Hue Steamed Rice with Baby Clams or Com Hen is one of the most famous Hue dishes which tourists should not miss when traveling to the old kingdom of Vietnam. Steamed rice is popular in Vietnam but Hue people eat steamed rice in a very Hue style. Crunchy rice is served cold with baby clams, deep-fried pork fat, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, banana blossom strips, herbs, sliced start fruits, taro stem, fermented shrimp sauce. Clam broth is a must to eat with Com Hen to add flavor to it. The most interesting thing here is the strange but unique combination of cold rice and hot clams, hot broth. Vegetables bring fresh, crispy and vibrant flavors.
Hue Steamed Rice with Baby Clams (Com Hen)
Baby clams are caught easily in Vietnam, but it has been said that baby clams caught at Con Hen sand dune on Perfume River (Huong River). Con Hen with clean water, thick layer of mud, less silt, less alum is a good environment for baby clams to live. Baby clams at Con Hen are listed as foods used to offer to Vietnamese lords and emperors. Local people catch clams at twilight and wash to remove mud from clams. These clams then are soaked in rice water to release sand and dirt. Con Hen in Con village, Vi Da ward is the place where a lot of delicious dishes from baby clams (Rice noodles with Baby Clams, Congee with Baby Clams) originated. However, Steamed Rice with Baby Clams is the most flavorful among them. From a dish for poor people, Com Hen has become a royal dish. In recent days, it is the first choice of tourists coming to visit Hue.
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The cook must be patient, skillful to cook this kind of food although it looks like a simple steamed rice dish with lots of toppings and soup. Baby clams should be boiled. Then clam’s meat is stir-fried with fish sauce and deep-fried onion. Ginger and shrimp paste are added to make clam broth more delicious. Vietnamese coriander and black pepper are topped on the broth when it is served. Pork fat cubes are deep-fried until they turn crispy and yellow-brown. Banana blossom, banana stem and morning glory are cut into strips and soaked in a mix of water and lemon juice so that the strips keep their color and freshness. Herbs are cut in julienne so that dinners can smell the great aroma before and during eating. Star fruits are sliced into thin stars to be served, it add a sour taste to the dish. All of them create a perfect blend of tastes and flavors – the unique Hue Steamed Rice with Baby Clams.
Ho Chi Minh city (or Saigon) is a non-sleeping city. While they may not be as bright and shiny as the city is covered by a new coat. It becomes more and more splendid and elegant with twinkle street lights and traffic lines. Why not experience the buzz of Saigon’s nightlife on the back of a Scooter with our Ao Dai girls.