Down here in The Crescent City—cradled as we are by the muddy waters of the mighty Mississippi, just north of where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico—natives think of fresh, affordable seafood as their birthright. There is perhaps no better illustration of the local attitude toward seafood than the shrimp po’ boy.
You Can Make New Orleans’ Famous Shrimp Po’ Boys Tonight
Where else could you expect to get a huge loaf of NOLA-style French bread absolutely overflowing with crispy fried shrimp for around 10 bucks? But that’s just life in New Orleans. We’re ideally located to haul in the catch from the fleet of trawlers weighted down with wild Gulf shrimp, and we’ve grown accustomed to it.
Though excellent versions are sold on just about every corner, my favorites come from storied local institution Parkway Bakery and Tavern on the scenic Bayou St. John and neighborhood dive Frady’s One Stop Food Store in The Bywater.
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Parkway, which has been open for more than a century and practically invented the po’ boy, is still pleasing tourists and locals alike with their classic version (the shrimp is exceptional), as well as some glorious, jazzed-up options. You can take yours to the next level by ordering the James Brown, stacked not only with fried Louisiana shrimp but also with their classic roast beef and creole gravy. Then they top it off with pepper jack cheese and some hot sauce mayo for a po’ boy that would satisfy the hunger of even the hardest working man in show biz.
Shrimp Po' BoysThis street-food sandwich has been a workday favorite in Louisiana for generations. We wanted it at home.
But places like Frady’s (which is still cash only and has a sign that reads “No wi fi. Sit and talk.”) remind you of the humble origins of this sandwich, created to fill up striking streetcar workers on the cheap. Just don’t expect a lot of frills at Frady’s. If you order yours “dressed,” you’ll get lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mayonnaise. On top of that, you can always ask for hot sauce. Sure, you could probably get them to put cheese or something on it, but my advice is to do like my wife who was born and raised in the city and order yours “dressed with extra hot sauce.”
Or if you can’t get down to NOLA anytime soon, make your own at home. Our failproof recipe will more than tide you over until you can come visit us.