Photo: My very amateur photo of the elusive Nokey Rotel, a twist on the popular party dip that will be available at the 28th Annual Let the Good Times Roll Festival.
Long before I’d ever had my first taste of Nokey Rotel, I’d heard about it from friends. The story went that there was a guy who made the most phenomenal, complex Rotel dip imaginable. He’d pop up from time to time at a festival or on a street corner, selling variations of this dip to a growing legion of fans. “Nokey Rotel,” as this awesome Rotel dip is called, isn’t something that you get a chance to eat every day. But local food lovers and others in attendance at the 28th Annual Let the Good Times Roll Festival, taking place June 20-22 in downtown Shreveport’s Festival Plaza, can line up to buy a platter of this profoundly satisfying dip from the man himself, Elmer “Bigg Nokey” Henderson.
As for the dip, it is visually intimidating, meaty and replete with chunks of Velveeta, diced peppers and onions, and who knows what else, all ladled in a heroic quantity over a bed of tortilla chips that seems unprepared to carry the weight. After you’ve located Bigg Nokey and bought yourself some Nokey Rotel, the next challenge is to find some way to eat it – while standing up, surrounded by a crowd of festival goers – instead of wearing it. You may require assistance. It’s worth the effort.
As for the man, Bigg Nokey – a former football player who was sidelined by an injury – towers over the customers who line up at his booth, called A Taste of Nokey. Soft-spoken and modest about most things, he’s neither when talking about this dip. He will tell you that there are imitators, those who seek to claim his cheesy throne. This is why he changes his recipes on a regular basis, to stay one step ahead of those who’d copy his Rotel, burgers, gumbo and other creations.
While there are plenty of other Shreveport-Bossier delicacies on the menu at the Let the Good Times Roll Festival, Nokey Rotel is the most essential – it is a hard-to-find taste of Shreveport.
For admission fees, music line-up and other information on the Let the Good Times Roll Festival, visit the event’s website.