Grilled chicken served with com lam (rice steamed in bamboo tubes) can be said to be a distinctive dish in the Central Highlands. The combination of soft and chewy rice in bamboo tube and grilled chicken will satisfy diners‘ taste buds.
In fact, com lam (sticky rice cooked in bamboo trunk) is popular in several parts of Vietnam. However, this dish believed to be created long ago by E De ethnic people living in Don Village in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak is special.
To have a tasty com lam, sticky rice must be fresh and new. At Don Village, locals also use nep tan, a variety of sticky rice whose texture is soft and chewy after being cooked.
A good cook has to select among the best free-range chickens whose thin skin will be crispy after being grilled. The selected chicken must be grilled on medium heat to prevent it from being overcooked.
The cook at Don Village often keeps outer layer of bamboo tubes. Diners have to split the tubes to enjoy the rice inside. Add salt and sugar, pounded peanuts and sesame seeds. A tube of com lam served this way gives the unique local taste.
Chickens will be marinated with honey and other spices before being grilled. Local eateries often serve an entire chicken with a small bowl of salt and e leaves—a local herb looking like Greek basil that helps enhance the flavor of the dish.
Grilled chickens must have crispy skin and chewy flesh while glutinous rice steamed in bamboo tubes has a light gold color and soft texture.
The specialty is available in some eateries in districts 6, 2 and Phu Nhuan and Go Vap districts in Saigon.
By Lam Nhu