Of course, the buttery biscuits are highly recommended.

In New Orleans, Popeyes isn’t just your average fast-food joint, like, say, McDonald’s or Wendy’s. No, it’s practically a Southern institution. Beloved for its home-grown biscuits, spicy fried chicken, and Creole fixings on the side, Popeyes chicken restaurant is as much a part of The Pelican State as the annual Mardi Gras celebration. Not surprisingly, you’re likely to find boxes of Popeyes chicken among hungry revelers at the giant street party and parade.

"The smell of Popeyes on the cool, crisp air is—it's so Mardi Gras," said New Orleans food writer, Lorin Gaudin. "I've been here for forty years now, and that smell will always take me right back there."

If you don’t have time to pore over the menu, or you’re a newbie to the fried chicken chain, allow Gaudin to help you make the right choice with the following five suggestions. Here are the foods you should order the next time you’re in The Big Easy or at one of its many locations across the South.

1. It’s better to order the chicken spicy.

As reported by Food & Wine, Gaudin said the mild chicken is too weak. Native Louisianians, apparently, prefer their chicken juicy, crispy, and fiery.

2. Bail on the fries.

Because you can get fries at any fast-food restaurant, Gaudin suggested not to waste your order on the crinkly side. However, the onion rings are a worthy fried replacement. Each crunchy ring is expertly battered with Louisiana yellow onions encased inside.

3. Try the fried gizzards.

Although the name doesn’t sound all that appealing, this lowly part of the chicken is transformed into deep-fried perfection when simmered until tender, soaked in spicy seasonings, and coated in flour. Keep in mind, though, that this Southern delicacy is only available at select Popeyes locations.

4. Don’t skimp on the sides.

According to Gaudin, when it comes to sides, you should always go for the green beans. Full of flavor, these green beans bypass the boiling in butter technique, in favor of the Southern method of stewing them in smoked turkey bacon. Not a fan of green beans? The red beans and rice side dish, which is prepared with liquid smoke, is a tasty substitute. 

5. If you want to partake in tradition like the locals, you’ve got to complete your order with a biscuit.

Nothing compares to a fluffy, buttery biscuit straight from the oven, especially when it’s paired next to spicy fried chicken.

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