Com Nieu Saigon is often regarded as one of the most magical restaurants in Saigon and one of the best places to go to eat high quality traditional Vietnamese food. I wanted to try it for the first time on a special occasion, so Ashley and I decided to take our two amazing LanguageCorps teachers, Hien and Linh, to Com Nieu Saigon to celebrate Vietnamese teachers day, which took place a couple of weeks ago. The restaurant has been renovated in the past couple of years so the design and decor are modern and stylish. The outside of the building is enchanting and definitely supports the notion that Com Nieu Saigon is one of the most magical places in Saigon.
We decided to order dishes family style and ordered a range of different appetizers and main courses to share. The first plate to come out was a shredded chicken salad (xe phay rau ram). It was served cold and the ingredients mainly consisted of shredded chicken, thinly sliced onions, mint and cilantro. Even though I absolutely hate cilantro and pick it out of all my food, it worked so well with the rest of the dish that I didn’t mind eating it. The next two dishes served were sauted morning glory and fillet white seabass cooked in a tomato sauce (file chom sot ca). I was a huge fan of the seabass because it was the first white fish I’ve had in Vietnam that didn’t have bones in it! Let me tell you, it is hard to find boneless fish here and picking out tiny bones while you are eating is probably one of the most tedious and unattractive things you can do while eating. The fish was crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside and the tomato sauce was to die for. The last main course we ordered was casseroled shrimps in a clay pot (tom tay cam). The shrimps were cooked in a clay pot with vermicelli noodles and spicy peppers. Again, even though I can’t handle spicy food very well, I had no problem enduring the temporary pain. The shrimp was so fresh and the noodles so soft that I’d rather sleep on a bed of those noodles than the mattress I’m sleeping on now.
The last dish we ordered was com nieu, which is rice cooked in a special clay pot. The rice is ready once a hard layer forms holding the rice together. A waiter then brings the pot out into the dining room, smashes the pot, and throws the rice across the room to another waiter who repeatedly tosses the rice in the air. After all this they add some spices and serve the rice for you. It’s so fun! I was a complete tourist and took a video of it. Unfortunately, I can’t upload the video here because wordpress makes you pay to do that…LAME!!! Leave a comment or something if you want to see it and I’ll email it to you.
Here is the rice when it’s served to you.
And this is us after finishing dinner.
After dinner, Hien and Linh decided to take us to get some local dessert. The place we went to was very popular with the locals and tons of people on motorbikes made quick stops to buy bags of dessert soups to bring home. We ate there and got to witness it all. There was a range of different soups, but the one I got was very sweet and made from beans, taro and potatoes. Weird, but good!
It was such a lovely evening and I can’t wait to go back to Com Nieu Saigon. It’s a little expensive (well expensive for Vietnam, still cheap for the US) at a little under $10 per person, but sooooo worth it.
Com Nieu Saigon is located at 59 Ho Xuan Huong, District 3.