New Orleans, Louisiana is a city known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. The city’s food scene is a unique blend of Creole and Cajun influences, with a wide range of dishes that reflect its diverse culinary heritage. Here are 20 foods that New Orleans is known for:
New Orleans Louisiana gumbo is a classic Creole dish that has become synonymous with Louisiana cuisine. This rich and flavorful stew is typically made with a dark roux, a variety of meats or seafood, and a blend of vegetables and spices.
The dish has its roots in the African, French, and Spanish influences that have shaped Louisiana’s culture and cuisine. It is typically made with ingredients such as andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, and okra, which are combined with a blend of herbs and spices, including thyme, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper.
Gumbo is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit individual tastes and preferences. It is often served over steamed white rice and accompanied by a piece of crusty French bread.
In New Orleans, gumbo is a beloved part of the city’s food culture and is a staple of many local restaurants and home kitchens. It is often served at social gatherings and festivals, and is a popular choice during Mardi Gras season and other celebrations.
New Orleans Louisiana gumbo is a delicious and hearty dish that reflects the diverse cultural influences that have shaped the state’s cuisine. Whether enjoyed at a local restaurant or prepared at home, it is a dish that is sure to satisfy and delight.
New Orleans Louisiana jambalaya is a classic Creole dish that is a staple of Louisiana cuisine. The dish is a flavorful and hearty one-pot meal that typically consists of rice, meat, seafood, vegetables, and a blend of herbs and spices.
The origins of jambalaya can be traced back to the Spanish and French influences in Louisiana’s history. The dish is a fusion of Spanish paella and French jambon, and typically includes ingredients such as andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, and the “holy trinity” of Louisiana cuisine: onions, celery, and bell peppers.
Jambalaya is typically cooked in a large pot or skillet, and the rice is cooked together with the other ingredients to create a flavorful and filling dish. The dish can be customized to suit individual tastes and preferences, and is often served with a side of crusty French bread.
In New Orleans, jambalaya is a popular dish that can be found on the menu at many local restaurants. It is often served at social gatherings and festivals, and is a staple of Louisiana home cooking.
New Orleans Louisiana jambalaya is a delicious and satisfying dish that reflects the diverse cultural influences that have shaped Louisiana’s cuisine. Whether enjoyed at a local restaurant or prepared at home, it is a dish that is sure to please and impress.
Po’boys are a popular sandwich in New Orleans, Louisiana. The origin of the name is debated, but one theory is that the sandwiches were created during a streetcar strike in 1929, when two brothers, Benny and Clovis Martin, offered free sandwiches to the striking workers. When one of the brothers saw a line of workers, he called out, “Here comes another poor boy,” and the name stuck.
Traditionally, Po’boys are made with French bread that is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, and filled with fried seafood such as shrimp, oysters, or catfish, or roast beef. The sandwich is usually dressed with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayonnaise, and can be spiced up with hot sauce or Creole mustard.
In addition to the classic fillings, Po’boys can be found with a variety of other ingredients such as fried chicken, ham and cheese, or even vegetarian options like roasted vegetables or tofu. Po’boys are often served with a side of fries or potato chips and a cold drink, and are a staple of New Orleans cuisine.
4. Red Beans And Rice
New Orleans Louisiana red beans and rice is a traditional Creole dish that has become an iconic part of Louisiana cuisine. It typically consists of red beans simmered with spices and served over steamed white rice. The dish often includes andouille sausage, ham hocks, or smoked pork for added flavor and texture.
The history of red beans and rice dates back to the 19th century, when it was a popular dish among the city’s working-class population. Traditionally, Monday was washday in New Orleans, and families would use the leftover ham bones from Sunday dinner to flavor the red beans. The dish became a staple for families looking for a hearty and affordable meal.
Today, red beans and rice is a beloved dish in New Orleans and can be found on the menu at many local restaurants. It is often served as a Monday special, and many families continue to prepare the dish at home as a weekly tradition. It is also a popular choice during Mardi Gras season and other festivals and celebrations in the city.
Overall, New Orleans Louisiana red beans and rice is a classic comfort food that reflects the rich history and cultural traditions of the city.
Beignets are a type of pastry that originated in France and are commonly associated with New Orleans cuisine. These deep-fried doughnuts are typically made from a dough of flour, sugar, yeast, milk, and eggs, and are often dusted with powdered sugar before serving.
In New Orleans, beignets have become a beloved part of the city’s food culture and are often associated with the iconic Cafe du Monde, a cafe in the French Quarter that has been serving beignets and coffee since 1862. Visitors and locals alike flock to Cafe du Monde to enjoy the cafe’s signature beignets, which are served in orders of three and are often accompanied by a cup of chicory coffee.
