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fettucine alfredo with Quattro pasta, broccoli
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out to Cochon
out to Jacques-Imos

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Viet-Cajun Dining in Houston, Texas

lacrawfish


When I moved to Texas to attend the University of Houston 13 long years ago, I never imagined it would become my permanent home, so much so that even my parents have moved here. The ideas I had in my head about Texas when I first arrived were your stereotypical cowboys and tumbleweeds. Boy was I in for a shock. Houston is a multicultural city that is lush with greenspace and has its fair share of modern skyscrapers. Whether you are looking to attend a performance at the opera or watch a cowboy rope at the rodeo, Houston has something for everyone.

What I have grown most to love about Houston, Texas is its rich culture of food. The food is so amazing here that the city offers Houston Culinary Tours led by some of the greatest Houston chefs in our city. The typical Texas cuisines of barbecue and Tex-Mex are well represented throughout our city, but you will also find amazing ethnic cuisines from around the country and the world. One of my favorite foods to eat this time of year is crawfish, traditionally from Texas’s neighbor to the east, Louisiana. Crawfish boils have crossed the border to Texas -- nice for me, as when I left Maryland I also left my beloved crab feasts. In recent years, more and more Vietnamese-style crawfish restaurants have popped up all around town. One of my favorite foods is Vietnamese and I am lucky to be in Houston, where there are many amazing Vietnamese restaurants, from fancy to casual.

Vietnamese crawfish definitely side on the casual side of dining. You have to be ready to get your hands dirty to enjoy them. My favorite spot is inside an Asian market, LA Crawfish. I go at least every other week during crawfish season, which typically runs from March to June. The crawfish are boiled and tossed with a spicy garlic butter sauce. This sauce has a very different flavor from a traditional Cajun boil -- it is less salty, much spicier. The crawfish (or mudbugs) are served in big plastic bags. I told you this was a casual place! They're served along with a roll of paper towels and a plastic sheet for your table. The Vietnamese crawfish restaurants in town usually get packed during crawfish season, so be prepared to share your space with equally eager crawfish eaters.

Once you have your bag of crawfish, there are several ways to eat them. I prefer them plain. The spicy garlic butter sauce that they are served in is flavorful enough for me. There are several condiments to choose from, such as butter, Sriracha and even mayonnaise. If I am dipping the tail meat in anything, it is fresh lime juice mixed with pepper. I grew up eating blue crab dipped in apple cider vinegar and Old bay, so the lime juice is a similar flavor. Crawfish are best washed down with an ice cold beer, which are available at the grocery store and LA Crawfish is BYOB. After you are stuffed full of crawfish, it is always fun to wander the aisles of the 99 Ranch Market. There are so many exotic foods to choose from and I have been able to find several harder to find Asian items there.
If you want to attempt to re-create Vietnamese-style crawfish at home, I recommend you invest in a turkey fryer. Crawfish are best cooked outdoors since they can get quite messy. Here is a copycat recipe for the crawfish and garlic butter sauce, if you have never tried crawfish this way, I highly recommend it. So when you visit Houston, Texas, be sure to sample some of our amazing restaurants and put Vietnamese-style crawfish at the top of your list.

$100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

Travel Texas and BlogHer are sponsoring a great giveaway to one lucky reader. Please leave a comment telling me where you'd like to visit in Texas. You can request a free Texas Travel Guide from the TravelTex.com website where you can get lots of great ideas!
Rules:
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Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
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This sweepstakes runs from 5/1/2012-6/1/2012.
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117 comments:

Mami2jcn said...

I visited Houston as a child, but I've always wanted to see Austin. I've heard lots of good things about Austin.

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Mami2jcn said...

tweet:

https://twitter.com/#!/mami2jcn/status/197364520560242690

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Julie said...

I would love to visit Austin. I have a friend from college living there and would love to visit her.

Julie Flores said...

I'd love to visit Galveston! As summer is getting closer, I'm ready for the warm salty breeze! And some time in a pool with a cold drink in my hand! Awesome give away! :)

team_flores@yahoo.com

Kelsey said...

I would love to visit anywhere in Texas because I have friends and family all over. I think a summer trip to lake Travis would be a great way to see everyone. Who wouldn't come join me there?

Kelsey said...

I tweeted about it here: https://twitter.com/#!/appleadayblog/status/197404835514036224

Amy said...

