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How Vietnamese Cooks Upped the Ante on the Cajun Crawfish Boil

Vietnamese chefs in Houston took the classic Louisiana crawfish boil and added a whole new layer of flavor.

This year, Eater is teaming up with James Beard award-winning Southern Foodways Alliance to spotlight their documentary work, premiering a short film every other week. This next piece focuses on Vietnamese-style crawfish boils, which have become a mainstay in Houston, a city that boasts one of the largest Vietnamese populations in the United States.

The Vietnamese crawfish boils in Houston are similar to traditional Cajun boils except the chefs add Asian aromatics to the boil — lemongrass and ginger — and serve it on top of a sauce of butter and garlic and spices. Says Kit Dong of Crawfish Cafe, "It's the same thing as Louisiana crawfish, boiled and soaked just the way Louisiana people do, except we add a little extra layer of flavor to it... it gives it a Vietnamese twist to it." The film tells the story of a dish but really it tells the story of Vietnamese immigration and the hybridized foodways they honed on the Texas coast.

Watch this video on YouTube | Read more about Southern Foodways Alliance