- Now, Tan Lac Vien in Squirrel Hill has at last opened our eyes to much broader possibilities. Aside from numerous options in the tried-and-true pho and bun categories, the restaurant's menu features an entire section devoted to a class of dishes we have never even encountered before: com tam. "Com" means rice, and "tam" means broken. Broken rice? Yes: In Vietnam, damaged rice left over from the milling process is gathered, served in a mound and surrounded by heaps of proteins and vegetables. Lacking a plenteous supply of scratch-and-dent rice, American Vietnamese kitchens — or at least this one — substitute short grain.
Our knowledgeable server recommended com tam with a fried egg so that it could be broken up, Korean bibimbap style, over the rice. The yolk formed a sort of sauce that united the other ingredients — salad vegetables, pickled vegetables, pork chop and "shredded pork" — in delicious harmony.