One thing that sets Louisiana apart from anywhere else in the United States is our delicious food. We always have a reason to gather and eat! The food in Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana is prepared by people who know what to do with the bounty that nature provides. But, if you’re visiting the area, you’ll probably see some “interesting” words and ingredients on the menu. Here’s a list of Cajun cooking words and their meaning to help you navigate your way through our menu or through this delectable cuisine.

Andouille (ahn-doo-wee) – A lean, spicy, smoked Cajun pork sausage that adds great flavor.

Bisque (bisk) – A rich, thick creamy soup made from seafood In Cajun country; it’s usually made with crawfish or shrimp.

Boudin (boo-dan) – A seasoned Cajun sausage traditionally made of pork, rice and spices.

Boudin on a Plate_small

Boulettes (boo-lets) – Ground seafood, usually fish, crawfish, or shrimp, mixed with seasonings and breadcrumbs, then deep-fried in oil.

The Cajun Trinity – The Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking includes celery, onions and bell pepper.

Cane Syrup – An essential ingredient in Louisiana Pecan Pie and lots of other favorite Southern dishes.

Cochon de Lait (coo-shon duh lay) – An event where a suckling pig is roasted over a blistering hickory fire until the inside is tender and juicy and the outside brittle as well-cooked bacon.

Cous-Cous or Couche-Couche (koosh-koosh) – A popular Cajun breakfast food made by frying cornmeal and topping it with milk, coffee milk or cane syrup.


Courtbouillon (coo-boo-yon) – A spicy Louisiana stew made with fish, tomatoes, onions and vegetables, and typically thickened with roux.

Catfish Courtbouillon
(Photo: Acadiana Table)

Filé (fee-lay) – Ground sassafras leaves used to thicken and flavor gumbo.

Fricassee (free-kay-say) – A thick Cajun stew made with roux and any type of meat.

Grillades (GREE yads) – Beef or veal round steak, browned, and simmered until tender in browned tomato sauce served over grits.

Maque Choux (mock shoe) – A Cajun dish of smothered corn, tomatoes, onions and peppers. Sometimes shrimp or crawfish are added to make a main dish.

Pain Perdu (pan-per-doo) – Literally, “Lost Bread,” referring to the stale bread that would otherwise be thrown out, also known as French toast.

Pistolette (pistol-let) – A small French bread that is cut and the middle scooped out so that it can be filled with a delicious Cajun favorite, such as crawfish étouffée.

(Steamboat Bill's stuffed pistolettes; Photo: Culinary Traveler)

Sauce Piquante (sos pee-kawnt) – A thick, sharp flavored sauce made with roux and tomatoes, highly seasoned with herbs and peppers, simmered for hours.

Turducken – A unique “Cajun Bird” created when a turkey is stuffed with a duck which is stuffed with a chicken. And it’s also stuffed with lots of Cajun dressings and seasonings.

Yam – A sweet potato-like vegetable, but usually sweeter.


Now that you know some Cajun cooking terms, it’s time to get to the kitchen and get to work! To get some ideas, check out our Cajun recipes from local restaurants here. Share your culinary creation by taking a photo and tagging it with #EatSWLA or #VisitLakeCharles!

To learn more Cajun cooking words, visit