I promise , you don’t have look anywhere else beside this article , to find more about New Orleans top must try food, drinks and dessert.
Honestly, I have traveled to various cities in the US, but all I ever eat was tacos, fried chicken, steaks, pizza, and some comfort food like biscuits, gravy, clam chowders, etc. You know, something familiar, everywhere I go. However, when I visited New Orleans, it felt like exploring a new country’s cuisine like a tourist. Food in New Orleans was something I had never tried or even heard or seen before.
New Orleans has a rich history of food and authentic cuisine. So there is a lot to eat here. But let be honest, when you travel, you won’t have time to eat all the 100 things that the city offers.
This article is to help you should focus on the top 5 food and drinks when you are here. So don’t miss these five food to experience New Orleans to its best.
New Orleans, sitting on laps of the Mississippi River, is a melting pot of various cultures. It has served as a home to the Cajun and Creole people, Caribbeans, Americans of black, white, and Native origins, French explorers, etc.
1. French Doughnuts aka Beignet
You are on vacation, so go ahead and start your day with something sweet. It’s worth it. Located in front of Jackson Square in New Orleans’ French Quarter, Café du Monde has served their crispy beignets and creamy cafés au lait since 1862.
- Extremely long line but moves fast.
- You can find it in other stores, but nothing can beat those original beignets of Cafe du Monde
- They take cash only.
- Freshly fried beignets with warm brown crust on the outside, perfectly fluffy and gooey on the inside, covered in powdered sugar.
- The café au lait, a hot coffee with warm milk added.
- Iced Cold coffee is even better, if traveling in summer.
Pro Tip 1: When you are standing in Café du Monde line, look around, and you will see a second line on the opposite side running parallel to the crowded mainline, hidden from road view. That line is way shorter as visitors don't know that it's an actual line. Pro Tip 2: Buy their original Chicory coffee, which has hardly changed since the days of the Civil War. This Chicory is more bitter than coffee but less acidic
I am not talking about just any other seafood, but seafood with some history. The flavors of Creole and Cajun, which started during the Civil War, have slowly evolved around ingredients abundant in the surrounding like crab, oysters, alligator, Crawfish, shrimp catfish, and redfish caught in the nearby Gulf of Mexico and swamps.
- Chargrilled Oysters, Fried Oyster OR fresh raw Oysters
- Cajun-spiced Crawfish boils, crawfish pies OR crawfish fried tails
- Softshell crabs
Pro Tip 3: If you are traveling with someone who does not like seafood a lot but is willing to give it a try, take them to slightly high-end restaurants (25 to 30$). I took my brother and sister-in-law to Red Fish Grill. Start with fried oysters balls and crab cakes. I guarantee that they will start liking seafood.
3. Have “A CUP ” of side dish
Try a cup of these dishes before your main meal. If you like it, you can even have it as the main dish.
- Cup of Gumbo: Gumbo is main signature dish of New Orleans. Gumbo is basically a seafood and okra stew with Rice at the bottom.
- Cup of Etouffée: Its also a stew dish with shellfish like Crawfish, shrimp in sauce blend of Creole and Cajun spices, served over rice.
- Cup of Jambalaya: Jambalaya is a Creole rice dish of West African, French, and Spanish influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Super yummy.
- Cup of red bean and rice
4. Po’ Boy and Muffaletta Sandwiches
Oh Boy, Try that Po’ Boy !!
Named poor boy sandwich, it is now famous as the PO-boy sandwich. Po’boy originated in 1929 in French Market and Coffee Stand in New Orleans.
- More than 50 combinations to try.
- Consists of meat, usually roasted beef or fried seafood like shrimp, crawfish, fish, oysters (must) or crab. Served on New Orleans’s famous french bread, known for its crisp crust and fluffy center.
- Other toppings like lettuce, tomato, pickles, etc.
Now let’s talk about Muffaletta. Muffaletta originated at Central Grocery in New Orleans, where it is still served today.
- Italian sandwich with cold meat cuts like ham and salami; provolone cheese, olive dressing in a giant sesame-seed roll bread.
- Quick grab and go food at Central Grocery. No need to wait on longs lines.
5. Frozen Drinks like Daiquiri and Hurricane:
Yes, you can walk with booze-filled drinks on the streets of New Orleans.
- Daiquiri, in New Orleans, are popular since the late 1700s while pirates visited this port city.
- Daiquiri is a frozen fruit and Rum drink. Strawberry Daiquiri is the original flavor, but you can find tons of variations like coconut, tropical, etc.
- There is a famous song, “Pour me something tall and strong. Make it a hurricane before I go insane.” You heard it right!! If you want to save money on alcohol and get drunk quick, try this,
- Hurricane is a drink served in iconic curved Vegas type glass. Hurricane, made from rum, fruit juice, syrup and often topped with a cherry.
- Sit down and have Hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s Piano Bar , the original home to the Hurricane, or walk drunk anywhere on streets on the french quarter or Bourbon street in shops like the Tropical Isle, The Voodoo Lounge, etc.
Pro Tip 4: Love Beers? How does some crispy Louisiana Fried chicken and chilled draft beers sound? There are tons of pubs with live music and good food in French Street and Bourbon Street. Grab some Bloody Mary from street vendors if you are in New Orleans during Creole Tomato festival in July.
Some bonus lists for adventurers are below:
6. Something for Sweet Tooth
New Orleans must-try sweet dishes as shown below in pictures:
- Banana Fosters: Ignore all the cheesecake and chocolate cake on the menu. You can have that anywhere. Instead, try some bananas with creamy vanilla ice cream paired with rum sauce. Hmm. Need I say more?
- If you like puddings, try banana pudding again with some vodka sauce.
- Try some New Orleans slushie or snow cone at Hansen’s, which have been around for ages since it first opened in 1939.
7. Swamp Delights :
Go extra miles and try some Aligator Bites, Fried Frogs , turtle soup
Thank you for reading this far. I hope you find this useful and will order like a pro when in New Orleans. Do let me know in comments below if you try any of these or if i have missed any of your New Orlean Favorites.
Keep traveling and keep eating 🙂