Taste Of The Town: MIMO Eatery Serves Up Unique Vietnamese Cajun Cuisine

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — With dishes called P.Y. Noodles, Cola Confit Duck, Summer Rolls and Cajun Wok, you can safely assume (as Dorothy would say) we’re not in Kansas anymore or Miami for that matter.

“The concept of Phuc Yea is a Vietnamese Cajun restaurant,” said Cesar Zapata, chef and owner of Phuc Yea restaurant.

It’s exotic. It’s homey. It’s cool and it all begins with that funky name: Phuc Yea.

“‘Phuc’ in Vietnamese is blessings, prosperity, and good luck,” Cesar said.

“So it’s blessings, prosperity and good luck – yeah,” joked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

“Yes,” laughed Cesar.

Chef Cesar and his wife Aniece Meinhold opened up the spacious, artsy restaurant in the heart of the MIMO district in the fall of last year.

“We tried to create something that you feel like you’re somewhere else so the idea is you’re taken back in the 1950’s somewhere back in a little hotel,” said Chef Cesar.

Lisa and Cesar were joined by another great local chef, Timon Balloo, of the popular Midtown restaurant known as Sugarcane to sample Cesar’s exotic dishes and talk about the upcoming “Share Our Strength: (SOS) Taste of the Nation, No Kid Hungry food event happening Friday, May 12th.

Chef Timon is this year’s chair, while Cesar is one of many participating chefs. It’s his fourth year.

“SOS Taste of the Nation helps fight hunger here in South Florida and across the country,” said Chef Timon. “This year is going to be great with over 60 chefs, mixologists and brewers all coming together on May 12th.”

“The reason why it’s so important to me is there is 1 in 4 kids struggling with hunger and I was actually one of them growing up, so when I found out I could be part of something and make an impact I was like you know what I need to do this,” Chef Cesar said.

On the menu, there might be Cola Confit Roasted Duck. It’s a dish Cesar makes with a Coca Cola hoisin sauce and tops it with pickles for that sweet and savory crunch.

“You taste the hoisin, the sweetness of the coca cola. It’s nice and crispy with the herbs. It’s a really nice dish,” said Chef Timon while tasting.

“This is what happens when you dine with chefs. They describe the food better than I can,” said Petrillo laughing.

The P.Y. Noodles are a Cajun inspired dish. It’s egg noodles, garlic, butter Parmesan cheese and oyster sauce.

“How good is that, having it all together,” asked Chef Timon.

They ended their meal with Chef Cesar’s signature dish.

“Instead of doing a boil, we do it in wok. We gave a traditional Cajun wok and Andouille sausage potatoes and corn. We have king crab legs, shrimp and we mix it with this delicious cheese sauce,” explained Cesar.

“How good is that? It melts in mouth and falls off the shell,” said Petrillo.

“Phuc Yea” is open 6 days a week for dinner only and Brunch on Sundays.

As for SOS Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry, it is on at the Soho Studios on Friday, May 12th.

Click on the following for more info on Phuc Yea and No Kid Hungry.

CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo would love to hear from you. Please send us a suggestion for a spot at tasteofthetown@cbs.com. You can also contact Lisa through Twitter or Facebook

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