As you know, rice is the staple food of Vietnam. We can eat them 3 or more times a day. There is a Vietnam’s special dish from rice you should not miss. It is called Broken Rice or Com Tam. This food is more popular in South Vietnam, especially in Saigon where you can find hundreds of Broken Rice restaurants. They can eat Broken Rice every day and never get bored of it.
Ingredients, recipes, variations of Broken Rice
A portion of Broken Rice usually consists of steamed broken rice, carrot and daikon pickles, dipping fish sauce, green onion oil, one or more toppings.
The main ingredient – broken rice
Broken Rice – Com Tam is one of the most favorite dishes in South Vietnam, especially Ho Chi Minh City. It’s easy to see a Com Tam stall with an attractive smell on the streets in the morning or at night. The main ingredient for Com Tam is broken rice, which is steamed before being served. This kind of steamed rice is smaller than normal steamed rice so that it’s comfortable to eat. Vietnamese people often cook steamed rice in electric rice cookers, in cast iron or stainless pots on charcoal, gas or wood stoves. However, it needs a steamer to cook steamed broken rice. In fact, you can buy broken rice and cook in any way. Steamer is the best for cooking steamed broken rice. At Com Tam restaurants, they have big steamers which are put on charcoal or wood stoves and used to cook the broken rice as well as keep it warm before serving. Similar to steamed rice, broken rice should be served hot.
Must ingredients – cucumber, pickles, dipping fish sauce, green onion oil
Vietnamese people love to eat vegetables with steamed rice. So, some vegetables could not be missed while serving the Broken Rice dish. Cucumber perhaps is the number one vegetable for Com Tam because it is juicy and crispy. Thickly sliced cucumber adds freshness to the dish. Sweet and sour carrot and daikon pickles balance the flavors and make the dish less greasy and tastier. Dipping fish sauce plays an important part in Vietnamese cuisine, it is the must in lots of Vietnamese foods, including Broken rice. Dipping sauce eaten with some Vietnamese foods is sweet and sour. However, the fish sauce dip for Com Tam is not sour but sweet and salty, sometimes spicy. Green onion oil and deep-fried pork fat (optional) are put on top, they are smelling and great to eat. Next, we will talk about Com Tam’s delicious toppings which create many variations of this amazing food.
The most popular Broken Rice – with pork chop, egg pie, and pork skin strips
The most popular toppings of Broken Rice dishes include grilled pork chop, Vietnamese pork and egg pie, thinly shredded pork skin mixed with toasted rice powder and fried egg. Some people don’t want to eat all of them with their Com Tam dish but only one or two main toppings. The toppings include a mix of chopped green onion and oil making Com Tam have a special smell, sliced cucumber, pickled carrot and white radish making it easier to eat. A small bowl of soup with white radish, carrot and chopped green onion and sweet and sour fish sauce dip are also served with a plate of steamed broken rice and toppings. When you enjoy a Com Tam dish, you will feel something very Vietnamese. It’s really a perfect mix that wins not only locals but visitors’ heart.
Grilled pork chop is popular around the world and it tastes different in different countries. We marinate the pork chop with soy sauce, honey, oyster oil, chicken oil, sesame oil, fish sauce, small onion, garlic, black pepper, lemongrass, butter, coconut cream, and orange juice. The marinated pork chop is grilled on charcoal and the cook must stand and take care of the chop until it’s ready.
Grilled pork chop on charcoal outdoor
Pork and egg pie are served with Broken Rice
Vietnamese pork and egg pie are creative recipes of Vietnamese people. This pork pie is made from pork, wood ear mushroom, jicama, and egg. Pork is ground, mushroom and jicama are shredded before being mixed with egg. Then the mix is steamed until it’s well-done, egg yolk is poured into the mold to make the orange layer on the pie. The cook will cut the pie into small pieces to serve with Broken Rice.
Finally, the fish sauce dip is a mix of lemon juice, coconut water, sugar and ground chili, and garlic. The dipping fish sauce is a must to eat with Com Tam. The diner uses the spoon to get a little dip and put onto the steamed broken rice before eating. A fork is used to eat the grilled pork chop as well as pork and egg pie.
Other toppings – Half fry egg, fish, chicken, pork
There are not less than 10 toppings of Com Tam. All of the toppings are cooked and arranged in glass wardrobes in front of the restaurants so that customers can choose one or more from them easily. Except for Grilled pork, pork pie and pork skin strips, the most popular toppings of Com Tam include Chinese Sausage, Omelette, Half Fry Egg, Fried Fish, Fried Fish Pie, Grilled/fried Chicken, Roasted Pork (Heo Quay).
Various toppings for Broken rice in Vietnam
You can order soups such as Sweet And Sour Soup, Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup, Green Mustard Soup to eat with the Broken Rice.
Stuffed Bitter Melon with Ground Pork Soup
Sweet And Sour Soup
A plate of Com Tam with delicious toppings (omelet, meat and egg pie, shredded pigskin, pickles, and cucumber slices). Fish sauce dip is a must to eat with Broken Rice
Broken Rice with grilled pork chop
Broken Rice With shrimp, shredded pigskin, omelet and herbs
Saigon people also love eating Broken Rice with Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup
An outdoor Broken Rice Restaurant in Vietnam
Places to enjoy the best broken rice (Com Tam) in Saigon:
- Com Tam Thu Thao, 459 – 461, Le Dai Hanh Street, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 19:00; Prices: from 40,000 VND.
- Com Tam Thuan Kieu, 26 Ton That Tung Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 – 20:45; Prices: 25,000 – 275,000 VND; Website: http://comtamthuankieu.com.vn
- Com Tam Tu Map, 812 Su Van Hanh Street, Ward 12, District 8, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 14:00; 17:00 – 21:00; Prices: 15, 000 – 60,000 VND.
- Com Tam Ba Ghien, 291 Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, Ward 5, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 21:00; Prices: 35,000 – 85,000 VND.
- Com Tam Nguyen Van Cu, 167 Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, Ward 2, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:30 – 15:00; Prices: 50,000 – 130,000 VND.
- Com Tam Kieu Giang, 192E Tran Quang Khai Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00; Prices: 40,000 – 70,000 VND.
- Com Tam Cali, 32 Nguyen Trai Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Website: https://www.comtamcali.com.
Check out more photos, prices, and details about Top 10 Broken Rices in Ho Chi Minh City
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