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Taste New Orleans in a Bowl at Waterfront Places to Eat in Gulf Shores

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There’s no shortage of good eats when you travel down Gulf Shores, Alabama. From the freshest crabs, shrimp, crawfish, shellfish, and fish, to appetite-sparking sides like fried tomatoes and clam chowders, you’re bound to get your fill of some of the tastiest dishes the region has to offer.

But there’s one dish that truly embodies Southern cuisine, and that is gumbo. In fact, no places to eat in Gulf Shores will have a menu that doesn’t include this hot and rich bowl of history and culture.

The Basics of Gumbo

It is said that gumbo originated in Southern Louisiana as far back as the 18th century. Some trace it back to the French stew called bouillabaisse, a hearty seafood soup. Others refer to West Africa from which the word “gumbo” was coined, which meant okra in the local language. No matter how it began, gumbo is now one of the most beloved products of Southern cooking.

All the Good Stuff

A pot of gumbo will usually have various seafood and shellfish. Its base contains a stock with strong flavors. In addition, gumbo is not complete without the Holy Trinity of vegetables which includes onions, bell peppers, and celery.

To make it even heartier, various thickeners are used. For instance, some cooks may choose to use roux, a blend of butter and flour. There are those, however, who claim that authentic gumbo should only be thickened with okra, and if not available, file powder added after the gumbo is taken off the heat.

Choose Your Meat

While seafood such as shrimp may be some of the most popular gumbo meat, some restaurants also use sausage, ham, and other types of meat to make other versions of this dish. For the truly adventurous, however, there are places to eat in Gulf Shores, AL where you can ask for alligator meat to make your gumbo even more interesting. You can definitely have your gumbo on its own, but to balance out the assertive flavors, it’s often served over steaming, hot rice.

Order Up

While no Southern meal experience is complete without gumbo, there are other dishes that also represent the spirit of the South. For example, have some fried green tomato fries or fried pickles to whet your appetite. Dig into steamed crab, shrimp, or crawfish which are always served juicy and fresh. Finish your meal with some key lime pie to end on a sweet note.

Whatever you choose, an authentic Southern meal in Gulf Shores, AL is always bound to be an unforgettable gastronomic experience.


Best. Gumbo. Ever., smithsonianmag.com

GUMBO ORIGIN and HISTORY, foodreference.com