I'd love to visit Houston again. It's an easy road trip for H and I, and we just love all of the food out there, along with things to do. It's such a huge city!

Abby M said...

I'd love to visit Austin again. I love that city!

Heather said...

You have me wanting to visit Houston for some great crawfish!

Elena said...

I would like to visit San Antonio

elena150980@yahoo.com

Sonya said...

I would love to visit Dallas Fort Worth Texas to visit some of my friends! They are always telling me so many great things about the area and I want to see what it is all about for myself! sonyadmorris@gmail.com

Elena said...

https://twitter.com/#!/ElenaIstomina/status/197431191308222464


elena150980@yahoo.com

Sonya said...

Tweet https://twitter.com/#!/catholicfanatic/status/197431378877497344
sonyadmorris@gmail.com

Tj and Amy said...

I would love to see the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in addison. amypugmire@live.com

Tj and Amy said...

tweet. amypugmire@live.com
https://twitter.com/#!/1amypugmire/status/197439020521889797

Ashley said...

I'd love to visit San Antonio.

hewella1 at gmail dot com

elly said...

I've always wanted to visit Austin or Houston, which I hear are both awesome. Maybe check out Austin City Limits. :)

Courtney said...

I love the grocery store crawfish! That place is great. I cannot wait to go to Fredericksburg for a girls weekend texas wine tour!

Courtney said...

I love the grocery store crawfish! That place is great. I cannot wait to go to Fredericksburg for a girls weekend texas wine tour!

Courtney said...

I love the grocery store crawfish! That place is great. I cannot wait to go to Fredericksburg for a girls weekend texas wine tour!

DeniseL said...

I'd love to visit Austin. I have a dear friend there and I mean, it's the home of SXSW and ACL, I gotta go!

DeniseL said...

Tweeted
https://twitter.com/#!/dmarie824/status/198125900762591233
dmarie824 at aol dot com

B. Wilson said...

I'd love to visit Austin for the music scene and amazing food.

--Brandy
fosterbrandy(at)msn(dot)com

Anash said...

i would love to visit Dallas! i hear texas is one of the cleaner states! Thanks for a super giveaway!
My email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Anash said...

Tweeted:
https://twitter.com/#!/anashct3/status/198191352859721730
Thanks for the chance to win!
email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Anonymous said...

Have never been to Texas but would love to visit Galveston, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and the list goes on. Thank you!!
B. McAlister
blhm68 at yahoo dot com

tara1965 said...

dallas

tara1965 said...

tweeted
https://twitter.com/#!/kj20082006/status/198514358345670657

Rebecca Graham said...

I would like to visit Dallas TX.

rhoneygtn at yahoo dot com

Amy said...

Buc Days Rodeo, Festival and Carnival in Corpus Christi Sounds like fun. I think my kids would love it.
Amy [at] utry [dot] it

Amy said...

tweeted about this giveaway: https://twitter.com/#!/uTry_it/status/198688176896880640

Amy [at] utry [dot] it

cw said...

I love that Austin is a bit funky...would love to visit, especially when it is dark and rainy in seattle

Stacey said...

I can't wait to visit Austin! We are planning on it later this year and I'm pretty excited.

Melissa @IWasBornToCook said...

I've never been to Texas, but if I were to plan a trip it would probably be to Houston...I've heard good things about the city, plus then I could see you! :)

branny said...

I'd love to visit the texas coast! Like Galveston...

Tabathia said...

San Antonio, my sister in law just moved there
tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

Tabathia said...

tweet
https://twitter.com/#!/ChelleB36/status/199350971275546624
tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

The Sunshyn said...

I would love to visit Houston. A friend of mine moved there some years ago, and I've hardly gotten to see him since.
chainmail (at)iwon (dot) com

JC said...

I'd like to visit Houston.

JC said...

https://twitter.com/#!/tcarolinep/status/199375783242899456

The Sunshyn said...

I tweeted this
https://twitter.com/#!/The_Sunshyn/status/199375868873818112

wigget said...

corpus christi to visit a friend

The Home Cook said...

Since I've never been to Texas I'd like to go anywhere. :)

Shannon said...

We recently moved to DFW and I'd love to check out San Antonio or the Ft. Worth zoo!

Shannon said...

tweeted! https://twitter.com/#!/SweepsMama/status/200021063734804480

Xenia G. said...

