Crawfish: a new favorite seafood

In Houston, April is a synonym for crawfish season’s peak: typically commencing in late winter and extending through the spring months, the crawfish season heralds a time of gatherings, food festivals, and, of course, indulging in copious amounts of spicy Cajun delicacies. Restaurants, bars, and backyard boils bustle with activity as people swarm to partake in the age-old tradition of feasting on these freshwater crustaceans.

What is a crawfish?

Before moving to Houston, I’d never heard of this creature, or tasted it, but a crawfish is a crustacean that looks like a small lobster, three to six inches long. They have a hard red-brown exoskeleton and 10 legs with the front two as larger claws. These tiny crustaceans live on the floor of almost every ocean in the world, though typically close to the shoreline. You can find them in all the southern U.S. states in warm waters during warm weather seasons. Small harvests of farmed crawfish occur in states such as Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, the Carolinas, and California. But Louisiana is by far the largest producer of crawfish in the United States.

The taste

Although crawfish is generally considered seafood, it does not have a strong natural flavor like many other delicacies in this group. Compared to crab, it has a stronger flavor and is usually much meatier. The flavor can be described as a combination of shrimp and crab, as they are slightly salty and sweet, with a bit of mineral aftertaste.
The claws, legs, and tails are typically considered the most desirable parts of crawfish as they contain most meat. While the claws have a mild and sweet taste with a smooth texture, the tails are thicker and tougher to chew.


There are many ways to cook crawfish. Steaming and boiling are popular options as they are with lobster, but you can also grill, pan-sear, broil, or bake them. While they have a unique flavor on their own, crawfish tails are perfect for Cajun seafood recipes that utilize a variety of tasty spices and ingredients.
Houstonians take their crawfish seriously, debating the merits of different boiling methods, arguing over the optimal spice blend, and sharing tips for extracting every morsel from the shell.
If you’ve never had the chance to eat crawfish, you are in for a tasty treat.
From casual crawfish boils in neighborhood parks to upscale dining establishments offering gourmet twists on classic recipes, there’s no shortage of venues catering to the cravings of crawfish enthusiasts.

Gabriele Perotto


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