You will find signs for cơm tấm, broken rice, all over the streets of Saigon. From small carts with those legendary plastic red chairs to established restaurants luring you in with the sanctity of air conditioning. Either way, to find the best one the advice I got was simply “the one where you can smell the grill a block away.” Under all this scooter exhaust, I thought it would be a challenge. But no. Seriously, you can smell that goodness. No vehicular pollutant was stopping that scent of barbecued pork.
I ventured out to Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền a local favorite. You may get intimidated by the storefront or lack thereof, but once you find a seat and order you’ll soon get a plate of this wonderful traditional Vietnamese dish. The grilled pork, shredded pork, and fried egg are the typically what people get. Your server should be able to help you out. There are some English speaking servers there. If not, just point.
On the side, you’ll see what I’d like to call an open air kitchen. You get a full view of all the ingredients along with the grill master hard at work. Maybe not what you’d expect for your finer dining experience, but after all, this was street food. Well, technically, is it? You’re sitting under a roof, displaced away from the street traffic, and you get electric fans helplessly trying to dry your drenched shirt. But then there’s the common street furnishings, metal table tops, red plastic chairs, and a billing system based on what’s left on your plate. You can make the call, I’ll stick with calling it street food.
In the end, venturing out to District 10 paid off. The rice dish shops around my hotel didn’t have that home cooked feel and taste. This place however, embodies it all.
84 Đặng Văn Ngữ
Phường 10, Phú Nhuận, Hồ Chí Minh
+84 08 3846 1073
Verdict: If you love broken rice dishes as much as I do, this place is a must!