Back in 1982, Khai and Ngoan Tran emigrated from Vietnam to the United States. Khai started out as a fisherman, with a goal of opening his own business one day. In 1991, the Trans launched Jane’s Seafood and Chinese Restaurant located at 1201 Jane Street in New Iberia.
Jane’s Seafood & Chinese is a true family-owned restaurant. The Trans’ brothers and sisters, as well as the Trans’ five children, helped out in the business. Over the years in Acadiana, the Trans learned to prepare gumbo and other Cajun dishes, adding them to massive menu.
The Trans’ youngest child, Vu, grew up in the restaurant while his parents worked. After completing three years in business management at LSU and UL Lafayette, Vu left college to take over the family business in 2006. “My family gave me option to take the restaurant over in 2005 or 2006,” he recalls. “I had a year left in college, but the restaurant got busy so I left school.”
When Vu took the helm, he expanded and remodeled the restaurant, adding computer systems to run the business more efficiently. Jane’s used to consist of two separate buildings, then was combined into one. Every year, Vu has made renovations to the popular establishment. Today, Jane’s has an expansive menu, featuring everything from boiled seafood to Chinese food to Cajun specialties. Vu describes it as, “Southern Cajun food with an Asian flair – American Chinese dishes.”
Tragically, in February of 2014, Jane’s burned to the ground. The building was a total loss. But, Vu never gave up, rebuilding the restaurant and reopening about a year later in 2015. “It has been phenomenal,” he says. “It was devastating, but it was a blessing in disguise. We’ve been blessed ever since. Good things came out of it.”
Now, Jane’s is “bigger and better than we even imagined,” Vu gushes. The restaurant’s staff doubled in size, growing from 35 to 75 employees. And, the menu offers something to satisfy every palate.
Jane’s specialties include its renowned boiled seafood – crawfish, crabs and shrimp (in season), as well as snow crab and Dungeness crab year-round. “The quality, freshness and consistency make it special,” Vu says. “We move it out quickly.” Seasoning is offered mild, medium or spicy, and you can create your own dip to your tasting.
With the new building, Jane’s added an oyster bar serving raw and charbroiled oysters, and a full-service bar. The charbroiled oysters caught on quickly, and are a must-order appetizer. Other popular seafood items include the Fried Special Seafood Platter – fried shrimp, fish, oysters, crab fingers, stuffed crab, stuffed crab finger and stuffed shrimp, served with a side salad, fries, fried banana, hush puppy and bread; seafood Fettuccine, crawfish etouffeé and seafood gumbo.
Besides the fresh seafood, Jane’s offers authentic Chinese cuisine, including Fried Rice, eggrolls, Lo Mein, Sweet & Sour and Triple Crown – chicken, shrimp and beef with carrot, celery, napa cabbage, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, baby corn, mushrooms and water chestnuts in a sweet dark gravy.
What sets Jane’s apart from other restaurants is that it has “a little bit of everything for everybody,” Vu explains. “We have boiled seafood, oysters, fried and grilled seafood, gumbo, etouffeé, eggrolls – it’s crazy, but we make it work.”
Jane’s Seafood & Chinese is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekdays, and 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The phone number is (337) 365-5412. Jane’s is on Facebook and WaitR.