photo by Todd Gunderson
Vietnam has become a foodie destination! My favorite part of Vietnamese cuisine is the French influence. The French occupied Vietnam from 1858 to 1954. They brought the baguette, crepes, paté and pastry. Being an owner of a French café myself, I adore all those things!
Tan Tan Deli and Café is a family run restaurant that has a diverse and interesting menu, covering all my French cravings and serving up the traditional Vietnamese fare.
I started with traditional salad rolls. They are wrapped in rice paper and filled with pork, shrimp, rice noodles and fresh herbs and vegetables; served with a rich peanut sauce for dipping.
Next up is the bahn mi. This is a sandwich served on a crusty-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, baguette with many options of protein. I chose the moist, flavorful lemongrass chicken. The condiments for the bahn mi are homemade mayonnaise, paté, house pickled vegetables, cilantro and jalapeños. This fresh sandwich is an amazing deal at $3.50!
At my café and at the (Vancouver) farmers market we have served thousands of crepes this year. I consider myself a bit of a crepe expert. The Tan Tan crepe (ban xeo) is a whole different experience. The crepe is filled with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts. Served alongside it, are large leaves of lettuce, fresh herbs and pickled vegetables. Lisa, the lovely girl at the front of the house, informed us the proper method of eating. Tear off a piece of lettuce, fill with crepe and veggies and dip in the sweet sauce provided. Absolutely delicious!
The traditional rice vermicelli noodle salad is called bun. Bun is served with a choice of meat, seafood or tofu and nam chao dressing. There are many options for protein. At Tan Tan I love the house made sausage patty. You can take these patties to go from the deli as well.
For drinks, I enjoyed a Vietnamese coffee. It is strong, smoky and sweetened with condensed milk. They also have many smoothie options – the avocado is my favorite.
Tan Tan also has the national dish of Vietnam, phô. This meaty brothy noodle soup is perfect for these cold winter days.
Keri Gallagher is the owner of C’est La Vie, at 1015 Main St. in Vancouver. You can find C’est La Vie on Facebook or call 360-553-5836.
Tan Tan Deli and Café
316 S.E. 123rd Ave., Vancouver