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Austin Food Bytes Archive, 4

I’m adding my unpublished Austin Food Bytes articles back up for posterity, as I no longer work for the place that published them. Enjoy!

Austin Food Bytes
A Weekly Column on Eating and Cooking in Austin
By Michelann Oster

This week we’re featuring a new column on what makes Austin a great town for food shopping, cooking and eating. Each week we’ll spotlight a restaurant, store, event or recipe. If you’re new to the Austin area you’ll glean information on where to get the best grub, and if you’re a long-timer you might learn something new!

Sandwiches with a Twist

Some of us already know and love Vietnamese food, while others relegate it to the “exotic foods” category, and stick to their BBQ and Tex-Mex. If you’re famililiar with Vietnamese food, you probably think of “pho” — savory soup with rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, and a variety of garnishes from fresh basil to sliced jalapeños. If you’re more adventurous, you might like “bun” — a big bowl layered with lettuce and cucumbers, rice noodles, and grilled pork, shrimp or egg rolls. These are standards available at most of the fine Vietnamese restaurants in town. But when you think about having Vietnamese food for lunch, do you think of BBQ sandwiches?

Vietnamese sandwiches, or Bahn Mi, are made with French bread rolls, fresh vegetables, and grilled meat — usually pork. My favorite Bahn Mi is at Tam Deli and Café on north Lamar. Just a quick hop down 183 gets you there — call ahead if you’re in a rush and would like your meal to-go.

Tam Deli’s Bahn Mi consists of a warm French roll, perfectly cooked BBQ pork, julienned pickled cucumber, carrot and jalapeños, cilantro and mayo. It’s a simple, filling, and most importantly an inexpensive ($3.50) lunch. And if you need a little pick-me up to get you through the rest afternoon, get some Vietnamese iced coffee to go with it. Espresso-style coffee is mixed with sweetened-condensed milk over ice. This highly concentrated combination of caffeine and sugar guarantees that you should be able to peel yourself off the ceiling right around quittin’ time.

Whether your tastes are traditional or adventurous, give these sandwiches a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Tam Deli and Cafe
8222 North Lamar, 834-6458
Wed-Mon, 10am-8pm

Ba Le Vietnamese Bakery and Deli
8624 N. Lamar, 491-9188

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