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They say food is one way for you to experience a place’s culture and heritage. The way people season and cook their dishes reflect local taste. A particular cuisine can tell much about the place’s character, agriculture, and lifestyle. How people in a specific place eat, whether in bountiful servings or small portions, predominantly sweet or spicy, and mostly grilled or stir-fried, may somewhat relate to their temperament.
Lafayette, Louisiana is acknowledged as the center of Cajun culture in the United States. Also French in origin, there are some Creole communities in the area. Tourists mainly visit Lafayette to experience its Cajun and Creole cultures through sightseeing and, of course, dining. Although these two cuisines are similar because of their French foundation in cooking methods and choice of ingredients, each still has its own distinct taste and attribute.
It can be difficult for most people to differentiate Creole from Cajun food and vice versa. Both cultures are known for their love of cooking, eating, and entertaining guests with a generous meal. Some of their dishes may also have the same names, but the taste and look are very different. A basic point that’s helpful to remember is “city versus country.”
Creole cuisine began in New Orleans restaurants with access to local markets, trade ports, and patronized by city residents. On the other hand, Cajun cuisine originated from the country where residents lived off the land and cooked everything in a large pot. Restaurants in Lafayette mostly have a variety of Creole and Cajun dishes in their menu.
Lafayette restaurants that serve Creole cuisine are likely to use a sauce base made from butter and flour. Seafood such as oysters, crabs, and shrimp are their main ingredients or specialty. The Spanish and Italian influences in Creole cuisine are responsible for the frequent use of beans, tomato, rice, and citrus juice in marinades. Popular main dishes include Oysters Rockefeller, Jambalaya, Lobster Creole and Pompano en Papillote. Creole Gumbo is mainly tomato-based and more of a soup, compared to a Cajun’s Gumbo which more like a stew.
Restaurants Lafayette LA diners prefer for their Cajun cuisine fix are those that have dishes spiced up with Cayenne peppers and hot pepper sauces. With its country background, Cajun food is more seasoned and rural in flavor. Crawfish and pork are favorite ingredients in the Cajun kitchen. Classic dishes include Crawfish Etouffee, Blackened Fish, and Cajun Gumbo. The Cajun boudin is a popular snack made of ground pork leftovers which is mixed with rice and then deep fried. If you want to learn more about the similarities and differences of both cultures, you may visit neworleans.about.com.