Probably with someone, rice is a very familiar dish of daily meal. However there is a kind of rice that is ingredients for making an unique dish. It is broken rice.  


To many people broken rice is a strange thing that they never heard before.There are plenty of question raised about broken rice:  What is broken rice? Is broken rice a lower grade version of rice? Do people force to break rice grains in order to served the dish?

Let’s explore all of the secret of broken rice right now?

What is broken rice ?

Broken rice (Cơm Tấm), is a Vietnamese dish made from rice with fractured rice grains. Tấm refers to the broken rice grains, while cơm refers to cooked rice.


In Viet Nam, broken rice is a cheaper than regular rice. In the past, it used to be eaten by the poorer people. But nowadays, other social classes like eating it because it is very tasty. Some folks prefer broken rice to regular rice. It definitely tastes different from unbroken rice.

Broken rice in Vietnam

Com tam” is a specialty in Southern Vietnam. It is one of the most popular breakfast dishes of the Southern people, especially Saigon. Currently, this kind of rice is available in some parts of the Central, the North of Vietnam and overseas.


Previously, a plate of ‘Com tam’ with “grilled pork chops”, “shredded pork skin”, “egg meatloaf”  are often used at breakfast time. Nowadays, this dish is available at some restaurant for lunch, dinner or super with many types of accompanying foods.

See more: How to make Vietnamese broken rice

The history of ‘Com Tam’

According to reliable sources, Com tam was originated from Saigon. A long time ago, it was a dish of ordinary people, working in the Southern province of Vietnam. Following the people of the countryside to the city, Com Tam appeared in the meals of many people, including students and officials. From a breakfast choice, this dish now becomes an option for our main meals.


In the period that American intervened in Vietnam, some hybrid dishes (Vietnamese and American combination) served with Com Tam was born, such as egg meatloaf… After 1975, in the context of Vietnamese immigration to America, this dish appeared and became popular in the United States.

Ingredients of Com Tam

The way to make Com tam is not too difficult, but you should try your best to ensure some requirements in the com tam recipe. Primarily, you should prepare all essential ingredients to create the dish with the right Saigon Flavor. A delicious Com tam plate of Sai Gon people may include “grilled pork chops”, “shredded pork skin”, “egg meatloaf” or not including all the above dishes. But the most popular option should be ‘Com Tam Suon’ (Com tam with grilled pork chops).


Broken rice: Com Tam is cooked from ‘Gao tam,’ i.e., broken rice grains. This rice was previously a kind of secondary rice, spilled after sieving. It was often used for pets or poor people. Now, Com tam has become a favorite dish, so the price of Gao tam also raises.

Fish sauce: When eating this dish, you must have a sweet fish sauce that is the fish sauce mixed with water and added sugar. Depending on the processing ways and tastes of the eaters, the fish sauce may be sweet or salty as well as lime juice may be added or not.

Accompanying dishes: Com tam can be served with many things. The most popular options are include “grilled pork chops”, “shredded pork skin”, “egg meatloaf”, “omelet eggs”

Com tam with “grilled pork chops”, “shredded pork skin”, “egg meatloaf”,

As Pork chops, pork skin, egg meatloaf, and omelet eggs are the four most popular accompanying foods with Com tam, people often put their names together on their restaurant signs:

Pork chops: Pork chops served with Com tam are pork chops marinated with sweet and sour spices, then grilled. You can easily recognize a restaurant serving Com tam with grilled pork chops by passing through as there are smoke and smell brought along with the typical flavor of grilled pork chops right in front of the shop.


Egg meatloaf made from pureed pork, mixed with soft rice vermicelli, egg, wood ear mushroom, spices, scallions and steamed. There are usually two types of steaming. The first should be done for a large bowl, then cut into pieces. The second type is steaming for each small cup. To get a beautiful and delicious batch of egg meatloaf, people often add egg yolk on the surface to make it yellow. Delicious egg rolls must be cooked evenly, soft, and fragrant.


Egg: Eggs are usually omelets.

Pork skin: It is a mixture of many things, often including boiled pork skin for fat reduction, finely chopped and mixed with powdered grilled rice or sliced boiled pork. Delicious pork skin smells fragrant, crunchy, really suited with flavor of ribs and egg rolls.


Scallion oil: It is a liquid mixture made from scallion fried by using oil or grease, sometimes mixed with fried pork rinds. Scallion oil helps Com Tam have a particular fat content, but some people do not eat it for the afraid of getting fat.


Pickle: Pickles help this dish taste sour and more attractive. They are often made from tomatoes, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, sometimes papaya.


Other options: Sometimes Com Tam is eaten with braised meat, tofu stuffed with meat, fried fish, chicken, stir-fried vegetables, and so on, just like regular rice. This type of food is often found in the restaurant served the night meal.


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