During the production of the cook book Smart Cooking 3 by Holland’s TV Chef Julius Jaspers, we were working in Asia. This book features the cuisine of China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. To me, as a wine advisor, this trip was very interesting. Looking back I found – by far – the Vietnamese dishes the most inspiring. Beautiful soft tastes, never too spicy, always fresh and clean-tasting food.
Recently, I was introduced to a small, inexpensive family-run restaurant in Rotterdam called Deli Tasty. Here I re-discovered the fine food I had tasted in Vietnam. Simple dishes, all based on the very freshest of ingredients and perfectly prepared.
The interior is dominated by king-size photography, all images from Vietnam I recognised. But also lots of sports prizes. Both daughters of owner Thang and his wife Loan are crack tennis stars, one of them even Holland’s youth champion. It must be great for papa to be able to display the photos of his kids alongside big names like Williams, Dokovic and Nadal.
It will be difficult, if not impossible, to run up a hefty bill, as all dishes are very well priced. Appetizers run from € 3.50 to € 8.50. The deep-fried spring rolls Chả giò’ò, filled with either chicken or shrimps, are under € 4 per portion. There are lots of different salads around the € 6-mark and a really very nice Bò tái chanh, or wafer-thin sliced beef, marinated in lime juice – gorgeous! And € 8.50. Gỏi cuốn, the nem rolls made of rice paper and filled with crispy salad, cucumber and either beef or shrimps, are € 5.90.
One of the most recognised dishes in Vietnam is of course the soup, Phở. Deli Tasty serves three different styles, all around € 7.50. There are also three other soups, large enough to be a fine lunch. All soups are served with garden-fresh herbs that lift the taste into another realm. Bún riêu cua is surprising; a noodle soup served with tomato broth and perfumed with crab or shrimp paste, at € 7.50.
The main courses range from € 5.90 tot € 9.90. Bún thịt nướng is a must, with vermicelli, grilled bacon and fish sauce. The same may be said about Bánh xèo, a crispy pancake filled with fresh taugé, or bean sprouts. You can choose the extra ingredient, either shrimps & bacon, or beef. Either way, it is a dish to reorder time and time again – and, at € 5.90 a ‘steal’.
If you like the soft, steamed ultra thin pasta, try the Bánh cuốn. See-through ravioli stuffed with minced pork, shiitake mushrooms and dried onions. Very, very nice, at € 7.90. And, whatever you do, don’t miss the fresh, young coconut (€ 3.50) for dessert, as it is something you hardly ever see in our part of the world.
There is a small wine list made by one of Holland’s leading food and wine specialists Robert Pham – no points for guessing in which country his roots lie.
Deli Tasty Restaurant & Catering
Meent 40, Rotterdam
Tel.: 010 – 411 11 16