I have visited Houston and San Antonio for the past 5 years and would love to visit Austin! I hear it's just lovely!

FreeIndeed said...

I'd like to visit San Antonio
thepryfamily@gmail.com

FreeIndeed said...

https://twitter.com/#!/thepryfamily2/status/200268545156857856

thepryfamily@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

id like to visit san antonio! scg00387 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

https://twitter.com/#!/DesMoinesDealin/status/200413852486217728 scg00387 at yahoo dot com

Having Fun in the Texas Sun said...

Sounds so good, I want to visit L A Crawfish soon!

MANDY83 said...

I would love to visit Austin for amazing food, great music and a great time!

pokergrl8 at gmail.com

MANDY83 said...

https://twitter.com/#!/aes529/status/201001391311962113

pokergrl8 at gmail.com

Doodle741 said...

I'd like to visit Nacogdoches!

residentmayor at satx.rr.com

Doodle741 said...

Tweeted! https://twitter.com/#!/SensiblySara/status/201485013466873860

residentmayor at satx.rr.com

Angel Jacklyn said...

I'D LOVE TO SEE THE CITY AUSTIN, TEXAS. I'VE HEARD MANY GREAT THINGS ABOUT IT, INCLUDING IT'S ZOO! =)

kytah00@yahoo.com

Angel Jacklyn said...

2ND ENTRY TWEET https://twitter.com/#!/kytah00/status/201493638805590016

Marla Z. said...

I'm new to Texas and can't wait to try out some crawfish! marlazick@aol.com

Marla Z. said...

Tweeted I'm @SavingUGreenMom marlazick at aol dot com

https://twitter.com/#!/SavingUGreenMom/status/201525601599897600

Tina said...

I would like to visit San Antonio
merleandtina@yahoo.com

Tina said...

https://twitter.com/#!/HappyTina0115/status/202038760014217216
merleandtina@yahoo.com

Karina said...

I'd like to go to Dallas

karinaroselee at gmail dot com

Karina said...

tweeted

https://twitter.com/#!/karinaroselee/status/202092211909828608

karinaroselee at gmail dot com

akronugurl said...

i have family out i wanna go see

freebiel0ve@yahoo.com

akronugurl said...

https://twitter.com/#!/akronugurl/status/202110299023753216

freebiel0ve@yahoo.com

chambanachik said...

I would love to visit Corpus Christi, where my husband spent much of his childhood. I've never been there!

chambanachik@gmail.com

ms-texas said...

i'd like to visit San Antonio

debbiebellows (at) gmail (dot) com

ms-texas said...

i tweeted here:

https://twitter.com/#!/bellows22/status/202230550063366146

debbiebellows (at) gmail (dot) com

KPage said...

I would love to visit Big Bend!

Kelly Massman said...

I would love to visit San Antonio! I
Thanks for a chance to win and have a great day!
kmassmanATgmailDOTcom

Kerry said...

I'd like to go to the San Antonio River Walk.
nuthouse(at)centurytel(dot)net

Kerry said...

tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/KerryBishop/status/203279411154391042
nuthouse(at)centurytel(dot)net

dawkinscj said...

I want to visit South Padre Inland. I love the beach but have never gone that far down the Texas coast.

dawkinscj said...

I tweeted https://twitter.com/#!/dawkinscj/status/203647052356399104

Melissa O. said...

I'd love to go back to Austin and San Antonio.

wolverina401 at gmail dot com

Judy B. said...

I's like to tour the Hill Country and go to Austin City Limits concert

Judy B. said...

tweet
https://twitter.com/#!/BBirdie2/status/203970433891049472

Suburban Correspondent said...

Austin, of course. I've heard great things about it, and it supposedly has the most bloggers per capita of any other US city.

Tiffany Winner said...

South Padre Island, i didn't even realize texas had any islands until i saw it online
thismomwins@gmail.com

Such The Spot said...

I would love to visit Austin. I hear it's a real foodie paradise. My husband has family there, too, which makes it even more appealing!

Beehler said...

Vietnamese and Cajun food! Sounds pretty amazing! Crawfish ban mi's!

Shirley Franklin said...

I love all parts of Texas...I can eat my way across the state!

Gina M Maddox said...

