by John Egan

Sure, you can savor boiled crawfish at any number of fine joints in Houston, and we wouldn't discourage you from doing that. But any number of local restaurants put their own spin on mudbugs. Here are seven distinctive crawfish dishes you should sample in the Bayou City.

Wild Cajun's crawfish egg rolls

At Wild Cajun, East meets West (or maybe that should be South) in the form of crawfish egg rolls. These Vietnamese-influenced creations represent just one of the many offerings at Houston's Vietnamese-style crawfish joints. While it's open to debate, we claim the Vietnamese-style crawfish craze-with its traces of chili powder, hot sausage links, Asian seasonings and spicy garlic butter dipping sauce-as our own.

Ragin' Cajun's crawfish étouffée

If you're craving a more traditional take on crawfish, head over to Ragin' Cajun for a cup or bowl of the delectable crawfish étouffée. The eatery describes its étouffée as a mixture of crawfish, blond roux, bell peppers, celery and tomato sauce in a rich seafood broth served over rice.

The Cajun Stop's fried crawfish salad

This salad at The Cajun Stop mixes a bit of the naughty with a bit of the nice. The naughty part: fried crawfish. The nice part: spring mix with tomatoes, pickles, bell peppers, red onions, cheese and croutons. We'll let you decide whether the dressing choices-ranch, Italian, balsamic vinaigrette, bleu cheese, Thousand Island and honey mustard-fall into the naughty or nice category.

LA Crawfish's crawfish phở

Pho is a staple of Vietnamese menus. Typically, the broth-based noodle soup comes with beef or chicken. In a Vietnamese-Cajun mashup, LA Crawfish serves pho with crawfish. We bet you won't come across this Cajun concoction in traditional Vietnamese restaurants.

Brennan's of Houston's crawfish enchiladas

Certainly, you've chowed down on enchiladas. But have you ever sunk your teeth into a crawfish enchilada? Well, you can at Brennan's of Houston, a sister of the famed Brennan's restaurant in New Orleans. Wrapped in corn tortillas, these enchiladas feature crawfish meat complemented by tomatillo salsa, chayote pico de gallo and Mezcal crema.

Big Woodrow's catfish po' boy

Cajun cuisine and po' boys go hand in hand. So it's only fitting that there be a crawfish po' boy, right? At Big Woodrow's, you can bite into golden-fried catfish tails stuffed into a toasted French loaf, dressed with lettuce, tomato and remoulade, and accompanied by cocktail and tartar sauce.

St. John's Fire's fried crawfish mac-and-cheese balls

Hungry for some Cajun-accented comfort food? Track down the St. John's Fire food truck, and you'll be able to tantalize your taste buds with this mobile eatery's fried crawfish mac-and-cheese balls. If that weren't enough to wake up your mouth, these crawfish balls come with jalapeño ranch dressing.


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