Com Ga Hoi An (Vietnamese Chicken Rice) is one of the signature dishes of Hoi An, a small ancient town in Central Vietnam. It features shredded chicken tossed with Vietnamese coriander, onions, and lime juice dressing. The chicken salad is then served with turmeric rice cooked directly in chicken stock. So tasty and refreshing!
Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once a busy port with merchants coming from all over Asia such as Japan and China. As a result, its regional cuisine blends cultural influences from Southeast and East Asia with Vietnamese taste.
One of the most famous dishes of Hoi An is chicken rice, which is full of flavors and textures. A plate of Hoi An chicken rice includes juicy shredded chicken, crunchy onions, refreshing Vietnamese coriander and beautiful yellow turmeric rice. The rice is so soft and flavorful since it is cooked directly in umami chicken stock.
How to Cook Vietnamese Chicken Rice (Com Ga Hoi An)
To make this delicious rice dish from scratch, you will need a whole chicken or chicken parts with bones. You will also need long grain rice (preferably Jasmine rice), onion, Vietnamese coriander (rau răm), limes, and turmeric powder.
Vietnamese coriander (also called hot mint, Vietnamese mint, laksa leaf) is an essential ingredient in this dish and it can be found at Vietnamese grocery stores. It has a bright, lemony and slightly spicy note and goes so well with chicken. If you cannot find it, you may use cilantro or maybe Thai basil, but the dish will taste a little different.
If you have time, I strongly recommend making this dish from scratch because the rice will taste the best with homemade chicken stock. Store bought stock just don’t have the same amount of flavors as well as richness from chicken fat. Any leftover stock and meat from cooking a whole chicken can be used to make Vietnamese chicken pho noodle soup (pho ga) or bun thang Hanoi noodle soup.
Cooking Vietnamese Chicken Rice (Com Ga Hoi An)
Making Com Ga Hoi An involves several steps but they are all easy and straightforward, especially if you have a rice cooker. The end result will be worth every effort! Detailed measurements and instructions are in the recipe card at the end of the post. I will just discuss some important points in this section.
The first step is to cook the chicken. Once it is fully cooked, take it out, remove the meat from the bones and then add the bones back to the stock to continue extracting flavors. Don’t overcook the meat or it will not be juicy.
Once the chicken stock is ready, we will lightly sauté the rice with oil and turmeric powder. Then transfer the rice to the rice cooker and add as much chicken stock as required by your rice cooker. Hit the start button just like how you usually cook rice with your rice cooker.
I have a Zojirushi induction pressure rice cooker which cooks rice beautifully and keeps it warm with no deterioration in taste for at least a couple of days.
While waiting for the rice, slice the onion as thinly as you can. Then soak it in iced cold water with some lime juice added for at least 15 minutes. This helps keep the onion slices white as well as remove the raw onion taste.
The dressing is super simple, just fresh lime juice, salt, black pepper and a pinch of sugar (optional) to round out the flavors. Feel free to tweak the ratio of ingredients to your liking. Toss shredded chicken, onion slices with the dressing and give it a few minutes to let the flavors meld.
Serving Vietnamese Chicken Rice (Com Ga Hoi An)
Once the rice is ready, add Vietnamese coriander leaves to the chicken salad and gently tossed. Adding Vietnamese coriander last to avoid bruising the leaves too much. Stir and fluff the rice with a spatula, then place rice and chicken salad on serving plates. Time to enjoy the fruits of your labor :)!
Traditionally, Hoi An chicken rice also has a sauce made from sautéing chicken giblets with garlic and chicken stock. It is not easy to find chicken giblets even when buying a whole chicken in Western countries so I don’t make this sauce. Instead, I serve the chicken rice with soy sauce and a bowl of hot chicken stock as soup.
This dish is also served with julienned green papaya and carrots on the side in Hoi An. You can also serve it with pickled carrots and daikon radish if you want.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Chicken Rice (Com Ga Hoi An)
Homemade Chicken Stock and Shredded Chicken for Hoi An Chicken Rice (with leftover)
- 1 whole chicken (about 2.5-3 lbs)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (optional)
- 8 cups hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-inch long piece of ginger, roughly peeled
To Assemble Hoi An Chicken Rice
- 3/4 cup long grain rice
- olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock
- half a medium onion
- 3/4 cup iced cold water
- 4 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, divided (juice of about 2 limes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided (divided)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 3/4 cups packed shredded chicken
- 3/4 cup lightly packed Vietnamese coriander leaves
- freshly cracked black pepper
- soy sauce
- bird’s eye chili, thinly sliced (optional)
- 3 small bowls of hot chicken stock
- thinly sliced scallions
Making Homemade Chicken Stock and Shredded Chicken
- In a stock pot, add plenty of boiling water then add the whole chicken and rice vinegar. Bring back to a boil and parboil for 1-2 minutes. Discard the liquid and clean the pot.
- Add the chicken back to the pot, and add ginger, a teaspoon of salt and 8-9 cups of hot water (enough to barely cover the chicken). Bring to a boil and then lower to a gentle simmer.
- Cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove the chicken from the stock and you can place it in a bowl of cold water for a couple of minutes to stop the cooking process.
- Separate the meat from the bones. Add the bones back to the stock and continue to simmer for about 40 minutes (or longer for a stronger stock if you have time). Chill the chicken meat in the refrigerator.
Making Turmeric Rice with Homemade Chicken Stock
- Once the chicken stock is ready, place a pan over medium heat and add some olive oil. Add rice and sauté for about 30 seconds then add turmeric powder. Stir and sauté until rice is evenly coated with turmeric powder.
- Transfer rice to your rice cooker pot. Add enough chicken stock you just made as indicated by the rice cooker. I need about 1 1/4 cups of chicken stock with my rice cooker. Choose the regular program you usually use to cook the rice.
Assembling Hoi An Chicken Rice
- While the rice is cooking, slice half of an onion as thinly as you can. We need about half a cup of onion slices. Soak them in 3/4 cup of iced cold water plus 2 tablespoons of lime juice and 1 1/4 teaspoons of sugar. Soak for at least 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix together 2 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to make the lime juice dressing. Tweak the ratio of ingredients to your liking.
- Take the chicken meat out of the refrigerator and shred. We need about 1 3/4 cups of shredded chicken. Mix the shredded chicken with onion slices and lime juice dressing. Set aside to let the flavors meld.
- When the rice is ready, add Vietnamese coriander leaves and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper to the shredded chicken and onion. Gently toss to combine.
- Fluff the rice with a spatula then add rice to serving plates. Top rice with the chicken salad. Serve immediately with soy sauce on the side and a small bowl of hot chicken stock as soup for each person. You can add bird’s eye chili to the soy sauce and some scallions to the soup. Taste and flavor the soup with some salt or a dash of fish sauce.