Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam

Cơm Tấm Cali (Parkson Saigon Tourist)

35 Bis Lê Thánh Tôn, D. 1 Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam (08) 3827 7636
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This is one of the branches of Cơm Tấm Cali

Cơm Tấm Cali is a restaurant chain serving the Vietnamese dish Cơm Tấm and related food in Ho Chi Minh City. Cơm Tấm is broken rice normally served with a pork chop, a fried egg, egg cake and a sauce made with fish sauce, lime and chili.

Cơm Tấm Cali
Cơm Tấm Cali
Cơm Tấm Cali

Broken heart

Reviewed on 2014-06-13 (Updated on 2016-02-18)

Sorry for the melodramatic pun for a headline, but it sums up the experience pretty accurate. I intended to go to Cơm Tấm Cali several times in the past weeks, but the first time I forgot the name, the second time I met friends on the way and they dragged me off somewhere else and the third time it was packed full at lunch time.

I had higher expectations at the food quality than I usually have when I think of a fast food chain, especially because I have seen it so full of people. Hence the broken heart.

Broken rice is what the name says, the rice corns are broken in half and you can eat your rice with different flavoursome stuff. I ordered my broken rice with shrimps, wrapped in bean curd. Even if it did not taste all too bad, the "shrimps" (which were no shrimps, but two of those meat cakes that taste vaguely like shrimps if you believe in it strong enough), left a spill of fat from the deep fryer on the plate. However, they went perfectly well with the croutons on the rice. How so?

Well, up to now I did not think that any chef in the entire world would even dream of making croutons in the deep fat fryer, but here Cơm Tấm Cali apparently does pioneer work.

After lunch I had a sweet banana & coconut, stuff for dessert, and to be honest - it did not taste good. And then they added 10% tax on the bill and wanted to charge the wet towel as well. You know how I feel about this nonsense, even if my Singaporean friend was quite astonished about this pet peeve of mine.

Two good things to say about the place though: The interior is scuffed, but it has a nice, welcoming colour scheme to it. And the staff is nice too.

But even so, it is definitely worth to walk the extra five minutes to the backpacker's area and get a meal at a proper restaurant instead.