Tag Archives: War Stories

Telling Tales, a Specialty at Tam’s Pub

Tams Pub Danang Vietnam

Tam’s Pub is not your typical restaurant or watering hole. Located on a residential side street near My Khe Beach in Da Nang, Vietnam, it’s easy to mistake the place for someone’s garage. Inside the wide, open storefront, a row of motorbikes are parked along one wall. A TV mounted high in a corner of the room is tuned to a sitcom. An orange-and-white cat stands near the eatery’s entrance, while a tawny-colored feline perches on one of the bike seats, lazily grooming.

Casually placed among the clutter are a few tables and chairs, as if in anticipation of friends dropping by for a cold beer or a bite to eat. And that’s exactly how Tam treats her customers; like old friends.

We arrived early on a week night and found the place empty except for Tam, who was busy working at one of the tables, a de facto desk piled high with papers. After we settled in and decided what to have for dinner, she left us contentedly sipping cans of Biere Larue while she disappeared into the back.

We had come to Tam’s Pub hoping for a satisfying meal, but we also received something unexpected. After serving our orders Tam pulled up a chair and joined us while we ate, sharing stories about her life during the American-Vietnam War and pointing out related photos as she spoke. Pictures and memorabilia, spanning more than half a century, adorn nearly every inch of wall space that isn’t occupied by the surf boards she rents out.

Tam was just twelve when the war began. We were mostly silent as she told us about that time in her life, captivated by her vivid reminisces. What surprised us most about Tam’s war stories was how often they focused on American acts of kindness. She told us of the sailor who appeared one day and offered her something to eat. Every day thereafter the man returned to the same place to bring Tam a sandwich.

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