Viet Cajun

In a way, it’s sort of Vietnamese trial and tribulation in a little bag… you know, we can lose a country, be in a new place, and still have the wherewithal to reinterpret something, create something new from something old.”

After the fall of Saigon, the Vietnamese population along the Gulf coast ballooned as refugees streamed in. The coastal climate reminded them of their homeland, and opportunities in the fishing industry provided the chance to use old skills in a new context.

Houston, in particular, became home to many of these refugees. It’s in this intersection of Southern and Southeast Asian cultures that an entirely new tradition cropped up: Vietnamese-style crawfish boils. Pulling on Cajun and Vietnamese food traditions, restaurants across Houston sauce their crawfish with lemongrass and ginger. Meet some of the Vietnamese-Americans serving this crossover cuisine in Joe York’s film.

Check out our other films about Texas here, and our series of oral histories from other groups of Asian immigrants in Houston here.