I love Vietnamese sandwiches. I love Vietnamese coffee. Heck, I love Vietnamese cuisine full stop.
My obsession with the sandwiches didn’t actually start when I went on my school trip to Vietnam in 2002… I can’t remember eating any of them there? Just tons of Pho and spring rolls!!! The love affair began later on, in 2004, when I moved to Sydney as a poor undergraduate and discovered a place down the road selling Vietnamese pork and chicken rolls for $2.50.
Later still, I discovered the holy grail of Vietnamese-style rolls in Sydney at Mascot’s Hong Ha bakery (also known as Red Roll… I saw one of these in Bandung one time!! Need to check it out), not far from my office… We used to go on Hong Ha runs at least once a week.
But Cali Deli is the only place in Jakarta that I’ve found with the good gear. Not only are the sandwiches delish, you can also enjoy them outside in a leafy courtyard that has a mister and fans to keep you cool in the tropical heat, as well as big lounges for groups.
Today, I tried the lemongrass chicken roll and a piping hot cup of Vietnamese coffee, served kopi susu style with condensed sweet milk. Unfortunately here they don’t serve it drip-style, but it’s still very nice.
The hollowed out baguette roll is full of sprightly ingredients and the bread is crunchy and fresh, cut into three pieces for polite eating. There are plenty of vegetables on the roll… lettuce, slightly pickled carrots, cucumber, onion, coriander and a light dressing. I’ve been here once before with some friends and we tried some of the other flavors on the menu and they were all really good. You can easily share around the pieces of the rolls to mix and match. And the price is good too. The coffee and the roll set me back around Rp 55,000 ++. The courtyard is a lovely place to sit quietly with a book as well and the staff are attentive but not over the top.
And it’s right across the road from the Jalan Surabaya antique market, which I will write about next!
Cali Deli Menteng
Jl. Surabaya No. 22, Menteng, Central Jakarta
Ph: (021) 980 11061 / 980 11062
(They have a few other outlets around Jakarta as well… and the website seems to suggest they have delivery?? Might try that out some day)