Celebrating Louisiana’s World-Renowned Cuisine
Louisiana’s cuisine is unlike anywhere else, and locals have conjured up a plethora of ways to honor these traditional dishes and the influences that brought them to life.
Food trails are the perfect venue for real foodies to explore the best of the best, and there’s a trail for every taste. Start with andouille – a Louisiana delicacy made of pork, seasoned with salt, garlic and cracked black pepper and smoked over pecan wood and sugar cane. The Andouille Trail runs through Louisiana’s River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Boudin consists of rice, pork and spices typically served in links or in fried boudin balls. Louisiana loves boudin so much, there are two food trails dedicated to it for an all-encompassing boudin experience. Head to the Lake Charles area to eat your way across the SWLA Boudin Trail with more than 25 restaurants serving up boudin varieties. Or, travel through the Lafayette area’s Cajun Boudin Trail for some of the best boudin varieties. For the seafood lovers, the Louisiana Oyster Trail features the top spots shucking the freshest local oysters you can find. And we can’t forget the state’s favorite crustacean – the crawfish! Try an array of crawfish dishes – from boiled or fried to tossed in étouffée or between po’boy bread and more – along the Bayou Country Crawfish Trail in the Houma area. Rounding up Louisiana’s unique culinary trails, you’ll find the Gas Station Eats trail in the “No Man’s Land” region on Louisiana’s western border. From boudin, barbecue, burgers, baked goods and more home-style plates in unassuming spots – what’s not to love?
Now, Louisiana is known to find any excuse to have a good time. Why not host a festival centered around good eats? Natchitoches Meat Pies – the signature dish of Natchitoches – are fried pies similar to empanadas, filled with beef, pork and seasonings. Find them all over town including at Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant and celebrated the Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival. Étouffée is the Creole stew made with crawfish or shrimp and ladled over rice. Find crawfish étouffée and other tasty crawfish dishes celebrated at the Étouffée Festival in Arnaudville or the World Championship Crawfish Etouffee Cook-Off in Eunice. Gumbo – the iconic and irresistible amalgamation dark roux, rice, seafood or chicken & sausage, “trinity” (a combination of onions, bell peppers and celery) and often okra – is the official dish of Louisiana. There are several events honoring this beloved dish, such as the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff in New Iberia, the Opelousas Gumbo Cook-Off, the Bridge City Gumbo Festival, Louisiana Gumbo Festival in Chackbay, New Orleans’ Treme Creole Gumbo Festival and more. Beignets, the sugary-sweet fried dough pillows traditionally topped with powdered sugar, can also be found stuffed with savory or sweet ingredients across Louisiana. While Café Du Monde in New Orleans’ French Quarter is the unofficial world capital of beignets, New Orleans also has an annual Beignet Festival that you won’t want to miss. Po’boys are submarine-type sandwiches made with French bread, “dressed” with mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles and tomato. Throughout the state, restaurants serve many varieties of this sandwich. If you’re looking for a one-stop opportunity to try dozens of creative po’boy concoctions, plan a trip to the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival in New Orleans. Jambalaya, a Creole take on Spanish paella containing chicken, sausage, long-grain rice and the trinity. Served traditionally out of a big black pot, it’s one of the spicier signature dishes you’ll find in Louisiana. Gonzales, a town known as the world capital of jambalaya, hosts the Jambalaya Festival every May. Curious about cracklins? Think pork rinds, but meatier and fattier. This savory delicacy has crunchy fried skin, soft and juicy rendered fat, and a bit of meat seasoned with Cajun spices. These are a Cajun specialty honored at the Port Barre Cracklin Festival.
However you celebrate, you won’t leave hungry. Learn more at LouisianaTravel.com.
First published at Travel Industry Today