No trip to New Orleans would be complete without sampling the local cuisine. In fact, some tourists come to the city specifically to eat at the best restaurants, some of which are located right here in Old Algiers. Cajun cuisine was born right here in Louisiana though it has since been exported all over and is the viewed as the best type of food there is to eat in the city. Let this article be your guide to some of the most popular Cajun dishes so you'll know what to order when you get to the restaurant.
Gumbo is one of the most popular starters on Cajun restaurant menus and can even fill you up enough to count as a whole meal, especially at lunch time. Some catering companies wisely have gumbo on their menus, but to fully enjoy this Cajun soup you need to partake of a traditional New Orleans recipe. Gumbo comes in many configurations and flavors, but some commonalities exist. It is always a soup thickened with Okra and sassafras leaves. Roux, or flour sauce, is also crucial, and Cajun sausage (called andouille) is usually present. Gumbo is traditionally served over rice.
Traditional Cajun jambalaya is another dish that has an almost infinite number of variations, which means you'll need to sample many different kinds to find your favorite. Jambalaya consists of meat cooked with vegetables which are then added to stock and served with rice. Chicken and sausage are popular jambalaya meats and are usually seasoned with celery, peppers, and onion. Tomatoes are usually present, as is some type of seafood.
Boudin, which is also known as blood sausage, is a traditional ingredient in Cajun dishes but is also available separately. It contains pork, liver, garlic, green onion, and spices and is contained in a casing that comes from the lining of a pig's stomach. A great chef would have a hard time making it look good when it's raw, but when smoked it is a popular dish that is often served with rice. A popular serving method of boudin is to shape it into balls, coat it in batter, and deep fry it. Boudin is best enjoyed fresh, as it does not keep long.
Crawfish is a staple of Cajun cuisine due to its ready availability in the bayous of Louisiana. You may find it difficult to find in your own State, so get your fill of it while you're on vacation. Crawfish, which resemble small lobsters, are traditionally boiled and served with potatoes, onions, and corn. By adding spice bags containing mustard seeds, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper, the crawfish take on a distinctive flavor which is often enhanced by serving it with cocktail sauce or Louisiana hot sauce.