Cơm tấm means ‘broken rice’. During the process of harvesting and transporting rice the grains are often damaged. In the past, these fractured grains were difficult to sell because most people preferred to eat the long, whole grain rice. With their broken rice unsold farmers traditionally used it as animal feed. However, food is rarely wasted in Vietnam and at some point farmers and poor families (who could afford the broken grain because it was cheaper) began to cook it for their own consumption.
No one can refuse the good smell coming from the street side. You also see broken rice is served in typically restaurant; they will serve a small bowl of sauce and a small bowl of soup broth or vegetable with this popular dish.
The reason why the dish is popular in daily life of local residents because of its simplicity to cook using fractured rice grain. This kind of rice is very cheap in Vietnam; even sellers can rub rice till it getting broken. This makes Vietnamese Broken Rice is quite different from Vietnamese meals prepared with normal rice. It is usually served with grilled pork (either ribs or shredded) plus a Vietnamese dish called thinly shredded pork skin over broken rice.
Grilled pork is considered as one of main elements creates an interesting plate of Vietnamese Broken Rice. Meat is often blended with sugar, salt, mononatriglutamat, garlic, onion…. Some people add soy sauce or sesame oil when grilling meat to make wonderful smell and saffron color. Essentially, Vietnamese like to eat grilled foods. The rice and meat are served with various vegetable pickles, along with, omelet or grilled chopped meat.
Some Popular Vietnamese Broken Rice in Vietnam:
Vietnamese Broken Rice served with Grilled Pork (Cơm sườn )
Vietnamese Broken Rice served with Shredded Pork Skin (Cơm tấm sườn bì)
Vietnamese Broken Rice served with Egg (Cơm tấm sườn trứng)
Process of making Grilled Pork Chop: 3 slices of Pork Chop, 2 table spoons honey, 1 tea spoon salt, 1 table spoon fish sauce, 1 tea spoon oyster Oil, 1 tea spoon sesame oil, spring onion and pepper.
Process of making Bì (Pork skin): 400gr Pork meat of the rump, 200gr skin of pork, ½ bowl of sticky rice, salt, sugar, pepper, garlic, fish sauce
Process of making Steamed Pork and Egg Custard: 4 eggs, 1/3 bowl of grinded pork, 1-2 pinches of Chinese vermicelli, ¼ onion, some peziza, sugar, pepper, salt, fish sauce and fried onion.
Chili, Sugar, Garlic, Vinegar, Olive Oil, Spring Onion, Carrot, Salt, Turnip (Optional), Cucumber and Tomato.
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