Creole cuisine is a type of cooking that originated over time in the American south, specifically Louisiana. Creole blends aspects of French, Spanish, West African cooking and more, resulting in a wholly unique and interesting legacy of food, though the French aspect may be the one that most people associate the style with.
Cajun cuisine, on the other hand, is different from Creole, though the two are often conflated. Cajun is a more overtly French-influenced cuisine, and it does share a number of similarities to Creole. Old French influence has a major history in the region, and it makes sense how strongly it impacts the local cuisine.
Both deal heavily in seafood and spicy flavors, using seasonings like chili, cayenne, green and red peppers along with delicious and savory additions like bay leaf, oregano, onion and garlic. Creole and Cajun dishes are always vibrant and full of bold and exciting flavors. For fans of spice and seafood, if you haven’t had the chance to get your hands on Creole or Cajun cuisine, you need to make it a priority.
Some of the most common dishes served as Creole and Cajun specialties are crawfish, jambalaya, red beans and rice and bisque. Seafood is usually an integral aspect of a dish, oftentimes using shrimp or crawfish. For most folks, these dishes aren’t easy to prepare at home from scratch, unless it’s a family tradition passed down to you.
Another quintessential Creole and Cajun seafood ingredient is the oyster. Oysters make up one of the most distinctive taste palettes present in Creole cuisine, often served as an appetizer before the main course. Dishes such as Oysters Rockefeller and Oysters Bienville can be found on many menus in the south.
Americans, especially younger ones, are eating out multiple times a week on average, and it’s easier now to find restaurants that cater to flavors outside the cultural norm. We encourage you to venture out and try some Creole or Cajun food whenever you see the opportunity! If you find yourself visiting the south, make sure to indulge in this delicious seafood tradition.
Do you have any favorite Creole or Cajun foods? Anything you’ve been able to make at home? Share your favorite recommendations and recipes down in the comments below, and good eating!