Top Traditional Food to Try in New Orleans


New Orleans’ identity is rooted in soul food. People travel from all over to get a taste of the city’s buffet of comfort food served with a side of southern hospitality and eccentric culture.

With a melting pot of flavors from Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia, New Orleans cooks up some of the best meals in the world. Savory dishes like red beans and rice, crawfish, and yakamein feed the soul, while treats like pralines, snowballs, and beignets satisfy the sweet tooth. It is rare to find such a variety of food in one city, but in New Orleans, the options are as limitless as the stomachs it feeds.

Hot Boiled Crawfish at Cooter Brown’s

Eating crawfish is more than a meal — it’s an experience. The lobster-looking crustaceans appear in many traditional New Orleans dishes like crawfish etouffee, crawfish pasta, and crawfish pie. A New Orleans crawfish boil is a must in the spring. When attending a boil isn’t an option, Cooter Brown’s serves some of the best-boiled crawfish platters in the city.

New Orleans Muffuletta at Central Grocery

Central Grocery makes an Italian sandwich big enough to share with the whole group. The original muffuletta is made with a sesame loaf as big as one’s head and contains ham, salami, provolone, and olive salad. Muffulettas are super filling and perfect for a picnic in City Park.

Yakamein “Old Sober” at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Yakamein, or “Old Sober,” is the ultimate hangover cure. The Asian-inspired beef noodle soup typically comes with beef, chicken, or crawfish topped with a boiled egg. People accredit the Yakamein Lady, Ms. Linda Green, for bringing the recipe to fame. She serves Yakamein at various events and festivals in New Orleans but can usually be found at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival every year.

Pralines at Loretta’s Authentic Pralines

Avoiding pralines in a city that loves butter, sugar, and pecans is nearly impossible. New Orleans hosts a praline shop on almost every corner to keep up with the demand for its famous sweet treats. Loretta’s Authentic Pralines on Rampart Street offers various flavors like chocolate, rum, or peanut butter. For an extra indulgent experience, visitors can try the praline beignets for breakfast.

Barbecue Shrimp at Pascal’s Manale

Barbecue shrimp is a dish worth the mess it makes. Jumbo shrimp, tail and head-on, butter, and Worcestershire sauce, not barbecue sauce, make up the famous fare. Some restaurants serve fluffy French bread on the side to soak up the savory sauce. Pascal’s Manale is known to have one of the best renditions of barbeque shrimp, but many locations in New Orleans serve variations of the dish.

Creole Snapping Turtle Soup at Commander’s Palace

Creole snapping turtle soup is a New Orleans twist on the English classic. Over time, the clear broth base became a dark roux, and the turtles came from the swamp. Today, due to a ban on turtle hunting, Louisiana chefs use farmed turtles for their recipes. Commander’s Palace is known for its refined dining experience and one of the city’s best creole turtle soup recipes.

Charbroiled Oysters at Dragos

The best things come in small packages — like charbroiled oysters. Dragos, the birthplace of charbroiled oysters, broils them with butter, garlic, and spices, then tops them with parmesan and romano cheese. The quintessential New Orleans recipe has now become a nationwide sensation.

Experience New Orleans at J Collection’s Historic Streetcar Inn

The J Collection represents a portfolio of independent and branded hotels in New Orleans. J Collection’s vast destinations ensure a hotel for everyone and any occasion. One of the best hotels to experience New Orleans is the Historic Streetcar Inn, located at 1509 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. Book a stay with the Historic Streetcar Inn and create one-of-a-kind New Orleans memories.