This Vietnamese meal is No. 24 in our 100 Days/100 Dishes series.
When in Northern California, you judge a Vietnamese café by its pho. In New York, the pho is generally substandard, and it’s the omnibus over-rice dishes that constitute the bellwether. Despite its name, Thai Son is not a Siamese restaurant, but a Vietnamese one, on Baxter Street facing the police lockup long known as the Tombs.
Com Suon Bi Cha is one of those over-rice farragoes. In this case, the toppings, running from midnight and going clockwise, include shredded pig skin, sliced cukes, crab-pork omelet, ripe tomatoes, and a pair of razor-thin, bone-on pork chops flame grilled and then painted with a sweet fish-sauce glaze. The fish-sauce vinegar that can be used as a dipping sauce or a pour-over is depicted in the upper-left-hand corner of the photo.
The beauty of this dish lies in the diversity of textures, rich loamy flavors, and abundance of broken rice. Squirt on the sriracha!
89 Baxter Street
100 Days/100 Dishes is an almost-random alphabetical collection of delicious dishes from around the five boroughs. See the entire series so far.
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