The Classic Gulf Crawfish Boil Gets a Touch of Vietnamese Flair in This Viet-Cajun Menu
Texas's Viet-Cajun Connection
After the collapse of Saigon in 1975, Houston became home to the second-largest Vietnamese population in the United States. But it was another exodus, this time from Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, that stoked an insatiable demand for crawfish. Enterprising Vietnamese restaurateurs, like those at Crawfish & Noodles, began putting their own distinctive twist on a classic Cajun boil, tossing cooked mudbugs in butter, chiles, garlic, and Southeast Asian ingredients such as lemongrass and ginger. Today, that love child of two coastal communities is the preferred preparation in The Bayou City.
Viet-Cajun Crawfish Boil
Lemongrass and garlic, meet Old Bay and crawfish. Thanks to Houston’s migrant populations from Vietnam and Louisiana we have the Viet-Cajun boil, fresh mudbugs tossed with butter, garlic, chilies, Southeast Asian aromatics, and oh, did we mention garlic? So spread out the paper towels, pass around a few crisp beers, and kill an afternoon digging into this Bayou City feast.
- Recipe: Viet-Cajun Crawfish Boil
Smashed Cucumber Salad
Side dish size, centerpiece-worthy flavors—that’s the name of the game with this bold and bright salad. Forgo a knife and lightly smash Persian or English hothouse cucumbers with a meat tenderizer. Then drizzle with a deep and toasty mélange of fish sauce, sesame oil, and Thai chiles.
- Recipe: Smashed Cucumber Salad
Cellophane Noodles with Crab, Okra, and Tasso
Spread Louisiana favorites—lightly charred okra, seared tasso ham, sweet and juicy crab—over a skein of wok-fried cellophane noodles in this East-meets-Cajun platter. Tasso is available at most butchers, but you can sub in pancetta in a pinch.
Fried Bananas Foster
The Big Easy’s signature banana and caramel dessert—invented at Brennan’s in the French Quarter—gets a sweet and inventive update. Wrap baby bananas, available at Asian and Latin markets, in spring roll pastry wrappers, fry, and serve over butter pecan ice cream—topping with caramel rum sauce not optional.
- Recipe: Fried Bananas Foster