How to Get a Taste of Southern Culture in Southwest Louisiana

How to Get a Taste of Southern Culture in Southwest Louisiana

Meals with crawfish, boudin, hog-tied shrimp can easily be found.

By Kevin Litwin on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 08:54


That Mardi Gras scream is a tribute to the Cajun and Creole meals cooked to spicy perfection each day in restaurants throughout Southwest Louisiana. Ideal with one or two Bloody Marys (optional), food items often come in appetizer or soup forms to allow diners to sample several menu dishes at one sitting.

Items like hog-tied shrimp, crawfish étouffée and boudin. Red beans and sausage, crab cakes and fire shrimp, and seafood gumbo and jambalaya soup. Amazing, amazing Cajun and Creole choices. By the way: The only difference between Cajun and Creole food? Creole cuisine uses tomatoes, and Cajun does not.

So fire up your taste buds – here are five culinary hotspots in Southwest Louisiana where it’s easy to find this unique kind of spicy, zesty cuisine:

French LaLa Creole Kitchen

In the city of Oakdale in Allen Parish is French LaLa Creole Kitchen, known for its variety of fish, crawfish and shrimp offerings. The restaurant also features another Southwest Louisiana seafood taste treat – Po’boy sandwiches – made with fried shrimp and served on French bread, topped with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Delish.

Mike’s Seafood Restaurant & Steakhouse

Crabmeat au gratin is one of many specialty items served to customers who frequent Mike’s Seafood Restaurant & Steakhouse, a popular dining destination in Jennings in Jefferson Davis Parish. The eatery also serves boudin, a spicy sausage dish made with pork and rice. The dish is so well-liked that the community of Sulphur in neighboring Calcasieu Parish hosts an annual Boudin Wars cooking competition every September.

Also served at Mike’s (especially during the Mardi Gras season) are king cakes, a rich dessert pastry stuffed with fruit, cream cheese and Bavarian filling.

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Steamboat Bill’s

You can never go wrong when ordering thick and hearty gumbo soup made fresh each day at Steamboat Bill’s in DeRidder in Beauregard Parish. Diners have the choice of chicken gumbo or andouille sausage gumbo, and both are traditionally served with rice and/or potato salad. Also available to customers is jambalaya, a soup much like gumbo but with a rice base and no broth. Soup’s on!

Walk-On’s Bistreaux and Bar

At Walk-On’s Bistreaux and Bar in Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish, one of the hottest items on the daily menu is a roux-based Louisiana etouffee served over rice and topped with fried crawfish tails, green onions and garlic bread. Etouffee is a seafood gravy always served over rice, with either shrimp or crawfish – and it’s always scrumptious.

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Anchors Up Grill

Catfish and soft shell crabs are two of the many regional delicacies offered to diners at Anchors Up Grill, located in the city of Cameron in Cameron Parish. Also available at the restaurant is another interesting Southwest Louisiana food called cracklins, which are bite-sized chunks of pig skin fat, fried to a crisp. These tasty morsels require several hours to prepare and are also sold in specialty stores throughout the region.


Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years. He was previously an editor for a small-town newspaper for 10 years, and is now...