Crawfish are famous for coming from South Louisiana, and it is, in fact, one of the defining ingredients of Southern cuisine! Throwing together the popular crawfish boil would include classic Cajun spices—but that’s not the only way to enjoy this delicious freshwater crustacean. Different parts of the world enjoy crawfish in many ways, especially in countries within Europe and Asia, all of which have their own unique styles of serving up this delicacy.
With so many ways to enjoy a crawfish boil, mixing up the flavors for this season seems like an appropriate way to celebrate such a versatile dish. Whether it’s at your favorite crawfish place in Houston or your homemade recipe, here are some great ways to enjoy an old favorite.
Nordic crawfish are more commonly called ‘crayfish’ in Nordic countries. The Swedes enjoy a good crayfish party to celebrate a traditional summertime gathering during August, a practice that has spread throughout several European countries, including Scandinavia, Lithuania, and Finland. While it is highly enjoyed in this region, a plague that wiped out most of the crawfish population in the early 1900s makes it a rare commodity that is especially valued today.
Unlike the Houston crawfish, which would typically involve a Cajun boil, Nordic crayfish are boiled in salt and vinegar and marinated in beer or leftover cooking water. They are typically served cold after being refrigerated with fresh dill. While different from your usual blend, it’s a refreshing and delicious new way to enjoy crawdads.
The Viet-Cajun Crawfish
Out of the different types of crawfish on this list, the Viet-Cajun variety comes closest to the Cajun style of crawfish boiling that most people are familiar with. This fusion of methods developed from the merging of Vietnamese and Cajun culture in Houston, using the same boiling technique with different spices.
Viet-Cajun boils have more citrusy, herby, and buttery tastes that go with cayenne, garlic, and onion flavors, melding into an explosion of flavor that’s one of a kind.
Sichuan Ma La Crawfish
The early 1900s saw the popularity of crawfish pick up in mainland China, where the Beijing Sichuan Ma La style was most well known. A wok would be heated and mixed together with cooking oil—resulting in a different crawfish flavor. The added garlic, dried chili, peppercorns, and ginger creates a different taste with the same kind of heavy seasoning similar to the Cajun crawfish boil.
The Sichuan style of cooking is known for food that’s preserved through pickling, drying, and salting, and their hotpots are famous for their numb and spicy taste. For an authentic addition to your crawfish, try adding broad bean chili paste, one of the most important seasonings in this cuisine.
Though it’s difficult to describe and differentiate from the Cajun-style that many people are so familiar with, tasting the exotic spices can be a great culinary experience and a new way to enjoy your favorite crawdads.
Whether you prefer the traditional Southern Louisiana Cajun-style or feeling adventurous enough for the Sichuan Ma La or Nordic varieties, there’s a crawfish boil for everyone’s taste. Although flavor adds plenty to the experience of eating this Southern favorite, the quality of the crawfish is what will bring the dish to life. The best crawfish restaurants in the Houston area will be able to serve up a variety of trusted favorites that will keep you coming back for more!
Here at Crawfish Cafe, our signature crawfish dish comes in nine amazing flavors! We serve some of the best-voted crawfish along with other seafood choices you’re sure to love. If you’re looking for a good crawfish restaurant in Houston, then order online from us today!
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