On the same road as Bun Thit Nuong, more or less three stalls away, is a place serving a popular Vietnamese breakfast. Com Tam Ba Tam are relatively new on the block, a restaurant serving dishes of broken rice with pork, egg and various other garnishes.
Com Tam was originally a peasant dish. The rice grains that were in a fractured state were given to the poor. Somehow, the light and pleasant texture was underestimated and so the dish came to be. This is a breakfast found all over Saigon.
With our base being in District 1, Com Tam Ba Tam was ideally situated just a street away from Ben Thanh Market. We arrived to see locals getting stuck into their breakfast which is always a great sign when it comes to street food.
The menu is extensive and well priced. A small kitchen churns out a huge vat of broken rice to sell to the masses. We ordered the rice with rib and egg, with rib translating to pork chop. Our food arrived quickly as we perched ourselves on the now trademark small stools. This was one of those occasions that I was seriously worried about flattening it.
A charcoal aroma came straight up from the plate. It’s very common to see pork chops marinated in fish sauce and sugar being grilled over hot coals along the streets. The rice looked like a cross between regular rice and couscous with a simple egg and vegetable garnish.
If you want to pimp up your plate, add some sweetened fish sauce. The condiments also included kecap manis (a sweet soy sauce) also extra chillies and chilli sauce. It’s becoming a regular theme on these posts to say that this food is delicious, which this most certainly was. Vietnamese food just seems to tick every flavour profile.
The texture of the rice is soft and fluffy, not as heavy as regular rice can sometimes be. This makes it perfect for starting the day off. Grilled meat over charcoal is always going to be good, this pork was no exception. A lovely sweet and salty flavour from the marinade really made its presence felt.
For the price of 45,000 Dong (around £1.49) per plate, this was about right for the area. It’s hard to believe that the food in Saigon is this good all across the board. Right from the streets all the way up to the restaurants. It’s a cuisine that we can really get used to.