"Broken" rice provides dinner and a show

By Bui Hong Nhung, Du LaiMarch 23, 2016 | 04:30 am PT
A combination of beaten rice and sweet and sour blood cockle salad is a great example of southern Vietnamese fare.  

Beaten rice is cooked in a clay pot

Broken rice, or com tam, is cooked in a clay pot and is a traditional favorite in southern Vietnam. In many restaurants, the preparation of the dish is also part of the entertainment. Once ready, a cook will break the clay pot with a hammer, revealing the disk-like rice cake which they will then hurl to a server across the room who skilfully catches it on a plate ready to serve.

The rice is cut into six to eight pieces, and served with fish sauce, spring onions, and white and black sesame seeds. 


Broken rice is served with fish sauce, spring onion and sesame

As an accompaniment to broken rice, try a blood cockle salad. The cockles are cleaned, chopped and mixed with coriander, spring onion, Vietnamese mint and spices.


Raw blood cockle salad

These two dishes can be found in restaurants along Tu Xuong street, in Ho Chi Minh City's District 3. The price for both ranges from VND35,000 to VND100,000.

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