Tam Tam Cafe: Hoi An, Vietnam, 2013

tam tam cafe

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.

rice noodle soup

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.

banh xeo

A plate of crispy vegetable spring rolls was next, with alfalfa and carrot flowers plated on the side.

spring rolls

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.

papaya salad and flatbread

Rice noodle dumplings topped with a healthy dose of deep-fried shallots.

rice noodle dumplings

Then a marriage between dainty, mixed greens, lime, red chili, snow peas, and thick, deep-fried wonton strips.

wonton salad

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!


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