Turtle Sauce Picante - Gastro Obscura
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Turtle Sauce Picante

This smoky, spicy dish comes straight out of Cajun country.

In Louisiana, Creole and Cajun chefs use the term “sauce piquante” (French for “spicy”) to denote a hot, tomato-based sauce that smothers meat and rice. Anything from catfish to chicken can appear covered in sauce piquante, but Suire’s Grocery in the tiny town of Kaplan puts turtle in the spotlight.

The Cajun eatery, which opened in 1976, spells their dish the Spanish way, as “turtle sauce picante.” And because they’ve painted their menu on the side of the building, Suire’s is fully committed to the alternate spelling. To prepare this dish, the cook cuts strips of dark-hued turtle meat—which is savory, chewy, and not at all fishy—then combines it with the smoky, spicy sauce. Customers can order the dish as a special, which comes served over a bed of rice. A scoop of potato salad, a dinner roll, a piece of fried catfish, and a square of chocolate cake round out the meal.

Inside Suire’s, pictures of family and friends fishing gargantuan creatures out of the Gulf hang from the wall. In addition to turtle and catfish, gator, crawfish, shrimp, and crab grace the menu. You can dine at tables covered in tablecloths covered in crustacean prints or take your styrofoam box of treasures to go. Suire’s certainly follows through on their slogan’s promise: “If you want country cooking, come to the country.”

Need to Know

If you find yourself asking for directions, Suire's rhymes with "beers."

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