The 30th Annual Mudbug Madness Festival will take place this weekend, May 23-26, in downtown Shreveport’s Festival Plaza. Festival-goers can expect nonstop live music on three stages (including lots of Zydeco from the likes of Dwayne Dopsie, Wayne Toups, and Terrence Simien), loads of entertainment options for kids, a closing night fireworks ceremony, and more.
In addition to fantastic live music, the festival’s strong suit is food. While boiled crawfish are always popular, I enjoy exploring the eclectic offerings of food vendors, which range from authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine to ridiculous festival fare. I’ve taken a look at the list of food vendors for this year’s event, and I’m particularly excited about three in particular:
Market 104 @ The Hilton Shreveport is bringing out a few great-sounding seafood items, including BBQ shrimp skewers and crab cake sandwiches. But my very first food stop at Mudbug Madness will be for Market 104’s conch fritters, which Executive Chef John Salmon made a hit out of during the early days of Abby Singer’s Bistro at the Robinson Film Center, where he was cooking at the time. If you’ve never tasted conch fritters – they’re tremendously popular in southern Florida, but hard to find elsewhere – they’re like hush puppies filled with seafood and spice.
Lila Davis Catering will be serving a variety of Louisiana favorites including crawfish etouffee, dirty rice and chicken and sausage gumbo. One of my favorite experiences at last year’s Mudbug Madness was sitting down with a piping hot bowl of Davis’ Creole sauce piquante (pictured in the photo above). Sauce piquante is like a spicier cousin to shrimp Creole, and can be made with chicken, venison or other game meats. Chef John Folse’s chicken sauce piquante recipe looks a lot like what Davis and company will be dishing out at Mudbug Madness. It’s fantastic.
At any festival, handheld food items that don’t require a plate or a table are going to be popular. At Mudbug Madness and festivals throughout Louisiana, the crawfish pistolette is my go-to meal of choice when one hand needs to be reserved for a cold beverage. About the size of a large dinner roll, a crawfish pistolette is a deep-fried roll stuffed with crawfish etouffee. C&C Catering and Concessions will be serving crawfish and crab pistolettes at this year’s Mudbug madness.