the spot: Tam’s Deli 8222 N. Lamar Blvd Austin TX 78753
the eats: Bánh Mi Sandwich
the bucks: $7.75
the full nelson: A Cheap Eats certified Bahn Mi and Vietnamese Cafe with a lot more
Tam’s Deli in Austin TX has been on my must try list since I moved to Austin in 2015. Geez, am I freaking slacker. Coming from LA I had to find me a Cheap Eats certified Bánh Mi joint. If you have never had a Bánh Mi you are missing out on perhaps the greatest sandwich rival to an Italian Cold Cut combo. And for the record, I ain’t talking no BMT from Subway.
Sparkling linoleum, a cash register that draws the eye when you walk in and just enough kitsch knick knacks to let you know the part of the world you are dining, Tam’s Deli is a glorious Cheap Eats dining room. No need for fancy interior design ideas here. The promise of affordability is enough draw.
Every Bánh Mi sandwich gets house mayonnaise, pickled carrot, cucumber, cilantro and jalapeños. The baguette most likely lands around 9″, not quite a footlong but almost enough to share. I’m partial to the Bánh Mi with cold cuts and pate, and it’s my go to order at Saigon Le Vendeur. Tam’s isn’t quite as stuffed with meats like that one but they do an interesting twist: adding roast chicken. I couldn’t put it down.
All the classic elements are here with Tam’s Deli Bánh Mi: a light airy baguette with the perfect crisp exterior, the masterful layering of cold crunchy uplifting vegetables, pickles(carrots) and herbs, the creamy layer of mayonnaise and the funky savory meat mix of pate, ham and chicken. Much like an Italian cold cut combo that makes creamy mortadella, savory salami and spicy coppa work, Bánh Mi is a masterful meat lovers sandwich paired smartly with bright fresh contrasting plant life.
Tam’s Deli doesn’t serve fav Bánh Mi in town but it’s still damn good. And I’m far more curious about their extensive menu of Pho, Rice Bowls, and house specialties like Vietnamese Crepes. Tam’s Deli is priced well within the Cheap Eats margins and in 2022, that is a miracle.