Fusion- An Addicting Taste of Vietnam
For some, certain traits such as delivering exceptional service, enviable culinary skills, and plain people pleasing are characteristics not easily cultivated. For Trinh Payne, owner and master chef behind Fusion Asian Grill, in Meridian Idaho, those skills were innate.
Straight from Vietnam to Idaho, over 18 years ago, Trinh spent a vast majority of time in and out of the kitchens of various Asian restaurants in the Treasure Valley. After landing at Fusion 4 years ago, Trinh was offered a chance to own the restaurant back in 2010. Though she knew the potential sacrifice, being the maverick she is, she jumped at the chance.
Walk into this little haven, and immediately you are lulled by a serene color palette of rich bronze, burgundy, calming décor, and the feeling you are about to leave Idaho, without the costly airfare. After quickly being greeted by Trinh, we were seated, with menus promptly in hand.
In less than 15 minutes after ordering, our table was adorned with an appetizer of Fresh Summer Rolls with Grilled Pork and Shrimp ($5.95), served with some hoisin peanut sauce. These babies are the real deal with lean grilled pork, tender shrimp, clear noodles, and cilantro nestled in a rice noodle blanket.
Shortly after, orders of Hot & Spicy Chicken ($10.95), Charbroiled Pork & Grilled Shrimp ($13.95) served with a choice of steamed or Fusion’s amazing fried rice, landed at the table. The Hot & Spicy chicken wasn’t 5-Alarm Fire hot, but fiery enough to remind you you’re still mortal. Meats on the grilled items were thin sliced, yet amply portioned and succulent. The shrimp was delectable and real, without the rubbery taste of farmed varieties. Paired with rice and a salad of pickled carrots, and cucumbers, your taste buds are right in Dak Lak Province.
The Hot & Sour Soup ($5.95) which is large enough to feed 2 people more than comfortably was by far the best I have eaten in a life time. The rich sweet broth, cradled my mouth with egg, mushrooms, and then slapped me with the bite from red chili peppers; A flavorful concoction, leaving you stinging, and yet begging for more. The items are not just for dinner, but lunch too.
Grilled Lemon Grass Chicken was superbly prepared, like the other grilled meat orders, yet the lemongrass wasn’t overpowering, but subtle. It was at that very moment, I was quite appreciative of the elastic waistband around my pants. Though the food at Fusion is prepared lean, fresh, and to order, it’s very easy to forget humans only have one stomach.
Fusion serves traditional beer and Asian favorites like Tsing Tao, also varieties of plum wine and sake, along with hot tea, and soda. Trinh Payne serves all her customers with the same urgency, politeness, and genuine concern for your approval. After waddling out, I made a promise to work out even more diligently, just so I can come back for more.