I never really considered the origins of Boiling Crab until The Love Life of An Asian Guy posted about it recently. I always just figured there was some Asian ingenuity at work, which isn’t terribly wrong. What I didn’t know is there is some serious American history at work and it all started with the United States’ involvement with the fall of Saigon.
After all was said and done, there was an influx of Vietnamese refugees to the United States. While statistics and graphs show that the highest immigrant population of Vietnamese has been California, the state following was Texas and the Southern states. As the video mentions, Vietnamese immigrants found the weather conditions (humidity, almost tropical like, and ocean bordered) similar to their homeland. Because of the near distance of the ocean, there were jobs in fishing that contained skills the Vietnamese people already had.
Combined with some overlapping cuisine similarities, they found a familiarity in their seafood, spice usage, breaking the food up with your hands, and rice as a supplemental carb in their diet. And like most Asians, they took what was in front of them and added their own twist to it creating an arguably better way to consume boiled crawfish. Their additions of ginger, more garlic, and the integration of a new type of sauce for their seafood boil has propelled the success of this new take on cajun food.
With the immense success of the chain Boiling Crab (the primo Californian Asian cajun restaurant), it is easy to say that everyone else has reaped the benefits of Asian American fusion cuisine. I’m definitely craving a whole pound of crawfish whole-shabang extra juicy now.