Mukbang Serves Viet-Cajun Style Boiled Seafood on Oak Street | Food and Drink | Weekly gambit

Look up the word “mukbang” on TikTok and you better have a strong stomach. It’s a Korean word for performance eating on TV, and the medium takes the eating smackdown on 10th power. Kim Nguyen and her three children find it hilarious – watching videos of all kinds of people eating with exaggerated enthusiasm, assaulting the camera while loudly drinking everything from octopus tentacles to greasy kielbasa.

When Nguyen came up with the idea of ​​opening a Viet-Cajun-style boiled seafood restaurant on Oak Street, Mukbang’s name sounded perfect.

“The idea was for people to jump right in, eat with their hands, and sip all the good butter sauce in seafood,” she says. But that’s not what she saw with some patrons, who arrived at the restaurant dressed for the evening and used a knife and fork to eat shrimp. “I saw that and I said no, it’s not fair. We have bibs and gloves for people to fit in.

The third generation of restaurateurs in his family, Nguyen grew up in the business here and in Texas after Hurricane Katrina. In 2012, she opened Magasin, offering a modern take on Vietnamese cuisine. The more casual Café Magasin followed in 2016. Mukbang opened in December in the large space formerly occupied by Chiba.

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Her husband and partner Luu Tran takes care of the food side of the operation while she builds the business and manages the front of the house. His sister Thuy Nguyen and his brother-in-law Thai Nguyen, who recently returned from Texas to New Orleans, are also involved in the business. Most of the recipes for the three restaurants come from family, including her grandmother, who had a restaurant in Garden Grove, Calif., And her mother, who ran Chinese-American restaurants in New Orleans East and on Canal Street before. Katrina.

The crispy fried crab rangoon, which is made with real crab meat, comes from its mother. The same goes for the sautéed garlic noodles and pork noodles that she serves at the cafe. Her husband concocted the three sauces for boiled seafood: Garlic and Tamarind Butter, Flaming Cajun and Mukbang, a lemon-butter sauce with a blend of house spices that gives a distinctive flavor to platters of boiled shrimp and steamed, lobster, snow crab legs, blue crab, clams, mussels and fish.

The menu specialty is Viet-Cajun boiled seafood, a favorite of Houston-native Nguyen’s husband. Most seafood is offered at market price, which has recently fluctuated due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. The shrimp platter is made up of six shrimp, two potatoes, an ear of corn, a sausage and a boiled egg on the side. House specialties include blackened fish of the day, Cajun fried rice with catfish, and garlic shrimp fettuccine. Fresh Persian cucumbers, a family favorite at home, add sparkle and freshness to the mix.

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Getting the seafood just fried with the help of Nguyen’s dad, who owns Lee’s Seafood & Grill on Williams Boulevard in Kenner. Platters of fried catfish, shrimp, and oysters are served with coleslaw, crawfish hushpuppies, and Texan toast. Po-boys come with fries, which are also on the menu topped with spicy Korean bulgogi.

Later, Nguyen imagines sharing the kitchen space with other chefs to add a different menu for breakfast or lunch.

“I think it’s a great way for chefs to get started, to help each other make things more affordable,” she says.

“I’m a serial entrepreneur,” she adds. “Even though it wasn’t the best time to open a third restaurant, due to the pandemic and staff issues, I’ve always loved Oak Street. It’s such a private street. My feeling is that we are going to make it work. We can help build our city’s economy and give people jobs, one restaurant at a time.


8312 Oak Street, (504) 345-2695

Dinner from Tuesday to Saturday

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