Tam Deli & Cafe

Living in South Austin, getting up north to eat doesn’t happen all that often.

But recently, I checked out Tam Deli and Cafe, a little Vietnamese place on North Lamar. The man and I split all the dishes so we could try everything.

We began with a veggie steam bun. It was much larger and fresher than most steam buns I’ve tried in the past. It was stuffed with a veggie filling that seemed heavy on taro. It was warm, mild and comforting.

Next came the Bahn Mi Chay. Stuffed with carrots and jalapenos, it had a great flavor. The bread was great—crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside, but the filling could have used something more hearty. Maybe tofu?

The special house egg noodles with vegetables and tofu tasted fresh, and the veggies still had a little crunch. The sauce on the noodles was quite mild, but was made much better with the vinegar sauce it was served with and the red sauce on the table.

Dessert is where we chose our own dishes. He got sticky rice with coconut sauce. The purple rice was well done and only mildly sweet, and the salty coconut sauce was fun to dip in.

I got the Che with tapioca and bananas, served warm. Suspended in a sweet-salty and slightly sour coconut milk, the tapioca was soft and comforting. I think more desserts should be served warm – it just gives me the warm fuzzies.

Overall, I had a tasty meal at Tam. The toughtest part was choosing dessert. They have amazing-looking cream puffs, more varieties of Che (including one with sweet corn, which I LOVE), variations on sticky rice and cookies – I had to force myself to put down a delicious-looking box of tuiles. I’ll definitely be back, at least for dessert.

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