Unusual Dishes - Taste Louisiana's Quirky Cuisine

From "mudbugs" to alligator, these unique Louisiana foods will make for a memorable (and tasty!) meal.

Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose’s Bed and Breakfast

Crawfish are a Louisiana staple and are the stars of many Louisiana food festivals.

Mirlitons grown in Louisiana

Mirlitons are part of the gourd family and offer a light, crisp flavor when sauteed.


Alligator meat offers another protein choice at dinner in Louisiana.

Billy's Boudin. Credit: St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission

Boudin is a tasty treat similar to a sausage.

Soft shell crab

Sink your teeth into some soft-shell crabs! A delicacy like no other, see how Lousiana serves it up.

It’s time to try something different! You might even come back for seconds. In this guide, we explore these Louisiana food staples where unusual and extra tasty flavors reside.

Unusual foods are not always what you expect! Try these unique Louisiana foods for yourself and see why.

Alligator: Southern Louisiana is full of swamplands and marshy coastal regions. It’s the perfect habitat for Alligators and they quickly became part of the everyday dining options. Alligator tastes similar to chicken or rabbit and the tenderloin, tail, ribs and other parts of the animal are used to create many different dishes like alligator Cajun spiced ribs, creole stew, fried alligator tail and more.  Try alligator pie at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival or to try a recipe at home, you can buy fresh gator from Cajun Grocer.  If you are really brave you can go hunt your alligator meat with an adventure from Grosse Savanne Wildlife Lodge.

Boudin: Boudin is a tradition and culinary staple around Lafayette and Lake Charles.  This authentically Cajun item is pronounced “boodan.” Most boudin is a blend of cooked pork, rice, onions, peppers, and seasonings stuffed into a sausage casing. Boudin blanc, or white boudin, is most common. Today, boudin makers sometimes get creative with various fillings, including seafood and alligator. It’s acceptable to eat them quickly and for any meal! Learn more about Boudin and where to get some!

Crawfish: Crawfish is probably one of the most well-known items in our unique foods list, however, not everyone is familiar with how you are supposed to eat these mudbugs! A delectable way to enjoy crawfish is from a crawfish boil.  After twisting the tail away from the head, you suck the head to get the juicy, briny flavors.  This is an optional step in the process but is also an extra step of fun.  See this crawfish eating guide. And check out all the Louisiana crawfish festivals.

Frog Legs: Frog legs have been served around Louisiana for centuries and to many, they are considered some of the tastiest food to come out of the southern Louisiana swamp waters. Whether they are buttermilk-battered & fried or served French Provencal style, the meat is tender and similar to the texture of chicken wings. Try a round at Chef Roy’s Frog City Café in Rayne or head to Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans.  Don’t miss the famous Rayne Frog Festival to really discover Louisiana’s love for frogs! Here is a frog leg recipe to try at home.

Mirlitons: Mirlitons, also known as Chayote, is a plant native to Brazil and has an interesting history in Louisiana. The mirliton is part of the gourd family and both the fruit, leaves and roots are edible. Records indicate that it’s been grown in New Orleans since 1867 and the city is virtually the only major urban area in North America where the mirliton was cultivated throughout the last century.  Mirlitons are usually lightly cooked and offer a crisp flavor packed with amino acids and vitamin C.  It’s traditionally incorporated into Thanksgiving dishes and when the root is added to stews, it offers a taste and texture similar to a potato.  Try some mirliton slaw with sea scallops at Bayona in New Orleans. Also in New Orleans, Muriel’s serves them up with some Louisiana alligator!

Soft Shell Crab: If you can find it in the bayou, there's likely a recipe in Louisiana for it. In the warm, coastal Louisiana waters, blue crabs are abundant. Soft shell crabs are crabs that have recently molted their exterior shell, making all parts of the crab edible, including the claws and the legs! Soft shell crabs are served in a number of varieties: from po'boys to pasta dishes, snag a dish during crab season in Louisiana!  Take a bite at Casamento's in New Orleans, or Roberto's River Road Restaurant in Sunshine.