Beignets are a popular breakfast food in New Orleans and can be found on the menu at many local cafes and restaurants. They are also commonly served as a dessert or a sweet snack throughout the day.
Beignets are a delicious and indulgent pastry that have become a beloved part of New Orleans’ culinary identity. Whether enjoyed at a local cafe or prepared at home, they are a sweet and satisfying treat that is sure to please any pastry lover.
6. Crawfish Boil
New Orleans Louisiana crawfish boil is a beloved dish in Louisiana cuisine and a staple of Southern cuisine. This dish typically consists of crawfish, also known as crayfish or mudbugs, boiled together with corn on the cob, potatoes, onions, and a blend of herbs and spices.
Crawfish boils are often social events, where large pots of crawfish and vegetables are boiled over an open flame and served in a family-style setting. The crawfish are often boiled with a blend of spices that includes cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder, giving the dish a spicy and flavorful kick.
Crawfish boils are often held in the spring and early summer, when crawfish are in season. They are a popular part of Louisiana’s cultural heritage and are often served at festivals and social gatherings throughout the state.
In addition to being a delicious and satisfying meal, crawfish boils are also a social experience, where friends and family gather to share a meal and enjoy each other’s company.
New Orleans Louisiana crawfish boil is a delicious and festive dish that reflects the rich cultural heritage and culinary traditions of Louisiana. Whether enjoyed at a festival or prepared at home, it is a dish that is sure to delight and satisfy.
New Orleans Louisiana muffuletta is a classic sandwich that originated in the city’s Italian community. The sandwich is made with a round loaf of bread, typically filled with Italian meats such as salami and ham, cheese, and a flavorful olive salad.
The muffuletta has its roots in Sicilian cuisine, and is believed to have been brought to New Orleans by Italian immigrants in the late 19th century. The sandwich became popular among workers in the city’s French Market, and has since become a staple of New Orleans cuisine.
The olive salad that is a key ingredient in the muffuletta is made with a blend of olives, pickled vegetables, and olive oil, giving the sandwich a tangy and flavorful kick.
The muffuletta is typically served cold, and can be found on the menu at many New Orleans restaurants and delis. It is often served in quarters, making it easy to share with friends and family.
New Orleans Louisiana muffuletta is a delicious and iconic dish that reflects the city’s diverse cultural influences and culinary traditions. Whether enjoyed at a local deli or prepared at home, it is a sandwich that is sure to please and satisfy.
8. King Cake
New Orleans Louisiana king cake is a traditional pastry that is typically eaten during the Mardi Gras season. The cake is shaped like a large, circular doughnut and is decorated with colorful icing and sprinkles.
The king cake has its roots in the Epiphany tradition of the Christian church, where a cake was served on January 6th to celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men. In New Orleans, the king cake has become a symbol of the city’s Mardi Gras celebration.
The cake is typically made with a sweet bread dough that is flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg, and is often filled with cream cheese or fruit preserves. The cake is then decorated with purple, green, and gold icing, which represent justice, faith, and power respectively, as well as with sprinkles and other decorations.
A small plastic baby, which represents the baby Jesus, is often hidden inside the cake. The person who finds the baby is said to have good luck for the coming year and is also traditionally responsible for bringing the king cake to the next gathering.
New Orleans Louisiana king cake is a sweet and festive pastry that is an integral part of the city’s Mardi Gras celebration. Whether enjoyed at a local bakery or prepared at home, it is a delicious and fun way to celebrate the season.
New Orleans Étouffée is a classic Cajun dish that originates from Louisiana. It is a savory stew made with a roux (a mixture of flour and fat) that is cooked until it turns a deep brown color, which gives the dish its distinct flavor and color. The roux is then combined with onions, celery, and bell peppers, known as the “holy trinity” of Cajun cuisine, and cooked until the vegetables are tender.
Next, seafood or meat, such as crawfish, shrimp, or chicken, is added to the mixture along with tomatoes, garlic, and spices such as cayenne pepper, paprika, and thyme. The mixture is then simmered until the flavors meld together and the sauce thickens.
Étouffée is typically served over a bed of rice, and is often garnished with chopped green onions or parsley. The dish has a rich, savory flavor with a hint of spiciness, making it a popular comfort food in Louisiana and beyond. It is often served at festivals and special events throughout the state, and is a staple on many restaurant menus.
10. Oysters Rockefeller
Oysters Rockefeller is a classic dish that originated in New Orleans, Louisiana. The dish consists of oysters that are topped with a rich and flavorful sauce made from a blend of herbs, vegetables, bread crumbs, and butter. The sauce is traditionally green in color, and is made from ingredients such as parsley, spinach, and other leafy greens, along with garlic, onions, and other seasonings.
