Welcome to SDM’s Guide to Food + Drink, a series created to help you decide on where to eat in San Diego—curated by the team at San Diego Magazine.
Crab Hut is the locals’ place in San Diego for seafood boils, with a bar built with bourbon at heart. It’s a family thing—Ky Phan, sister Kim, and Kim’s husband, Quan Le. The sisters grew up in a small town in Vietnam with a small river nearby. They would catch whatever they could during the day (crab, shrimp), and their parents would boil it with aromatics that grew around them (garlic, lemongrass, lime leaf). They’d sit around a table and eat the boil as a family.
Their father fought in the Vietnam War alongside the U.S. After becoming a prisoner of war for five years, the U.S. government helped him and his young family relocate to the states. They opened a small restaurant in El Cajon, where the kids learned to cook. At their home in City Heights, they’d throw backyard seafood boils and invite family and friends.
Eventually, they opened Crab Hut, a seafood-boil restaurant built around the way the Phans have always eaten as a family. You’ll see their dad—aka “Papa” or “The General”—almost every day, making sure everything is immaculately clean, organized, on point.
The Thing You Gotta Try
The “Go to Town” seafood boil with the full-house sauce.