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Chef's Notes

Flavor of the Year: Vietnamese Cajun

February 2023 | MCCORMICK CULINARY & INSIGHTS

Our first-ever Flavor of the Year, Vietnamese Cajun Style Seasoning, is a bright, complex reflection of the transformation and innovation in food and flavor taking place on a global level.

 

This fusion flavor shares a legacy of common techniques and ingredients that can be traced across Vietnamese and Cajun dishes. A culture crush of key ingredients – cayenne and paprika in classic Cajun tradition – and lemongrass, garlic, and black peppercorn, custom in Vietnamese recipes – it delivers a playful flavor with a mild heat, that’s the ultimate love letter to both cuisines.

Fueled by two distinct cuisines, with a deep connection across French technique and flavor, Vietnamese x Cajun is a uniquely centered trend stemming from roots in South Louisiana and Houston, with pockets emerging across the US. Meet two chefs that are pioneering this flavorful fusion.

Food Stories: Pioneering Vietnamese Cajun

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Chef Trong Nguyen paved the way for Vietnamese Cajun cuisine when he became Chef and Owner at Crawfish & Noodles in Houston. He serves up signature dishes from both cuisines, influenced by his grandmother's cooking in Vietnam before he immigrated to the U.S.

 

Click to learn more.

 

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Chef Cesar Zapata moved from Houston to Miami and opened Phuc Yea, pronounced Fook ye(ə), a half-Cajun, half-Vietnamese restaurant serving next-level Vietnamese Cajun cuisine. “Viet-Cajun is unique because it mixes two of my favorite cuisines - the flavors, spices, and ingredients are something you don’t find in any other cultural food fusion. You’ll find spicy, sweet, sour, bitter, salty, freshness and texture in every bite.”

Click to learn more.

 

Consumer Appeal

Consumers have taken notice of this fusion and concocted their own Vietnamese Cajun creations.

  • 58% year over year increase in Vietnamese x Cajun global social posts. source: Global Social Listening: Date Range: Aug 2021 – July 2022. Social Channels: Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest and Twitter
  • 51.5MM views for ‘Vietnamese Cajun Shrimp’ and 12.4MM views for #VietCajun on TikTok.
  • Per a US panel, many consumers accurately recognized the blend as a fusion of flavors from Vietnamese and Cajun cuisine and 56% say it’s Intriguing. source: 2022, US, C-space consumer panel

 

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To meet the demand, our retail division has launched a Vietnamese x Cajun Style Seasoning available to order at www.shop.mccormick.com.

Try it and apply it:

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Vietnamese Cajun seasoning creates an unexpectedly bold taste for crispy, crunchy snacks and small bites. Try as a salad crunch made with seeds and cashews.

 

 

 

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A twist on Cajun hot chicken, a Vietnamese Cajun profile works great with proteins as coating, marinade, or condiment. Try the Vietnamese Cajun Fried Chicken Sandwich or Chicken wings.

 

 

It might sound odd at first, but as boundaries blur, savory and even spicy sweets are now appealing. Blend Vietnamese Cajun seasoning with dairy for an unexpected milkshake.

 

Feeling inspired? To learn more about the future of flavor, contact your McCormick account representative or contact us today.