Spice of Life

Along the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, you can sample all varieties of this deliciously spicy Louisiana staple.

Boudin from Hackett’s Cajun Kitchen

Calcasieu Parish isn’t necessarily an out-of-the-way place, considering that the much-traveled Interstate 10 runs through Lake Charles, its parish seat. Still, some local residents and others from around Louisiana haven’t taken the opportunity to travel all of the quirky stops located in the southwestern section of the state, an area rich in a culture that could be described as Cajun with a dash of Texan.

Here, beef, cowboy boots, pickup trucks and horses are about as plentiful as pirogues, Cajun and zydeco dances, hunting lodges and étouffée. Toss in a strong sense of black, Creole, Lebanese, Syrian, German, Italian and Jewish pride, and all of a sudden a Calcasieu Parish smorgasbord of food, music and social life emerges.

Among all these aforementioned cultures, there is a single tasty  creation that ties it all together with a perfect balance of rice, meat and zesty seasonings. This staple cuisine can be found from the westernmost parts of Vinton to the eastern hamlet of Iowa.

The common denominator? Boudin.

The Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail was unveiled in Lake Charles last fall; the tour features specialty meat shops, grocery stores, delis and convenience stores in DeQuincy, Sulphur, Vinton, Westlake, Moss Bluff, Iowa, Lake Charles and even the small Cameron Parish hamlets of Grand Lake and Hackberry.

Modern-day boudin could be considered the jazzed-up end result of a culinary collaboration among Cajuns, Germans, Creoles and African Americans. Made of varying amounts of pork, liver, rice, onions, parsley, salt, red and black pepper and garlic powder, some of the best boudin can be sampled from indistinct stops off the beaten path –– places such as the Bar-B-Que Pit Stop in Westlake, The Sausage Link in Sulphur, Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen in Iowa and Brown’s Grocery in Hackberry.

If you want spice, stop at Peto’s in Moss Bluff. If you want crawfish and shrimp instead of the usual meats, stop at Hackett’s Cajun Kitchen in Lake Charles.

Stop where you will, but only one thing is certain: If you buy a  pound of boudin from all the haunts on the trail, you’ll find lots of flavors that will please the palate.

There are 17 total stops on the official boudin map. Some places –– such as Rabideaux’s, for instance –– you won’t find unless you’re looking for them. Others, such as the Market Basket on Nelson Road in Lake Charles, are in more trafficked places –– not quite as quirky but still just as worthy.

Each city and area represented on the trail has its own unique story, so while eating, ask locals about the places they live.

Traveling the Boudin Trail isn’t just a food-finding exercise, though that by itself is good incentive. It’s also an exercise in Calcasieu Parish exploration –– an opportunity to visit every corner of Southwest Louisiana, with all its culture and character.

You Might Also Like

Cam Jordan

10 Things to Do in New Orleans This Weekend

Our top picks for events happening in the weekend of July 25-27.

Renaissance Publishing Wins Big at Press Club Awards

The company won eight first place awards and multiple second and third place awards at the Press Club of New Orleans' Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Cool Drinks to Enjoy This Summer

Creative spins on the daiquiri and other cool drinks to try when it's hot.

6 Things To Do in New Orleans This Weekend

Our top picks for this weekend's events.

Add your comment:

Latest Posts

In Which Your Intrepid Reporter Moves and Eats at Mint

Eating at a place I’ve been meaning to visit for quite a while.

Tastes of Summer

Simple, fresh and local ingredients create the best treats of the season.

Strange, Wonderful and New Wines

New wines to try.

NOTMC scores with 'Travel and Leisure' distinction

An interview with Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation (NOTMC)

City planners: Let the Deutsches Haus Look German

Making the case for architecture that doesn't "mesh well" with its surroundings