11 New Orleans Food Experiences You Absolutely Must Try
By Jeffery Smith, Jr.
What is great about the Big Easy is there are so many adventures you can go on while enjoying the food and culture of New Orleans. Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure you can find an assortment of entrees and snacks to put a smile on your face.
King Cake for Mardi Gras
Usually falling in either February or March, the streets of New Orleans are completely covered by the parade and festival goers. While collecting the most beads is one of the most exciting parts of Mardi Gras food is also a major part of the festival. A true Mardi Gras festival isn’t complete without a King Cake. There is a baby hidden inside the cake (yes, it’s a small toy) and tradition says whoever gets it is responsible for next year’s cake or for hosting the next year’s party.
It’s only fitting to do a swamp tour if you are down in the bayou. Get outside of the city see some gators, snakes, nutria etc on Jean Lafitte’s Swamp Tour. Once finished grab an awesome creole style meal at Restaurant des Families located within walking distance of Jean Lafitte’s where you can apply your new knowledge of the swamps.
These are an experience all on their own. You can literally make a day of bouncing around the city trying them at multiple restaurants to find your favorite. While Drago’s is highly popular for tourist to try these, Neyow’s Creole Cafe is hands down my absolute favorite. Watch as they cook them in the front corner of the restaurant and smell the butter garlic sauce aroma steaming off of the oyster. A must, while you wait at Neyow’s, is to get a cup of their Bow Wow Punch, you’ll thank me when you can stand the next day!
Willie’s Chicken Shack on Bourbon Street
There’s no way you can come down to the bayou and not hit the infamous Bourbon Street strip while visiting New Orleans. Now, while there are multiple locations the Willie’s Chicken Shack at 630 Bourbon Street gets it right everytime. Grab a frozen daiquiri and get your insta-storying on while you wait for your food because the people watching here is hilarious.
Crawfish Mambo: Cook-off & Festival
Typically in early May has grown into New Orleans largest cook-off competition. You can sample dozens of crawfish boils cooked a variety of ways by teams competing for a cash prize.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest was put into place by city leaders that wanted to build an event that was worthy of the legacy of New Orleans as the birthplace of jazz. Held in the spring each year this festival only gets bigger and bigger. Enjoy a classic NOLA style praline from the Praline Queen, Loretta Harrison while you are there.
The yearly music festival draws out thousands upon thousands of people each year to see amazing concerts, panel discussions, and city-wide events. Of course, no New Orleans festival would be complete without food and Essence Fest does not disappoint. Inside of the convention center, they have over 30+ vendors in the Essence Eats area serving so much good food you will need a wheel barrel to roll you out.
Enjoy a relaxing evening on the Mississippi River aboard this Steamboat for a jazz dinner cruise. Steamboat Natchez give great views of the city, relaxing jazz music and avoid restaurant lines while you enjoy classic New Orleans style dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee, etc.
“Put a smile on your face” is the motto at Dat Dog and that’s exactly what happens when you bite into one of these creations. With over 30 toppings, choice of dogs, sausages (with a choice of veggie, vegan and fish), burgers and chicken everyone can find something they will love.
Luke New Orleans
Luke is a bit more upscale than the usual New Orleans restaurants but what is really cool about dining here is the German infusion into the Creole classics. Be sure to get a French 75 cocktail with your meal here, it’s the best one in the city!
Christmas New Orleans Style
End the year with unique and authentic New Orleans holiday culture and experiences. Enjoy a cafe au lait and light airy beignets from Cafe du Monde and enjoy holiday traditions of the city. Bonfires on the Levees is an awesome Christmas event that happens every year where creatively built bonfires are lit on top of the Mississippi River Levees. These bonfires are said to light the way for Santa Clause, or as they call him in the bayou Papa Noel.