Friday, 07/07/2017 17:14

Savouring an unbroken tradition in HCM City

Dessert special: Che sen long nhan nha dam (longan, lotus seed and aloe vera sweet soup with ice) is one of the restaurant’s best desserts. VNS Photos Anh Duy
Viet Nam News

HCM City’s best broken rice dishes can be found at Com Tam Moc restaurant, which specialises in southern fare, both traditional and fusion.  My Duyen reports. 

Though Western fast food like fried chicken, hamburgers and French fries have begun to replace traditional daily meals with rice, com tam (broken rice) with grilled pork chops, shredded pork skin and steamed egg custard are still favoured by many locals, especially in HCM City.

In the past, the southern specialty was eaten only during breakfast, but now com tam lovers can enjoy the dish at any time of the day at street side stalls or luxury restaurants.

Located in downtown HCM City, Com Tam Moc restaurant serves authentic cuisine from southern Viet Nam, with com tam its signature dish.

Its recent renovation has given it a modern, polished look that catches the eyes of passersby. At the entrance, a stylish area with artfully crafted vases welcomes guests with boxes of organic Japanese watermelons for sale.

The beautifully designed menu surprised me with its tempting selection of different com tam items at affordable prices.

The highlights included com tam suon bi cha, traditional broken rice with grilled pork chop, shredded pork skin and egg custard (VND65,000), and com tam suon nuong, broken rice with grilled pork chop (VND45,000).

Also on offer are com tam suon chia nuong, broken rice with grilled pork ribs (VND69,000), and com tam ba roi nuong/chien, broken rice with grilled or fried pork belly (VND60,000).

Unlike many other Vietnamese of my generation, I don’t often eat rice during meals as I fear it could lead to weight gain!

So my colleague and I started our lunch by sharing a plate of traditional broken rice. The flavourful dish, with scallions on top, matched perfectly with the well-made fish sauce.

It was the best com tam I’d ever eaten.    

Fusion fare

Aside from rice with traditionally prepared BBQ pork, the restaurant has recently added new fantastic recipes with a modern twist.

The fusion items are com tam ca basa chien gion, broken rice with crispy deep fried basa fish fillet (VND60,000), and com tam ca thu chien muoi ot, broken rice with deep fried mackerel (VND75,000), as well as com tam dui/canh ga xoi mo, succulent deep fried chicken legs or wings (VND65,000).  

Irresistible side dishes, the pride of southern cuisine, will also whet your taste buds.

The must tries include thit trung kho nuoc dua, caramelised pork and eggs, and ca kho to, caramelised fish in clay pot, two well-known dishes cooked in truly Mekong Delta style.

To sample as many new fusion dishes as I could, I asked for a deep fried basa fish (VND52,000), deep fried mackerel (VND67,000) and succulent fried chicken leg (VND62,000VND) – all without rice!

Finely cooked, the three items were fresh and crispy.

Lovers of southern-style finger food should sample goi cuon tom thit, fresh spring rolls with prawn and pork (VND30,000), and cha gio, deep fried spring rolls (VND59,000). Skillfully prepared from fresh ingredients, the two appetisers were impressive.

Southern-style sweet pudding and cocktail specialties are a good way to end such a bounteous meal.

I recommend the longan, lotus seed and aloe vera sweet soup with ice (VND40,000), longan sweet pudding with black jelly (VND35,000) and banana and coconut milk ice cream (VND29,000). We tried the first two, which were superb and not too sweet.

If you’re too busy to make meals at home or want to impress your friends with special broken rice dishes, Com Tam Moc should definitely be at the top of your list of restaurants to visit in HCM City. VNS     


Com Tam Moc Restaurant

Address: 85 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1

Phone: (08) 38248561                                                                                                       

Hours: 6am-10pm

Comment: authentic Vietnamese cuisine southern style, beautiful rice plates, elegant interior design and refined hospitality at affordable prices.

Moc style: Cha gio and goi cuon (deep-fried and fresh spring rolls).
Fusion : Com tam ca basa fillet chien gion (broken rice with crispy deep fried basa fillet), is a new dish from the restaurant’s chef.
Most wanted: Com tam suon bi cha (Vietnamese traditional broken rice with grilled pork chop, shredded pork skin and steamed pork egg custard) is a very popular dish at the restaurant.

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