Fusion food may still be popular, but for UTEP area eatery Asian Cajun, dual cultures cozy up to each other, never blending. With roots in Vietnam and Louisiana, it was only natural that the owners open a restaurant that celebrates both cultures under one roof. Order at the counter for take-out or have a seat to fully peruse the menu that isn’t too overwhelming, but will require some hard decisions. The menu offers a nice mix of healthy and deep-fried options.
Fresh shrimp and veggie spring rolls or pork and veggie egg rolls are offered, but jambalaya and crawfish empanadas are the more intriguing of the appetizers. Sandwiches are served with fries and the shrimp po’boys (blackened or fried) are just as popular as the bahn mi sandwiches (ham and pork, grilled pork or chicken). Jambalaya and gumbo can be ordered by the cup or bowl. The gumbo is a customer favorite, loaded with okra, sausage, chicken and small shrimp with a hint of spice.
For something brothier and just as flavorful, order one of the four large pho noodle soup varieties (spicy beef, meatball, chicken or brisket and meatball). If the bean sprouts and Thai basil aren’t enough garnish for your bowl of pho, grab the bottles of hoisin, Sriracha or Louisiana hot sauce sitting at your table.
If you’re still indecisive, order one of the rice plates to taste the best rice you’ve ever had. Chargrilled pork, chicken or tofu are served with a beautiful golden-hued rice. The fluffy, perfectly steamed jasmine rice is scented with yellow ginger root, also known as turmeric.
Boba tea and house-made beignets are coming soon to the menu. Asian Cajun already offers Thai iced tea and other beverages, but here’s hoping they add Cafe du Monde coffee. Fresh food, warm service and a unique combination of dishes makes Asian Cajun the new local lunch and dinner spot you’ve been searching for.
3233 N. Mesa, Suite 204, 915-478-9928, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, closed Sundays, $4-10, Vegan friendly.