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Generally, East Bay Viet-Cajun restaurants model their businesses after the Boiling Crab, a mini-chain born in Southern California with a very simple menu of boiled seafood. But in Houston, which is widely recognized as the epicenter of this uniquely American fusion of flavors, there are places that offer far more creative and wide-ranging dishes, such as crawfish pho and Cajun-spiced curry. With a chef from Houston, East Oakland’s Queen’s Cajun Seafood brings diners slightly closer to Texas. The restaurant cooks live crawfish and sources other fresh seafood for its saucy boils, but it also serves more unusual Viet-Cajun dishes such as fried alligator, turkey neck stew, and jambalaya, which felt like a logical cross between the Cajun classic and Vietnamese fried rice.

— Janelle Bitker

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