I would love to visit Dallas, where a couple of my cousins live! Thanks for the chance to win!

gina.m.maddox (at) gmail (dot) com

Gina M Maddox said...

tweet-https://twitter.com/#!/CrazyItalian0/status/204957238379544576



gina.m.maddox (at) gmail (dot) com

Lkay107 said...

https://twitter.com/sweeper78/status/205364413685956609

Lkay107 said...

I'd like to visit san antonio

sy said...

I want to visit fort worth gardens, their zoo, and shop there. Thanks for the giveaway.
songyueyu at gmail

sy said...

tweet: https://twitter.com/syytta/status/205568907199791104
songyueyu at gmail

Deb said...

My son did his State project on Texas this year and desperately wants to go to San Antonio to visit the Alamo!

Annette Doggett said...

I would like to go to Corpus Christi and tour the aircraft carrier.

Annette Doggett said...

tweet https://twitter.com/annedoggett/status/205828560181673984

mandmgilliland said...

I would like to visit Dallas Aquarim and San Antonio River Walk

Christina said...

I would like to visit Houston the biggest city in Texas and visit the 1940 Air Terminal Museum as well as the Bayou Bend Collection of the Fine Arts: 28-room Latin Colonial Structure.

ctong2[at]gmail[dot]com

Christina said...

I tweeted about this giveaway: https://twitter.com/ctong2/status/206307814312910848

ctong2[at]gmail[dot]com

mjirsch said...

I've heard good things about Austin being a Foodie town!

Heather H said...

I also went out of state to college in Texas and was quite surprised by cities like Houston and Austin. I'd love to find my way back to TX and really explore Fredericksberg. I've only driven through, but I hear it's amazing.

Tiffany Winner said...

My tweet: https://twitter.com/thismomwins2/status/206476515981017088
thismomwins@gmail.com

Linh C. said...

I grew up in Houston, but moved away about 17 years ago. My parents still live there so I visit once a year. My hubby is from New Orleans so I've eaten a lot of crawfish, just not the Vietnamese style ones.

I'd like to visit South Padre Island.

Dee said...

I'd love to visit Austin! :) deeg131 at gmail dot com

Dee said...

tweeted :) https://twitter.com/DeeGee13/status/206837915656011776

deeg131 at gmail dot com

Betty C said...

I want to visit San Antonio. The hill country has always fascinated me and of course Houston and Dallas are on my list.

willitara [at] gmail [dot] com

Michelle Hudak said...

The Alamo for sure. My husband is a history-buff and has said for years we have to visit. I'd love to see all the artifacts people have found.
shel704 at aol dot com

Michelle Hudak said...

https://twitter.com/auntiethesis/status/207360550731124736

shel704 at aol dot com

angie lilly said...

I would love to visit the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge!!! I bet there are so many awesome birds there with it being right by the ocean!
Angie
14earth at gmail dot com

angie lilly said...

I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/MsTofuFairy/status/207484075903164417
Angie
14earth at gmail dot com

MCantu1019 said...

I'd like to visit Houston. My niece lives there so that would be a good place to start.
MCantu1019 at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

I'd like to explore Padre Island.

♡♥♬ Carolsue ♡♥♬ said...

I'd like to visit the Alamo in Texas
Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

Jammie said...

I also want to visit the Alamo! We have a friend that is from there he said the Alamo is amazing sweepmorey at gmail dot com

Jammie said...

tweeted https://twitter.com/mommysdizzy/status/208359666726604800

jwfong said...

I would love to visit the Dallas Fort Worth area and check out a Cowboys game!

jfong1130 at yahoo dot com

jwfong said...

I tweeted: https://twitter.com/jfong1130/status/208403307851554818

jfong1130 at yahoo dot com

ewhatley said...

I love the beach so would love to visit Galveston.

mybeachylife at gmail dot com

Tamara said...

I used to live in Texas, but I don't anymore. I wouldn't mind taking a trip to Galveston someday myself for the beach. It would be a cool experience.
westiemks5@yahoo.com

Tamara said...

Tweeted:
https://twitter.com/Pixel_Berry_Pie/status/208656918443597824
westiemks5@yahoo.com

Mari said...

I’d like to visit Austin, Texas to attend the SXSW festival.

runningmatey at hotmail dot com

Mari said...

https://twitter.com/LuckyDuckyToo/status/208669188917690368

runningmatey at hotmail dot com

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