Cơm tấm, or broken rice, is a Vietnamese dish made from rice with fractured rice grains. Tấm refers to the broken rice grains, while cơm refers to cooked rice. Although there are varied names like cơm tấm Sài Gòn (Saigon-style broken rice), particularly for Saigon, the main ingredients remain the same for most cases.
|Alternative names||Broken rice|
|Place of origin||South Vietnam|
|Region or state||Saigon|
It is usually served with grilled pork (either ribs or shredded) plus the Vietnamese dish bì (thinly shredded pork mixed with cooked and thinly shredded pork skin) over broken rice. The rice and meat are served with various greens and pickled vegetables, along with a prawn paste cake, trứng hấp (steamed egg), and grilled prawns. Typically, restaurants will serve this popular combination rice plate with a small bowl of nước mắm, as well as a small bowl of soup broth (canh) with garlic chives (to cleanse the throat). The dish cơm tấm bì comes with a chả trứng egg meatloaf, which nowadays may be substituted with an omelet.
The main ingredient, broken rice, is a traditionally cheaper grade of rice produced by damage in milling. It is mainly used as a food industry ingredient in America and Europe, but in West Africa and Southeast Asia is used for human consumption. Broken rice is fragmented, not defective; there is nothing wrong with it. It is as nutritious as the equivalent unbroken rice (i.e. if all the germ and bran remains, it is as nutritious as brown rice; if none remains, it is only as nutritious as white rice).
Although chopstick is commonly used by Vietnamese, fork and spoon are used to fully enjoy cơm tấm. However, in Central and North Vietnam, people not only use fork and spoon, but also chopstick to eat this dish. Besides, the ingredient of nước mắm is different from South Vietnam since the South original sauce is too sweet for Central and Northern Vietnamese people.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cơm tấm.|
- Thanh Nien Hot Spots 5 Jan 2012 "With your craftsmanship in hand, return to Saigon for a master class in clay-pot cooking, crafting cơm tấm (broken rice), caramelized pork belly,"
- Meera Freeman The Flavours of Vietnam 2004 - Page 42 "Cơm tấm - broken rice.. 3 cups broken rice water vegetable oil (optional) Rinse the rice in plenty of cold running water until the water is clear and the rice is free of impurities. Put the washed rice in a large saucepan ..."
- Nancie McDermott Quick and Easy Vietnamese 2012 "OMELET WITH BEAN THREAD NOODLES AND PORK - chatrung - Order com tam bi in a Vietnamese café serving rice dishes, and you'll get a fabulous feast of rice along with shredded pork, peppery pork chops, and a chunk of this tasty omelet, which is called cha trung when it is served by itself..."
- ars.usda.gov Agriculture Research, May 2002