I found out about com tam many years ago when a friend of mine brought me for my first sampling of broken rice dishes. I was blown away by how huge the portions are and how tasty the toppings were. There are a few restaurants in Lil Saigon specializing in com tam and these are the ones you should be enjoying com tam at…. other restaurants which offer com tam on their menu may not be the best way to get a feel for how delicious this can be.
Com Tam Tran Qui Cap is one of my favorite places to go to. Here, they don’t mess around at all when they bring out your meal. I generally opt for one of the combo meals because it gives you a really good idea of all the different toppings the restaurant has to offer. The #1, #2 (pictured right) and #3 combos are the way to go and the only thing different on all three plates is the meat portion — grilled pork, pork chop or pickled pork — other than that, all the other toppings are the same.
You start with a bowl of complimentary soup (pictured left) which they will give you — I like mine scorching hot so I usually decline until I’m ready to have it, otherwise, the soup will be lukewarm and there is nothing worse than having warm soup. Generally the soup is a light clear broth with vegetables in it, more often than not, it is with mustard greens.
The other toppings on the com tam combos included barbecue shrimp, egg cake, shrimp roll, pork skin and of course, your choice of one of the meats I previously mentioned. Other com tam places might offer a slightly different selection of toppings, some place with more, some less, but overall, toppings are pretty much similar across the board. This restaurant also offers banh hoi (similar toppings but with rice stick noodles) or bun (rice vermecelli) if you’re not wanting the broken rice.
Com Tam Tran Qui Cap, 10522 McFadden Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92843. Tel: 714-839-3069