Alligator Anyone? Gulf Coast Food is more than Gumbo.
The gulf coast is spectacularly beautiful and the food is strange and exciting. If you’re not into a lot of odd ball cuisine choices, there’s still plenty for you in the form of shrimp! In the words of Bubba from Forest Gump: You can Boil it, broil it, sauté it, shrimp kebab, shrimp gumbo , pan fried, deep fried, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, shrimp salad, well – you get the idea, shrimp is a versatile food – and there’s plenty of it here for those of you who are less adventurous.
For the others – this is a paradise of odd foods, just waiting to be tasted. Alligator is a common menu item found throughout the gulf coast, usually deep fried or grilled, it’s delicious in any form. It’s a white meat – with a great texture and a taste similar to rabbit or chicken, although sometimes it can taste a little swampy. It’s tender and makes a great appetizer if you’re only brave enough to eat a few small fried bites, after you taste it though; you’re going to want more.
Frog legs are another common item found on gulf coast menus, the dark meat is usually fried or deep fried and served in much the same way as chicken wings, coated and sometimes with a sauce. They’re greasy and delicious and are very much comparable to their feathered counterpart. The frogs in the south are a good size – so if you imagine gnawing on tiny little sticks, think again! They’ve got much more meat and flavor than you’d expect, but again, sometimes they can taste a little swampy.
The gulf tends to favor very spicy foods – they blacken most of their meats with Cajun seasoning, which is usually perfected throughout generations and passed down through the family. It can light up even the most daring of adventures, tread carefully.
If you’re looking for a real treat – that can come in either spicy or mild varieties, Gumbo is just the ticket. A giant pot filled with just about everything they could think of – meats ranging from Chicken and seafood – to the more bizarre like alligator, along with sausage, vegetables and Cajun spices. The broth is thin and spicy, but paired with rice, it’s an explosion of flavor in every bite, with every spoon bringing a different ingredient to your lips, it’s sure to keep your taste buds excited.
If you’re not as adventurous as all of that – but still would love to taste something different – that isn’t shrimp, there are plenty of places that offer crawfish or crayfish boils! These places take tons of the small lobster like crustaceans and boil them together with corn and potatoes, usually seasoning them well with a spicy Cajun seasoning. They then bring them to you to begin a marathon of cracking shells. It’s great fun with friends and family if you enjoy cracking shells by hand, but be prepared to crack a lot, because as deliciously mouthwatering as those little suckers are, there isn’t much meat to be had.
Many locals will tell you that sucking out the brains is the best way to eat them – and while it may make the squeamish turn green – it is the most effective and delicious way to eat them!
If you’re a lover of trying new and different foods, the Gulf is defiantly the place for you, and even if you’re not, there is a multitude of delicious options for you to choose from! Just think of that shrimp! The food itself is worth the trip!