Dinner in Hoi An was at Tam Tam Cafe, a trendy and spacious restaurant in the heart of the village. i’m not sure if tapas-styled meals is typical at Tam Tam, but all of our plates were limited to a few bites each.
Our meal began with a few sips of vegetable soup with choppy, short belts of rice noodle. It erred a bit on the oily side.
Then came bánh xèo, Vietnamese crepe: crispy, savory pancakes stuffed with corn and bean sprouts. Lettuce served on the side to wrap the crepes in.
A plate of crispy vegetable spring rolls was next, with alfalfa and carrot flowers plated on the side.
Green papaya salad was a pleasant surprise. I had always thought of this as a Thai dish; the generous sprinkle of mint petals was a sweet twist. We each had our own bowl of deliciously crackly flatbread. It broke apart like brûléed glass with a gentle press of the thumb.
Rice noodle dumplings topped with a healthy dose of deep-fried shallots.
Then a marriage between dainty, mixed greens, lime, red chili, snow peas, and thick, deep-fried wonton strips.
Dessert was chewy, Vietnamese macaroons. Coconut fibers stretched as you pulled the cookie apart. And the perfume of almond.
And vanilla and mango cake to celebrate a group member’s birthday to boot(this wasn’t on the menu ;).
While I don’t know how traditionally Vietnamese the food served at Tam Tam Cafe is, I certainly still enjoyed it. Good food is good food. Some places encounter difficulties with creating a well-rounded vegetarian dish — monochromatic and serving only tofu or only stir-fried vegetables — but this wasn’t the case at Tam Tam. The dishes were well balanced: a centerpiece, a twist of orange, a spike of red, and ribbons of green.
If you’re hungry in Hoi An, drop by Tam Tam Cafe!