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Whether you’re making a trip to Louisiana to celebrate Marti Gras, visit family, or simply take a vacation, you should make an effort to sample some incredible dishes from New Orleans. Though the region is known for its spicy Cajun and Creole flavors, there are some sweet and savory options, as well.

Beignets

Having been served in the city for more than 150 years, beignets are a delicious treat popular among locals and tourists alike. The word simply means “fritter” in French, and while most varieties are sweet, some restaurants and markets offer savory beignets, as well. Commonly topped with powdered sugar and accompanied by cafe au lait, beignets are a staple.

Gumbo

If you’re visiting in a cooler month, gumbo is an absolute necessity, but it’s actually tasty at any time of year. This hearty stew is crafted in a wide variety of ways; some versions feature seafood and okra, others highlight meats like chicken and sausage. The stew is always thick and served with rice. You can visit any number of restaurants to try different variations of gumbo, and it’s practically guaranteed that all of them will be delicious in their own way.

Étouffeé

Simply meaning “smothered,” étouffeé is a dish that celebrates the culture and climate of New Orleans in a delicious way. This dish blends seafood (such as crawfish, shrimp, and crab) with roux, butter, celery, green peppers, and onions into a savory gravy served on top of rice. Some varieties replace the roux with cream or tomato paste. 

Muffulettas

A muffuletta is a large, round sandwich stuffed with deli meats, cheeses, and olive salad; while this item may sound simple, the sandwich is rooted in New Orleans history as it was likely created when Salvador Lupo combined the deli spread requests of dockworkers into a sandwich. The sandwich can easily serve four individuals and often comes in whole and half sizes. Many establishments serve muffulettas warm, but you can still get the sandwich cold in Lupo’s Central Grocery

Turtle Soup

Rich, robust, and distinctly Creole, this dish is both unique and timeless. Turtle soup recipes exist from all around the world; in New Orleans, the soup often features alternatives to turtle meat (such as veal and alligator) in addition to the soup’s namesake; boiled eggs and dry sherry also garnish the dish. It is illegal to hunt wild turtles in the state of Louisiana, so all turtles used for this soup are farmed.