Above: A Thai specialty, the yum beef salad at Fawn’s includes sliced cooked beef, slivered onions, shredded carrot and diced red peppers.
By Wini Moranville
In my quest for salads that aren’t predominantly anchored by lettuce, I generally do well at restaurants specializing in Southeast Asian food. My recent foray to Fawn’s Asian Cuisine was no exception.
Though I was tempted to order my Vietnamese standby—vermicelli salad featuring slick and cool rice noodles, crispy eggroll bits, fresh vegetables and an addictive peanut sauce—my dining companion snagged that choice. In the line of duty, I tried the yum beef salad, a Thai specialty that brought sliced cooked beef, slivered onions, shredded carrot and diced red peppers. What sealed the deal here was the irresistible flavorings: Each forkful brought something that made me just so happy—a hit of lemongrass here, a burst of basil or cilantro there and throughout, the funky flavor of fish sauce tempered by sugar and sparked by hot chilies.
One caveat: If you love the umami-esque sensations that fish sauce brings to recipes like Laotian green papaya salads and pad Thai, you’ll like what it does to this salad. If that fishy-salty-sweet angle isn’t for you, Fawn’s still has you covered. The menu of Lao, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese selections is vast, and in my experience, they serve admirably fresh, à la minute versions of classics such as Mongolian beef and cashew chicken, as well as a good take on angry fried catfish.
Fawn’s Asian Cuisine is at 1107 E. University Ave.; 515-266-0664; fawnsasiancuisine.weebly.com
Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.