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Fun Facts about Gumbo, a Popular Dish at Local Gulf Shores Restaurants

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If you're looking for a hearty, filling, flavorful meal while in Gulf Shores, then make sure to order gumbo at local restaurants. Often made with seafood, thickened with okra, and served over a heaping of bed rice, no other food encapsulates the warmth of home quite like gumbo.


And aside from its unforgettable taste, this iconic dish also has an interesting backstory to it. For the unfamiliar, here are a few fun facts about this local delicacy:

It May Have Originated in Africa

Gumbo is something of a culinary mystery as there are many theories as to its origins. While some believe that it's inspired by French cuisine, strong evidence points to an African origin. The giveaway is the name itself—the word "gumbo" can be traced back to the West African term for okra, which is a common ingredient in this dish.


But Okra Isn't Always an Ingredient

As with any dish, different people have different versions of gumbo. As such, some people cook gumbo without okra, using instead an ingredient called "file," which is made from the powdered leaves of the sassafras plant. As with okra, this substitute ingredient is also added to gumbo to give it thick, hearty consistency.

Rice is Nice

However, there is one thing that cannot be missing whenever gumbo is served: rice! Serving gumbo with rice offers a nice counterbalance to the richness of the dish. Usually, you'll be served with plain, long-grain rice, but other varieties are also known to be used. Whichever the case, though, it's hard to deny that rice is a great match for gumbo.

There are Three Main Categories of Gumbo

Speaking of, while there are certainly countless versions of gumbo, they do tend to fall into three general categories:

Seafood Gumbo: especially popular in seaside communities, this version offers a rich combination of shrimp, crawfish, crabs, and oysters.

Poultry-Sausage Gumbo: Chicken and turkey are often used for this concoction, and pieces of smoked sausage and Andouille are added for a dash of savory flavor.

Gumbo Z'Herbes: Does a meatless gumbo exist? Actually it does! The Z'Herbes gumbo is made with various greens and is commonly prepared for lent.

Gumbo is one of the most beloved dishes in the area, and one that you absolutely must try when eating at a popular Gulf Shores restaurant. One spoonful of gumbo and you'll know why it's become a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

Gumbo History, WhatsCookingAmerica.net
Things You Didn't Know About Gumbo, Thrillist.com