“Com nam” (a Vietnamese rice dish pressed into cylinder or sphere shape) is sold in small alleys in Hanoi by vendors. This dish is very familiar with Vietnamese people.
In the past, “com nam” was regarded as a popular meal of Vietnamese farmers. “Com nam” was quite a good lunch for them to recover their strength after a hard working morning in the field.
The dish is commonly carried by those traveling far from their homes, to unfamiliar areas without restaurants or familiar ingredients. People do not know exactly when “com nam” appeared; it may have a long history.
Nowadays, “com nam” is often sold on streets in Hanoi. “Com nam” has become a cheap but delicious rustic gift. After eating hearty dishes like vermicelli or “pho”, people often look for a small dish like “com nam” served with roasted sesame and ground nut.
“Com nam” is served with not only sesame but also other things, such as stewed fish, simmered pork or salted shredded meat. However, salted roasted sesame (and ground nut) is still the first choice.
The rice is opaque, soft and used to wrapped in a beautiful green banana leaf. However, its cover is replaced with a plastic bag or paper. The salted sesame is roasted light brown and grated, which has an appealing fragrance. “Com nam” is cut into slices and served with sesame and/or ground nut. The sweetness of rice combined with the buttery taste of sesame is so unique that cannot be found anywhere in the world.