The oysters are typically shucked, leaving them attached to their bottom shells, and are then topped with the sauce and baked until the sauce is bubbly and the oysters are cooked to perfection. The dish is typically served as an appetizer, and is often accompanied by a glass of chilled white wine.
Oysters Rockefeller is said to have been created in the late 1800s or early 1900s by the famous New Orleans restaurant Antoine’s, and it remains a popular dish in the city to this day. The dish is named after John D. Rockefeller, the wealthy industrialist, who was known for his love of rich, indulgent foods.
11. Shrimp And Grits
Shrimp and Grits is a classic dish that originated in the Lowcountry regions of South Carolina and Georgia, but has become a popular staple in New Orleans, Louisiana cuisine as well. The dish consists of shrimp that are cooked in a savory sauce made with ingredients such as butter, garlic, and spices, and served over a bed of creamy, stone-ground grits.
The grits are typically cooked slowly with milk or cream and a touch of butter until they become soft and creamy, and are then topped with the flavorful shrimp sauce. The shrimp are often seasoned with cajun spices, giving the dish a spicy kick.
Shrimp and Grits is a dish that has become a favorite of many in New Orleans and beyond, and can be found on menus in many restaurants throughout the city. It is often served as a brunch or breakfast dish, but can also be enjoyed as a hearty and satisfying dinner. The combination of the rich and creamy grits with the flavorful shrimp sauce makes for a delicious and satisfying meal that is sure to please any seafood lover.
12. Fried Chicken
Fried chicken is a popular dish in New Orleans, Louisiana cuisine, and is often served as a main course or as a staple dish in picnics, parties, and other social gatherings. The dish consists of chicken that is seasoned with a blend of spices, then coated in a mixture of flour and cornmeal, and then fried until it is crispy and golden brown.
The chicken is typically cooked in a cast iron skillet, which helps to ensure that the chicken is evenly cooked and has a crispy, golden exterior. It is often served with a variety of sides, such as mashed potatoes, coleslaw, mac and cheese, or biscuits.
Fried chicken is a beloved dish in New Orleans, and many restaurants and eateries in the city specialize in this Southern classic. It is a dish that is often associated with comfort food and is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.
13. Boudin Balls
New Orleans, Louisiana is famous for its delicious cuisine, and one popular dish that has gained a lot of attention in recent years is the boudin ball. Boudin balls are a Cajun dish made from a mixture of cooked rice, pork, onions, and spices that are rolled into balls, breaded, and fried until crispy.
Boudin balls are commonly served as a snack or appetizer in Louisiana, and they can be found in many restaurants and street vendors. They are often served with a spicy dipping sauce, such as remoulade or hot sauce, to add some extra flavor and kick.
The dish is said to have originated in Cajun country, where rice and pork were staples in the diet. Boudin balls are a popular party food and are often served during Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans.
While boudin balls may not be as well-known as other New Orleans dishes like gumbo or jambalaya, they are a delicious and unique addition to any meal. So, if you find yourself in Louisiana, don’t forget to try some boudin balls and experience the flavor of Cajun cuisine.
14. Fried Catfish
Fried catfish is a classic dish in New Orleans cuisine, and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. The dish consists of catfish fillets that are coated in a mixture of cornmeal, flour, and spices, and then deep-fried until they are crispy and golden brown.
The catfish is typically served with a variety of sides, such as hushpuppies, coleslaw, and tartar sauce. It is often served on a bed of lettuce, and is sometimes accompanied by a wedge of lemon or lime for added flavor.
Fried catfish is a staple in Louisiana cuisine, and can be found on the menu at many restaurants throughout the city. It is a dish that is often associated with Southern cooking, and is enjoyed for its crispy texture and flavorful seasoning.
In addition to being a popular dish, catfish is also an important part of Louisiana’s fishing industry. The state is known for its freshwater catfish farms, which produce high-quality fish that is used in a variety of dishes, including fried catfish.
Mirliton is a type of squash that is commonly used in New Orleans cuisine, particularly in dishes such as seafood gumbo and stuffed mirliton. The vegetable is also known as chayote squash, and has a mild flavor and a texture that is similar to zucchini.
In Louisiana, mirliton is often stuffed with a mixture of shrimp, crabmeat, and breadcrumbs, and then baked until it is tender and golden brown. The dish is typically seasoned with cajun spices, and is often served as a side dish or as an appetizer.
Mirliton can also be used in soups, stews, and other dishes, and is a versatile ingredient that is used in many different ways in New Orleans cuisine. It is a popular vegetable in the region, and is often found in local farmers markets and grocery stores throughout the year.
