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Bone basics

nan-com-bin-dan-spread

Com binh dan restaurants are like Vietnamese greasy spoon shacks without the bacon, sausage, black pudding, fried egg or litres of lard. 'Food for workers' is how I think Com binh dan translates. Cheap eats all day long, offering a range of meat, fish and veggie dishes normally displayed in a glass case shack front. You choose your 'main' and it comes along with rice and a soup. I very nearly didn't bother stopping at this one at 36 Nguyen An Ninh in District 1 as the dishes didn't look that interesting. The one I was planning to try, just around the corner a wee bit, was ramming and I wasn't gonna stand and scoff or takeaway. There's a couple of tables out front at No. 36, most folk slip inside, I went al fresco.

nan-com-binh-dan-fish-close

I ended up with a cold deep-fried sprat with more bone than meat together with a nuoc mam (fish sauce) dip. Com trang (Plain rice) and cucumber plus a gelatinous, sweet Canh (soup) with malabar spinach. It's basic. And for 7,000VD I wasn't expecting crack cuisine. What I did get was functional food in the open air that topped the tank up and sent me on my way. As Com binh dan go, this was below average. However, it's worth sniffin' around the locale, there are better and more popular restaurants although you might have to scoff standing. No. 36 also sells a Lau De (Goat hotpot) for 20,000VD, Bun Cha Ca and Banh Canh Cha Ca for 5,000VD and a Hu Tiu for 10,000VD.

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Comments

Noodle pie,

What kind of fish is this exactly? I think you're right about the fish though. It doesn't seem like there is much meat on it. Did you feel hungry afterwards? Or did you eat all the rice to fill yourself up? I probably would have eaten a third of the rice, and felt hungry afterwards.

I think the latin name for this sprat is notalotofmeaticus. I didn't eat all the rice, I was still hungry. I went to another place... more soon.

that fish looks terrifying

Cynthia - you need to get out more. This is a scary fish.

pieman, the link to the ugly pix doesn't work. it just links to a fat, ugly guy.

Hi, I'm a Vietnamese studying abroad in Singapore. I find this blog really interesting, particularly because I can learn to describe Vietnamese dishes in English. Also, getting to know how foreigners think about us this informally is only possible through the Internet and blogging.
As for the name of the fish, I have not known the English name yet. But I'd check out for you. :-)
Just being curious: staying so long in Vietnam, you should have come across "cơm tấm", but so far there's no mentioning it. It is a popular breakfast for workers as well as students. You should check it out! ^_^

Thanks :0 I have tried Com Tam and a few folk have mentioned it in the comments as far as I remember, but I never did get around to actually blogging it for some strange reason. I'll make sure I do as and when I get back to Vietnam. Cheers.

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