Multi-ethnic classes, deli, catering and dinner by reservation offered

by: TIDINGS AND REVIEW PHOTO: BARB RANDALL - Chef Thu Ha Dinh, owner of fuAsian Catering and Deli, invites you to experience her healthful, delicious foods. The deli is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with pickup available until 7 p.m.

I am willing to bet you have driven past fuAsian several times — perhaps several hundreds of times — since it opened three years ago. It’s located on the east side of State Street where A Avenue intersects. If you had your window rolled down you might have caught a whiff of tantalizing aromas as you wheel around the corner from A onto State, or perhaps noticed quite a crowd during the dinner hours several nights a week. At any rate, fuAsian should be on your radar as a dining option in the area.

To say that owner Chef Thu Ha Dinh has been cooking all her life is not an exaggeration. At the tender age of 7, she was responsible for cooking rice for her grandparents, parents and the 30 or more harvesters on the coffee plantation at which they worked. Putting on a pot of rice wasn’t the simple task of plugging in the rice cooker. Thu Ha had to build a fire, which was topped with a level rock on which she placed an aluminum pot with the right amounts of water and rice. Then she had to keep the fire stoked to cook the rice. Letting it burn was not an option, so perfection came to her early.

Thu Ha and her family immigrated to the United States when she was 10. Her first job came at 15 — in food service, of course. She worked all through high school and college, learning as much as she could in school and in the restaurant.

“I loved being with people and providing service,” Thu Ha said. “I learned patience, humility and how to talk to people.”

She graduated from college with a degree in accounting and then entered the accounting field, but still kept her job with the restaurant.

“I still worked at the restaurant,“ she said. “I think I was afraid to leave the food industry.” Eventually she had to make a choice between careers and her love of working with food won out.

“All of my family is in the restaurant business,” she said. “We are good at food. My mother must be my hardest critic, but she is also my best teacher.”

Recently Thu Ha has reinvented fuAsian. Catering has always been a major part of the business, and now she is offering cooking classes, has opened a deli and serves dinner by reservation. The restaurant offers multi-ethnic cuisine; Thu Ha prepares the Asian foods while other chefs prepare Italian, French and Indian dishes.

"Our dishes are thoughtfully crafted and made with fresh spices and ingredients. You can taste the difference," she said.

The deli is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with pickup until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Although most foods can be taken out, they encourage customers to sit down and enjoy their food at the deli.

"Besides noodles and broth, we have salads, sandwiches, Thai and Indian curries and lots of gluten-free desserts and baked goods," Thu Ha said. "We love to show off our gourmet dishes by having customers join us for prix fixe dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings. We welcome customers to bring their favorite wine from their wine cellar with no corkage fees."

The classes are priced between $40 and $50 and, of course, you get to eat what you make. Thu Ha can elevate your cooking skills by teaching you to cook with all your senses. The current calendar includes classes in making sushi, pho, a three-course Thai dinner and a four-course Asian dinner.

On the website you can sign up for classes, view photos, order from the deli and even pay ahead of time.

"The summer concert season is almost here; we love to put together picnic baskets for families to enjoy in the park," Thu Ha said.

Chef Thu Ha shares this recipe for Chicken Cabbage Salad today. Her foods are healthful, delicious and simple to prepare. Visit fuAsian at 365 N. State St. or go online at You can also call 503-305-8600.

Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!

Chicken Cabbage Salad

(also called Goi Ga)

1/2 small cabbage, finely shredded

1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon sugar

Boiled chicken, shredded

Fish sauce dressing, see below

Use a mandolin or food processor with a 1-millimeter blade, and slice the red onion as paper thin as possible. Add sugar to cut the onion taste. Finely shred cabbage. Chop cilantro and mint as fine as you can, add to cabbage. Squeeze the red onion from its liquid, then add to the salad. Add the dressing. Mix all ingredients together or arrange chicken on top of the salad.

Fish Sauce Dressing 1:1 RATIO

1 tablespoon hot water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice

Mix hot water and sugar together until melted. Add fish sauce and lime juice. Set aside. Pour in salad.

Chef Thu Ha Dinh, fuAsian

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter at @barbrandallfood.

By Barb Randall
Staff Reporter
503-636-1281 Ext 100
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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