When I was in Vietnam, I tried to have different kind of meals, like fabulous noodles, and finger-licking banh mi, to make the most out of the trip. However, there is one spot, Com Tam Ba Ghien (Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền), that I would re-visit, and even my parents would crave for the food (you know.. sometimes parents can be very picky).
Com Tam Ba Ghien is a well known food stall in Ho Chi Minh city, serving simple combination of a grilled pork chop over the top of a bed of broken rice. It’s one of the most common type of meals that you can see throughout the city, but no one else does it as amazing as them! (Do let me know in the comment below if you know a better spot though!)
As there are many small alleys in Saigon, sometimes it can be a bit hard to navigate, but you definitely won’t miss this one. The smokey fragrance of the pork being grilled will guide you to the spot almost without the help of the GPS!
“Com tam” is one of the most fundamental parts of the plate, meaning broken rice in English. As Vietnam is one of the world’s top rice producers, and a part of the grains of rice are broken during the rice milling process, which people put it in good use instead of throw it out. It may be the cheapest grades of rice, but it’s could be a favorite for many people.
Broken rice can be eaten just like regular rice, but most commonly served with a pork chop. The texture of the broken rice is fluffier and lighter, which perfectly contracted with the firmness of the pork chop, easier to swallow.
Ordering can be a bit of a problem sometimes, but when traveling, body language is the best language! We just pointed at the items that we want, and it only took couple of minutes for our plates to arrive.
We had the simplest form of it, which the plate consists of a big size pork chop, fried egg, and pickles on the side. The dish actually kind of resembles one of the Taiwanese street foods, roasted pork rice (燒肉飯). The meat was marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar, then grilled over the coals until just done. It has both salty and sweet taste, and the smoky flavor elevates it to the next level!
Besides the pork chop, another star of this dish has to be the egg! The egg was fried, which made the edges very crispy, yet the inside was still soft and gooey.
The egg was likely deep fried, so it was crispy surrounding the edges, and yet it was so soft and delicious and gooey on the inside. The yolk oozed out as soon as I broke the egg, and glazed the rice with golden yellow. Honestly, who can say no to eggs?
A common drink that you’ll see it everywhere throughout Vietnam (not just Ho chi minh city!) is the avocado smoothie! It’s sweetened with condensed milk, yet not too sweet. Perfect for the hot days in Vietnam.
The restaurant was pretty full and busy. There are plenty of tables for dine-in, but even more people who were just stopping by on their motorbikes to get takeaway. Not the cleanest and most glamours spot, but each bite is definitely worth the sweat. The pork chop that rested on a bed of fresh hot steamed broken rice was flavorful and juicy. A bite that consists of rice, pork, egg, and pickles was superb. All of the flavors mixed well into a perfect harmony of Vietnamese food on a single plate!
Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền
84 Đặng Văn Ngữ, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam