Cơm Tấm [kʌm tɑm] is how you say Broken Rice in Vietnamese.
The Viet live on rice
Should you ever have a chance to come to Vietnam, try asking the locals what kind of food they are proud of. We assure, 90% of the answers you get will be RICE. Because Vietnam is an agricultural country, rice is the main kind of food for its people. Many dishes are also made of rice like rice paper, rice noodles, rice cakes… And Broken Rice is a must-try dish for any visitor to the country, no matter if you are a rice lover or not.
What is Broken Rice?
It is fragments of rice grains. Due to the different size and shape of the grains, when cooked, Broken Rice is neither too dried nor too sticky, but it carries a firm and softer texture. The dish stems from the South of Vietnam. People in Saigon eat Broken Rice as much as the Italian eat pasta or the American eat hamburgers. It is a flexible dish that suits your breakfast, lunch, dinner or even your late supper.
Fish sauce dressing
If you need hoisin sauce for a bowl of Pho, a good Broken Rice dish must be accompanied by a fine dressing of fish sauce. This fish sauce dressing is so important that it holds the spirit and decides the success of the dish.
Unlike the original fish sauce, this dressing is cooked and seasoned with lime, garlic, vinegar, and sugar. It won’t be just salty but will add a level of complexity to the dish, which is sweet, sour, warm and pleasing. Chili is an added option such that the spiciness is customizable.
A tasty combination of many distinct fascinating dishes
A perfect plate of Broken Rice has a good combination of many smaller dishes. Grilled pork ribs, steamed egg meatloaf and omelet seem to be the most popular choices to go in the dish. Some other people prefer chicken and seafood. A few kinds of vegetable like cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, pickled daikon radish and carrot will add more flavors to the dish.
Where to eat???
Some suggestive eateries serving good Broken Rice – Com Tam you can try in Saigon:
1, Com Tam Thuan Kieu: 26 Ton That Tung, District 1
2, Com Tam Ba Ghien: 84 Dang Van Ngu, Phu Nhuan District