Mary Tutwiler

Crawfish claw their way into LA restaurant scene

by Mary Tutwiler

The next new thing in LA is old hat for La. Boiled crawfish restaurants are popping up in Los Angeles’ Little Saigon, a Vietnamese enclave, teaching a whole new group of eaters how to suck the heads and pinch the tails. The LA Times reports that Dada Ngo and her husband Sinh Nguyen previously lived in Arlington, Texas where crawfish boils were common. When she moved to Little Saigon, densely populated with noodle shops, she decided to inject a little of the Cajun flavor she loved into a culture that was already crazy about seafood. Her restaurant, the Boiling Crab, caught on in a big way, with lines out the door every night. Rapidly, at least a dozen boiling joints, some run by New Orleans Vietnamese residents who as Katrina evacuees found refuge in Little Saigon, have popped up in the area. Thousands of pounds of live crawfish are imported to LA weekly, and the model of Cajun-spiced mudbugs served on paper-covered tables like the best seafood patios of Acadiana is catching on from San Jose to San Francisco.