Gumbo may well be the quintessential New Orleans dish. You can find it on the menu of many restaurants in the city, from the fine-dining establishments to the neighborhood restaurants and sandwich shops.

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They vary in ingredients, but most come from a roux - thick or thin - and include some combination of seafood, sausage or chicken.

It's not an easy task to pick the top dozen, but our food critic gave it his best shot.