Making your way through the crowds, selecting the perfect vendor and sifting through menus until placing your order–mastering the food scene at festivals in New Orleans is truly an art and a sport. Although you’d be hard-pressed to find foods that are an all-out bust, there are some that standout as an absolute MUST. So we’ve rounded up some of our favorite fest foods to cut down on your search and rev up your satisfaction. And if it’s not quite time for your festival of choice, we’ve got you covered on where you can find these foods year-round.
Beignet Fest - Praline-Filled Beignets, Loretta’s Authentic Pralines
A delicious hybrid between two of New Orleans’ most beloved sweets. A favorite among Beignet Festival attendees, these flaky traditional beignets are fried to perfection, filled with warm praline sauce, and topped with powdered sugar and one more drizzle of sweet praline.
Beyond the festival, you can find these sweet treats at Loretta’s Authentic Pralines - home of the Praline Beignet.
French Quarter Festival - Shrimp & Alligator Sausage Cheesecake, Jacques-Imo's Cafe
Slightly unconventional but seriously delectable! Your French Quarter Festival experience isn’t complete without a slice of Jacques-Imo's Shrimp & Alligator Sausage Cheesecake. Pro-tip: FQF stretches from the Riverfront to the Jazz Museum, but you can find this treat near Jackson Square vendors.
Won't be in town during the fest but cheesecake curiosity tempting you? Visit Jacques-Imo’s Café and see what other unique creations they have on the menu.
Tet Fest - Variety of Vietnamese Cuisine
Tet Fest, the annual celebration of the Vietnamese New Year, showcases a host of traditional Vietnamese entertainment, activities, and of course, cuisine. Pho, báhn mì, and spring rolls are just a few of the globally-inspired eats made available at the festival.
Experience this Southeast Asian cuisine while at the fest and explore our list of Best Vietnamese Restaurants in New Orleans for more options.
National Fried Chicken Festival - Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, Southerns
Popeyes sparked a national craze to crown the best fried chicken sandwich, and it’s safe to say that Southerns certainly delivered. With a line wrapped down the width of Woldenberg Park, they easily dominated the 2019 Fried Chicken Fest with their Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich. Spicy chicken, pickles, mayo and slaw - a simple recipe, yet so satisfying.
You don’t have to wait for the next chicken fest to enjoy one. Follow Southerns on social media and see which local brewery they’re popping up next. Wrong Iron, Miel, and Urban South are a few places where you might find the sandwich.
Oak Street PoBoy Festival - Creole Hot Sausage Po-boy, Vaucresson Sausage Co.
New Orleanians are serious about their hot sausage, and Vaucresson is a longstanding favorite among locals. See what the rave is all about at the next Oak Street Po-Boy Festival or at any Dat Dog location across the Crescent City the rest of the year. Dress it up or keep it traditional - the sausage will speak for itself.
Jazz Fest - WWOZ Mango Freeze
An ever-popular pick-me-up available at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is the WWOZ Mango Freeze. In the midst of tent hopping, taste testing, and second lining, stop by the WWOZ booth and cool off with this colorful delicacy. Pro-tip: turn your freeze into an adult beverage by combining canned sparkling wine (available at various spots around the fairgrounds) with the frosty treat.
As for where to find this frozen delight outside of festivals like Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest, you’re mostly out of luck, but follow WWOZ on social media for surprise appearances.
Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival - Cochon De Lait Po-Boy, Walker's
Five inches of slow-smoked pork topped with fresh cabbage and Creole sauce. Do we need to explain further why Walker’s Cochon De Lait Po-Boy is a must during your next visit to the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival?
Get the full Cochon De Lait experience by heading over to Walker’s Southern Style BBQ for an entire meal paired alongside a few of their savory sides.
Boudin, Bourbon & Beer - Rotating Boudin Dish, Cochon Butcher
An annual culinary extravaganza uniting more than 70 top chefs throughout New Orleans and beyond all in the name of boudin, a spicy Cajun sausage filled with pork and rice. Each chef puts their own unique twist on this Southwest Louisiana delight. Be on the lookout for Chef Donald Link, a reoccurring participant and co-chair. His 2019 dish was classic Cajun boudin with Cochon mustard.