Chicken rice is one of those simple dishes that done well is amazing, poorly…
The version this occasion was not one of the finest, but still perfectly enjoyable. Com Ga involves poached chicken, scented with a faint amount of cinnamon and star anise, rice cooked in the resulting chicken stock, shredded carrot and green papaya tossed with a little sugar and fish sauce, some Vietnamese mint, and a few other paddy herbs.
The chicken is torn, and the skin shredded. It is placed on top of a pile of the fragrant rice, the leaves and papaya mixture are placed nearby. A bowl of the accompanying stock is served with it, and is used to moisten the rice as it is mixed together and eaten. A mouthful of stock is taken between mouthfuls of rice as a flavour boost.
Often chicken rice is served with a chilli paste, one I’ve not seen elsewhere, I call it the Hoi An chilli. It is so very good, a sweet thick chilli paste filled with seeds and generally chilli awesomeness.