Com sen is rice (com) steamed with fresh lotus seeds (sen) and mixed with small shreds of pork. It’s served at Ngu Vien Restaurant in District 3. I’ve never seen this rice served anywhere else, but I’m sure if you look hard enough it’ll turn up somewhere else in this town. It comes wrapped in a lotus leaf, always with a lotus flower attached. It’s quite the most dainty rice dish you’re ever likely to find in Saigon. Com sen just pips my other fave rice dish from this shack Com dua, or rice cooked inside a coconut. Com dua arrives on the table in a slightly charred coconut shell. In among the rice are some finely chopped vegetables and pork, but no lotus seeds.
I don’t care for the pork in Com sen, it’s the combination of textures of the barely flavoured lotus seeds and the steamed rice that does it for me. Incredibly simple, slick to the eye and a meal in itself. I’m a bit of a heathen and I find the tiniest splash of chilli and garlic infused soy sauce in each bowl full gives this stupendous rice in a leaf dish a nice little boot out of the lilly pond.