We are two days away from the 35th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, a major marker in modern history. Not only was it the date when South Vietnam succumbed to North Vietnam, but it also signaled American defeat in the Vietnam War. Vietnam was a tiny tropical country whose communist insurgency could not be contained and reigned in. The whole situation was a mess and resulted in tens of thousands of people fleeing on April 30, 1975.
I was six years old at that time and remember being extremely scared. That’s just from the perspective of a child. My parents, both in their 40s, were under far more stress. We were fortunate to have been able to leave by plane a week before Saigon totally collapsed. Many others had to escape by boat or were forced into reeducation camps and then found other routes to leave the country.
The Vietnamese refugees and immigrants who rebuilt their lives abroad have moved on. They’ve given birth to second (and maybe third) generations of hyphenated Vietnamese people. They’ve taken to eating banh mi filled with meatballs, slurping pho seasoned by Sriracha.
Then there’s the Vietnamese-cajun crayfish craze. What’s up with that? John T. Edge, one of my favorite food writers investigated the phenomenon. We chatted a few weeks ago and today, John T’s article appeared in the New York Times. He surveys the Vietnamese crayfish scene across the United States and yes – it’s a hyphenated American thing. Read:
- Vietnamese Immigrants Carry on a Cajun Food Tradition (John T. Edge, NYT, 4/28/10)
- Vietnamese crayfish restaurant slideshow
Also, check out “A Bit Crazy for Crustaceans” (LAT, 9/23/2008) by journalist My-Thuan Tran, a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. It’s about the Vietnamese crayfish craze and copycat restaurants in Orange County’s Little Saigon.
Do you like Vietnamese crayfish boils? Why? What are your favorite spots?
Anyone know if the Vietnamese-cajun crayfish craze has hit Vietnam itself? How about in Australia where the lobster-size giant red claw crayfish?
Goodness, what a difference 35 years makes.