Originally born in Southern Vietnam, cơm tấm is a common and popular dish to be found and enjoyed all over the country. Com tam is a fabulous local Vietnamese dish to try while you’re in Vietnam. I have been to one of the most famous com tam restaurants in Hanoi. So I’d like to introduce this restaurant to all the foodies coming to Hanoi!
What is Com Tam?
Cơm means cooked rice and tấm means broken. The dish is called broken rice because the grains used are fractured during the process of milling or sieving.
Broken rice was mainly used to feed animals since it’s a lower grade of rice. However, according to a Vietnamese writer, Son Nam, it was also consumed by people mostly of the lower class in Vietnam in the past. But because of its unique texture, it has evolved and become one of many common and speciality dishes in Vietnam enjoyed throughout the country.
Commonly, com tam is enjoyed with pork ribs. And thus the usual name is com tam suon, which means com tam with ribs. On the side, it is often accompanied with green vegetable pickles, bì (shredded pork skin), omelet or fried egg etc.
Com Tam 36, Hanoi
During my travel in the south where com tam was born, I have not had the chance to try this dish. So instead, I tried com tam in several different places in Hanoi. One of the restaurants I have been to for this dish is Com Tam 36. I found this restaurant from local media sources recommending it to be one of the best in town.
It is located on a street in Old Quarter, Hanoi. The ground floor is for kitchen and reception for payments. And the seats are upstairs. I loved this old building and how it’s like a local home transformed into a restaurant. And the atmosphere is very down to earth, which is the kind of dining experience I love.
Com Tam Menus
The main and most classic choice is cơm sườn (pork ribs). But there are also cơm đùi gà (chicken thigh), cơm thịt kho (braised pork) and cơm thịt heo quay om (marinated roasted pork). For the sides, you can add bì (shredded pork skin), trứng (fried egg), chả (Vietnamese sausage).
For the rice itself, you can choose between white rice and brown rice. Since I had only tried white com tam before, I went for the brown com tam. And I ordered pork ribs with bi and fried egg.
When I was served my plate of com tam suon, I was super pleased with the visual of it. Firstly, the brown rice looked more special compared to white rice. Secondly, the grilled pork ribs looked and smelled so yum. And the pork ribs were juicy, tender and perfectly seasoned.
Texture wise, I was happy with the rice here. From my experiences in some other com tam restaurants in Hanoi, the texture of the broken rice in most places wasn’t so satisfying. I have also tried home cooked com tam with 100% broken rice. It is much more grainy than normal rice and definitely noticeably unique. And the rice in Com Tam 36 was quite grainy and sticky, which I really enjoyed.
The main ingredient, com tam was certainly the best I have tried so far in restaurants in Hanoi. Also, since the restaurant has several other options of meat, you’ll have a good range of choices. Like in the picture above, if you go in a group of two or more, you can have a feast of all the dishes!
Com tam is a perfect local meal for foodies to try. If you want to try com tam in Hanoi, I highly recommend Com Tam 36!
Com Tam 36
Address: 17 Ngõ Gạch, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: 10:30 – 14:00 & 17:30 – 21:00
Facebook Page: Com Tam 36
On the same street as Com Tam 36 and just about few metres from there is my favourite chicken feet BBQ restaurant. So check out this post if you want to try the awesome chicken BBQ and the best grilled honey banh my in Hanoi!