One of the joys of traveling through the Deep South is that your tastebuds get to go on an exciting journey right along with you. The Deep South is renowned the world over for delectable fried chicken, yet there is so much more to devour as you explore this region. Louisiana alone is a food-lover’s paradise, and we’ve put together a few recommendations to get you started on your culinary adventure. Make sure you arrive hungry.
You should be warned that much of the food we’re about to tempt you with is the type of food that requires a post-meal nap—or at the very least, a post-meal timeout with a good book. You could google how to find a safe online casino and then play a few games in the downtime. It doesn’t matter what you do, just give yourself time to digest your meal before you continue on with your journey.
Gumbo is a roux-based stew. Roux is a combination of flour and fat, such as bacon fat, oil or butter. Gumbo can be made with seafood or chicken and sausage. For Louisianans, this dish is so richly ingrained in the culture, it’s practically sacred. There is some debate as to whether this dish originated with the Creoles or the Cajuns, but certainly, the best examples of this mouth-watering stew can be found in Cajun Country at restaurants like Cafe Vermilionville in Lafayette. For a taste of the Creole version, head to the New Orleans French Quarter and book a table at Galatoire’s, and don’t forget to dress up for the occasion because they won’t let you in if you’re not wearing fancy threads.
Jambalaya is often confused with gumbo, but it’s actually closer to a Spanish paella. This flavourful dish is rice-based and within it, you’ll find a smorgasbord of smoked sausage or andouille, chicken and vegetables. The spices, of course, are where the similarity to paella ends, and this dish packs a punch. As with most Cajun food, jambalaya is an inexpensive way to utilize any ingredients that you have on hand while still retaining a sense of cohesion. The base ingredients are always onion, celery, and bell pepper—what’s known as “the holy trinity.” The Creole version of this exquisite mishmash is made with tomatoes, as opposed to the Cajun version, which does not contain tomatoes. This is a small, but mighty, difference in the eyes of Louisianans.
You can find versions of this sandwich throughout the country, but you’ll find the real deal in Louisiana. A poboy is a sandwich, but not just any sandwich. A poboy is probably the best sandwich you will ever eat in your life. The bread, a type of French bread that is light and fluffy with a crunchy crust, was created specifically for this sandwich and is fully loaded with lettuce, tomato and either meat or seafood. The filling can be almost anything, from roast beef and gravy, to fried shrimp, oysters, ham and cheese or even alligator.
The poboy was created by the Martin brothers (former streetcar drivers themselves) during the 1929 streetcar strike in New Orleans. The brothers wanted to support those who were on the picket line (known as the “poor boys” because they were not being paid) by giving them free sandwiches—and thus the poboy was born. The brothers collaborated with John Gendusa, a local baker, to perfect the bread. All three men are now legends in the culinary universe.
Moving on to something a little sweeter, let us introduce the beignet: Louisiana’s official doughnut. Yes, it is a doughnut that is so good, the state felt the need to claim it as officially theirs. You may find beignets in other parts of the South, but none so fine as the beignets you’ll find in the New Orleans’ French Quarter at Cafe Du Monde. One bite into this light, sugary dough (deep-fried, of course) will send your tastebuds to heaven. Pair them with a cup of cafe au lait for the ultimate foodie high.