Mirliton is a beloved part of New Orleans cuisine, and is enjoyed for its unique flavor and versatility. It is a staple in many traditional dishes, and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
16. Bananas Foster
Bananas Foster is a classic New Orleans dessert that was created in the 1950s at Brennan’s Restaurant in the French Quarter. The dessert consists of sliced bananas that are cooked in a caramel sauce made from butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and dark rum.
The sauce is typically prepared tableside, with the bananas and sauce flambéed with a splash of rum and set alight. The dessert is then served over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, creating a delicious combination of hot and cold flavors.
Bananas Foster has become a favorite dessert in New Orleans and beyond, and can be found on the menu at many restaurants throughout the city. It is often served as a signature dish at special events and celebrations, and is a popular choice for dessert lovers.
The dish is named after Richard Foster, a friend of the restaurant’s owner, who was a prominent businessman in New Orleans at the time. Bananas Foster is a beloved part of New Orleans cuisine, and is enjoyed for its rich and decadent flavors and its unique preparation method.
17. Andouille Sausage
Andouille sausage is a type of smoked sausage that is a staple in New Orleans cuisine. The sausage is made from ground pork that is seasoned with a blend of spices, including garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper.
After being seasoned, the sausage is stuffed into a casing made from pork intestine and then smoked over pecan wood. The smoking process gives the sausage its distinctive flavor and aroma, and also helps to preserve it.
Andouille sausage is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, including jambalaya, gumbo, and red beans and rice. It is also often served as a snack or appetizer, either on its own or as part of a charcuterie board.
Andouille sausage is an important part of Louisiana cuisine, and is a popular food item at festivals and outdoor gatherings throughout the state. It is known for its bold and spicy flavor, and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Pralines are a classic candy that has become a beloved part of New Orleans cuisine. The candy is made from sugar, cream, and pecans, and has a texture that is both creamy and crumbly.
The candy is typically prepared by boiling sugar and cream together until it reaches a specific temperature, and then stirring in chopped pecans. The mixture is then spooned onto a sheet of wax paper and allowed to cool and harden.
Pralines are often enjoyed as a dessert or as a sweet snack, and are a popular item at local candy stores and souvenir shops in New Orleans. They are also often given as gifts to friends and family members.
The origin of pralines is believed to be in France, where they were first made in the 17th century. However, the candy has since become a beloved part of New Orleans cuisine, and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
19. Turtle Soup
Turtle soup is a classic New Orleans dish that has been a staple of the city’s cuisine for over a century. The soup is made from turtle meat that is slow-cooked with vegetables, spices, and herbs, and is typically served with a dash of sherry on top.
The dish is said to have been introduced to New Orleans by French Creole immigrants in the early 1800s, and quickly became a popular dish in the city’s restaurants and homes. The soup is often served as a starter or appetizer, and is considered a delicacy by many.
Turtle soup is typically made with snapping turtle meat, which has a rich and savory flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients in the soup. The meat is often combined with vegetables such as onion, celery, and bell pepper, and is flavored with herbs and spices such as thyme, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper.
Today, turtle soup can be found on the menu at many restaurants in New Orleans, and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. It is a beloved part of the city’s culinary heritage, and remains a popular dish in the region.
20. BBQ Shrimp
BBQ shrimp is a classic New Orleans dish that is known for its bold and spicy flavors. Despite its name, the dish is not actually prepared on a barbecue grill, but is instead cooked in a skillet or oven.
The dish is typically made with shrimp that is seasoned with a blend of spices, including cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic. The shrimp is then cooked in a sauce made from butter, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce, which gives it a rich and flavorful taste.
BBQ shrimp is often served with French bread or rice, which is used to soak up the flavorful sauce. The dish is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, and can be found on the menu at many New Orleans restaurants.
The origins of BBQ shrimp are unclear, but the dish is believed to have been created in the mid-20th century by a local chef. Today, it remains a beloved part of New Orleans cuisine, and is enjoyed for its bold and spicy flavors and its unique preparation method.
Each of these dishes has its own unique flavor profile and is made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. From the spicy and savory flavors of gumbo to the sweet and indulgent taste of Bananas Foster, New Orleans cuisine is a true culinary experience.
In addition to the food itself, New Orleans is also known for its dining culture. The city is home to numerous world-class restaurants, as well as street vendors and food trucks that offer a more casual dining experience. Whether you’re looking for a fancy night out or a quick bite on the go, you’re sure to find something that satisfies your appetite in New Orleans.
New Orleans’ food scene is a reflection of its diverse cultural heritage and vibrant spirit. From seafood to sweets, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this flavorful city.