It's been years since Phuc Yea debuted as a rogue pop-up, bringing one of the most inventive culinary concepts to the Magic City. Inside the former Moonchine Asian Bistro space (7100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami), the eatery is now a brick-and-mortar, which opened in September 2016.
Specializing in Viet-Cajun cuisine, Phuc (pronounced fook) Yea marries Vietnamese and Cajun flavors popular in Houston and New Orleans, where the cities' large Vietnamese populations melded with traditional Southern and Cajun flavors.
The restaurant whips up dishes such as Cajun cod bao buns drizzled with a sriracha rémoulade, and caramel pork riblets with a hint of ginger, and many fans have long anticipated what exactly a Viet-Cajun brunch would look and taste like. Well, the time has finally come. Phuc Yea is officially open for Sunday brunch, followed by Sunset Sundays, a swanky soiree in the eatery's lantern garden.
Created by co-owners Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata — the duo behind the Federal Food Drink & Provisions and later the Fed — Phuc Yeah's brunch is a quiet force to be reckoned with. It beautifully blends breakfast and lunch with just enough Viet-Cajun inspiration to make it craveable. Though dishes might sound overwhelming at first, Meinhold and Zapata adeptly unite traditional American staples with Asian flavors.
To Meinhold, the biggest challenge was staying true to Phuc Yea's character while trying to create brunch dishes that weren't too "strange." She wanted something that was more than unique; she wanted something that patrons would want to eat again and again. She and Zapata succeeded.
New Times was invited for a taste of the eatery's entire brunch menu, which includes an assortment of Phuc Yea's dim sum offerings, such as cripsy tofu ($9) and PY noodles showered in Parmesan and oyster sauce.
Start your meal with three small puff pastries. Served warm, the barbecue-pork-stuffed empanadas ($5) are perfect to munch on as you sip something boozy. Try the Saigon teabag — which is served inside a plastic tea bag — fused with rum and mango punch.
Phuc Yeah's brunch dishes are eclectic and eccentric, so order a handful to share at the table. The "brekky" nachos — a spinoff of traditional breakfast nachos — are a must-try ($10). Sesame rice crackers are smothered in salsa, crème fraîche, bird's-eye chili, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg. Cover yourself with a few napkins beforehand because the plate is messy.
Then try the soft scrambled eggs with Parmesan ($10), topped with two sticky rice croquettes coated in rice crisps. For something meaty, try the pig wings and waffles ($10), doused in a sweet-and-sour sauce containing chunks of pineapple, bell peppers, and chilies.
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Top off brunch with a sweet ending. The silver dollar pancakes ($6) come crowed with ricotta cream, bananas, Vietnamese coffee, and dark rum, and Phuc Yea's iteration of bread pudding is rich in apple-cinnamon flavor hugged in croissant dough.
Brunch runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit phucyea.com.