Have you heard? Michelin’s been in town! “Tầm Việt,” a restaurant that emphasizes the value of traditional Vietnamese family dinners, has been granted a Michelin star in 2023.
Many people wondered before that: why did Tam Viet, a restaurant specializing in offering familiar and close foods in the traditional rice tray of Northern families, acquire major accolades like “Oscar in the culinary industry” like Michelin? If you’re wondering the same thing, let’s find out in the article below!
Located in Yen The Street, this is an address that is no stranger to those who love Vietnamese Northern rice tray. They provide dishes made with fresh ingredients from local marketplaces. The atmosphere is rustic, with bowls, chopsticks, tables, and chairs reminiscent of old dwellings.
When viewed from the outside, gaining a Michelin star, the famous global culinary designation, Tam Vi has not changed much.
The restaurant is a modest two-story bungalow with around 20 tables that seats roughly 100 people. The antique house is recreated through the walls, ceilings, floors, staircases, old tables and chairs, and bamboo chopsticks. Light decorations in keeping with the vintage theme. On cool days, the shop includes a little courtyard with several trees where you can sit and enjoy your meal.
Because each season will feature distinct specialty dishes, the menu will vary on a regular basis. However, because of seasonal limits, this is both a plus and a drawback when the recipes are not very rich. “We would like to give you the memory of our own home meal only,” the restaurant’s introduction states.
The restaurant’s “sudden popularity” led the phone to ring constantly, with reservations already booked for the next five days, according to Mai Anh, the restaurant’s proprietor. A Michelin star is “beyond her imagination,” and she “never dared to believe.”
Tam Vi premiered in 2019 and was named after Ms. Tam, Mai Anh’s mother, and “Vi,” which means “taste” in Vietnamese. The desire to serve traditional Vietnamese cuisine to family members inspired the mother and daughter eatery. Mai Anh’s grandma has nine children, while her mother has five. Cooking becomes a “big deal” in large families, necessitating painstaking care.
Those who begin with ‘Tầm Vị’ are merely cooking enthusiasts; no one has experience in the restaurant or culinary industry. Their simple ambition is to create a modest shop selling traditional Vietnamese cuisine. The first menu consists of simply three rice trays with approximately 30 typical foods such as fried eggs and boiled veggies.
‘Tầm Vị’ differs from other Michelin-starred restaurants in Vietnam in that it does not emphasize the value of a chef. “It is impartial and sincere, and it stems from the dedication of the entire team, from the people who go to the market and choose the ingredients every day, from the waiters, cooks, and people who stand in the kitchen. Those are the things we are always grateful for and satisfied with,” Mai Anh added.
Mai Anh, as a member of the younger generation, recognizes and appreciates the significance of Michelin stars in global cuisine. She, on the other hand, has never heard of the Michelin Guide. When asked by Michelin representatives about attending the awards ceremony on June 6, she declined. She declined the next two calls from Michelin, stating that “It was an advertisement.” Ms. Tam was assured after numerous discussions with her daughter and confirmation from her children that this is a well-known brand.
Currently, Tam Vi’s menu includes more than 100 items, with the most popular being fish stock, fried eggs, fried tofu, boiling vegetables, gourd shrimp soup, egg stock, melon, cabbage rolls… The menu changes periodically but stays true to traditional Vietnamese fare. However, the pricing is higher than the average, with each meal costing between 250,000 and 300,000 VND per person. Mai Anh is now the main manager of the restaurant; Ms. Tam merely helps her daughter.
After gaining the Michelin star, Mai Anh realized she would be under even more strain when the restaurant was busy, resulting in an inability to serve adequately. She is convinced, though, that the restaurant will always provide “impartiality and sincerity” to its patrons.
“As of now, we have no other plans.” After receiving a Michelin star, neither family has considered doing anything new or unusual. Diners will want more, and we will only hope to improve little details while always putting the customer first,” said Mai Anh.