A Louisiana specialty comes to town

By Minh Nga, TN News

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The ground floor of Crawfish King restaurant resembles a fishing ship

Crawfish, also called crayfish or mudbugs, is a freshwater crustacean seafood that looks like a small lobster. It’s perhaps most popular in Louisiana, a state deep in the southern US, where locals call it “crawdad.”
And it’s the rich flavors of the deep south that Ho Chi Minh City’s Crawfish King aims to capture by importing its crawdads directly from the US and cooking them in time-honored Louisiana recipes.
The interior of Crawfish King restaurant on Truong Dinh Street is built to resemble the inside of a fishing ship, and guests are invited to write whatever they want on the walls made of wood. The place is adorned with life-preservers, bouys and old-ship regalia.
For food, Crawfish King offers all fresh seafood including oysters, sea urchins, shrimp, crab, fish and cuttlefish cooked in a variety of down-south ways.
Its specialty, however, is of course the little crawfish, which cost VND799,000 per kilogram, or VND499,000 on some special occasions.
The crawdads come with a variety of different sauces to choose from including garlic butter, Cajun, lemon pepper or all-in-one, and you can also order them combined with other seafood, or choose from four types of combos for two persons, priced from VND555,000 to 666,000.
Crawfish with cajun sauce
The combos include half a kilo of crawfish (cooked in traditional Louisiana form and accompanied by corn, small potatoes and a sauce of the guest’s choice) with a free flow of soft drinks and a choice of two sides: salad, spaghetti, oysters, fried rice, fried chicken wings, French fries or mussels.
We decided to have a combo for two and chose salad and spaghetti as the sides and cajun sauce for the crawfish.
The food came real quick and the waitresses were professional and helpful.
As soon as the crawfish came, our server helped us to tie our nylon napkins around our necks like they do in the swampy deep-south.
The dish of crawfish, which was hot and looked tasty, did not come on a beautiful luxurious plate but in two large nylon bags and we were supposed to eat it with our hands without using a fork or spoon.
We were given nylon gloves and did try to use them but we ended up using our bare hands as it was easier to pick apart the crawfish and peel their hard shells.
The crawdads were hot with a bit spicy from the cajun sauce, and naturally fresh and sweet. Combined with lime, salt and pepper, it made the perfect dish to accompany some cold beer, especially in as Saigon has begun to heat up.
The salad with shrimp, cuttlefish and two crawfishes
Compared to normal lobster, crawfish meat is firm and sweeter and we really enjoyed the claws.
At first we were afraid that half a kilo of crawfish would not be enough, but then along with spaghetti and salad, which was delicious and included boiled crawfish, lobster and cuttlefish, it won our hearts…er…our bellies.
After going home from Crawfish King, we learned that Saigon also has another restaurant serving crawfish imported straight from the US, the Crawfish Spot restaurant in District 7’s Phu My Hung urban area.
Compared to the other American options – mostly fast food - that have hit Saigon like a storm recently, crawfish is indeed a winner as it is more delicious and healthy.

Address: Crawfish King,63 Truong Dinh Street, District 1, HCMC

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