What do you know about Saigon food? Have you ever heard about Com Tam or broken rice? It is one of the specialities of Saigon in particular and Vietnam in general

What do you know about Saigon food? Have you ever heard about Com Tamor broken rice? It is one of the specialities of Saigon in particular and Vietnam in general.

Traveling to Vietnam, most people think the first thing to do in Vietnam is exploring Vietnam cuisine. Forget about Pho, Com Tam is one of the top dishes must-eat in Vietnam for you. It is voted onto one of the tastiest dishes of Saigon by CNN.

Com Tam (broken rice) – a speciality of Saigon

Com Tam (broken rice) – a speciality of Saigon

Visitors can find Com Tam at anywhere from Hanoi to Saigon but the most famous Com Tam is Com Tam Saigon (Saigon-style broken rice). The name Com Tam has its own meaning. Com refers to cooked rice while Tam refers to the broken rice grains.

Com Tam is originated from Vietnam. It’s one of the best-loved dishes in Vietnamese. The grains often damaged during the process of harvesting and transporting rice. Most people preferred eating the long, whole grain rice. Therefore, these fractured grains were difficult to sell. Farmers used those unsold broken rice as animal feed. However, some poor families who can’t afford the whole grain rice started to cook the broken rice for their own consumption as it was cheaper.

Broken rice grains

Broken rice grains

Nowadays, Com Tam contributed to the variety of Saigon street food. It is still remained being cooked by broken rice. Like Pho, it can be a breakfast, lunch or even dinner. Basically, Com Tam of each region remains the same ingredient in most cases.

It is usually served with grilled pork and bì (thinly shredded pork mixed with cooked and thinly shredded pork skin)over the rice. Adding some pickled carrot and sliced cucumber makes the dish colorful. The grilled pork chop is marinated in fish sauce and spices. Sometimes Com Tam is served with chả(made of egg, pork, mushrooms and glass noodle). On the top of Com Tam are a fried egg and a drizzle of chopped spring onion in oil. Some eateries served a small clear broth soup bowl to line the stomach.

An essential part of Com Tam isn’t the rice but the dipping sauce, a mixture of fish sauce, sugar, lime and, chili.Good rice is not too wet or too dry, not too sweet or not too salty. The pork is chosen carefully before being marinated. If we replace broken rice by normal rice, but even with the same fish sauce, green onion, and grilled pork…the taste will change completely! Moreover, people can choose whatever they want in their dishes. They can eat Com Tam without grilled pork, fried egg or chả, etc.

It is known to be one of the most delicious Saigon street food dishes. Local Com Tam eateries can be found on practically every street and every corner in Saigon. However, you should go to some "branded" places to enjoy Com Tam. Here are suggestions for you:

Com Tam Ba Ghien

Add: 84 Dang Van Ngu Street, Ward 10, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City

Don’t hesitate to pass by “Com Tam Ba Ghien”. Once you eat at Com Tam Ba Ghien, you’ll want to come back there next time. The average price is really cheap; it’s just about $1.5 per dish. Come before the rush hours if you don’t want to wait for so long.

Com Tam Ba Ghien

Com Tam Ba Ghien

Com Tam Cali

Add 1: 32 Nguyen Trai Street, District 1

Add 2: 35Bis Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1

Add 3: 449 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3

Com Tam Cali is a franchise with 10 locations. The staff is friendly and the menu has translations. A dish of Com Tam Cali costs $3.50 which is quite cheap.

Com Tam Cali

Com Tam Cali

Com Tam Moc

Add 1: 85 LýTựTrọng Street, BếnThành Ward, District 1

Add 2: 48 Lê ThánhTôn Street, District 1

Add 3: 82 Nguyễn Du Street, District 1

Com Tam Moc

Com Tam Moc

Com Tam Thuan Kieu

Add 1: 46 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1

Add 2: 114 Yersin Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1

Add 3: 54 Thuan Kieu Street, Ward 4, District 11

Com tam Thuan Kieu

Com Tam Thuan Kieu