Crawfish Feasts

Boiled with Cajun spices, crawfish are a main attraction in this Houston mall.

Landon Nordeman

The Vietnamese immigrants who started settling along Texas's coast in the 1970s took to the area just fine; they came from a seafood-loving culture, and, in fact, a good many were fishermen or shrimpers back home. No surprise, then, that boiled crawfish are a main attraction in the food court of the Hong Kong City Mall, in Houston, whose metropolitan area is now home to the third-largest Southeast Asian population in the United States. Amid dim sum restaurants, bubble tea vendors, and pho joints, a seafood stall called Crawfish & Beignets sells the crustaceans—harvested each spring in Beaumont, in the state's far southeastern corner—by the pound, boiled with Cajun spices. You buy a bagful, pour a mess of them on a communal table, and (following this kid's cue) get to work.