And yet more dense that a normal french bread.) The bread is made in a large round and flattened shape. It has sesame seeds as its only flavor addition.
The po’boy is another sandwich type, this time of the submarine variety. A po’boy is generally made with a crispy and fluffy baguette and filled with seafood like crab, shrimp, oysters, and/or crawfish. The shrimp is fried. Sometimes it has other types of lunch meats instead of seafood. When the po’boy is made with chicken or roast beef it is usually served with gravy.
Shrimp and Grits
The shrimp and grits dish was rumored to have started as a fisherman breakfast, but these days it’s equally popular for dinner as brunch. The grits are usually made cheesy, and the dish tends to include veggies like mushrooms or onions and peppers. The shrimp are sauteed in butter for lots of flavor.
Beignets are technically a sweet treat but they are popular at any time of day. They are similar to donuts but have a different shape. The dough balls are deep fried and then sprinkled with powdered sugar, and served alongside coffee. You can find beignets at most coffee shops around town.
And don’t forget the drinks! New Orleans is known for its cocktails. The Sazerac is actually thought to be the first cocktail of the country and was originated before the Civil War. The drink is pretty simple made up of cognac and bitters, and a popular one in the area.