Vegan Vietnamese Broken Rice

Vietnamese cuisine knows how to strike a balance between a variety of flavors: sweet, sour, salty, umami, and sometimes spicy.

A popular Vietnamese dish that successfully combines such elements is the Vietnamese Broken Rice or Cơm Tấm; a dish traditionally prepared with a variety of meat ingredients, like grilled pork, shredded pork skin, steamed pork, and egg meatloaf; which are essentially its core elements.

I know… this is not the easiest recipe to pull off given the excessive use of meat, but I don’t like to shy away from a good challenge, and did my best to find plant-based substitutes that could mimic the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of these ingredients to bring you a delicious vegan version.

To make vegan Vietnamese Broken Rice, which I’ll refer to as Cơm Tấm Chay, I’ve used soy-based “pork” slices, shredded pleurotus mushrooms, and glass noodles, which work harmoniously together to provide you with a meaty experience without the meat.

📒 Breaking Down The Ingredients

vegan broken rice

I’m not gonna lie; this recipe does have a certain degree of complexity given the use of unique plant-based alternatives that require a special set of herbs, sauces, and spices to bring out their meaty flavor.

Additionally, it’s a multi-layered recipe where you separately prepare each component so that it’s all harmoniously put together to shape the final dish. And despite the work it takes, just give it a go as it’s worth it in the end!

Here are the different components and the ingredients you’ll need:

Broken Rice

  • Broken rice
  • Water
  • Salt

The base of our dish remains true to the original recipe.

Broken rice is made from rice grains damaged during the harvesting or milling process, and it provides a unique texture to the dish.

If you’re unable to find broken rice in a supermarket or a grocery store near you, I’d suggest dropping by an Asian food store.

Vegan ‘Pork’ Slices

vegan pork slices ingredients
  • Texturized soy slices
  • Lemongrass
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Vegan oyster sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Sugar
  • Turmeric
  • Black pepper
  • Water

I’ve replaced the traditional grilled pork with vegan pork slices made from texturized soy protein (made from isolated soy protein, defatted soy flour, vital wheat gluten, and corn starch), which is something you should be able to find alongside other meat replacements in a larger supermarket, or online.

As I made this recipe in Vietnam, I used the local brand of texturized soy slices, which I doubt it can be found in the US or Europe, so you’ll have to look for an equivalent.

Given its neutral taste, this is an ingredient that needs to be marinated in a combination of different veggies, spices, and sauces to form the intended meat flavor.

Vegan ‘Pork’ Skin

ingredients for the vegan pork skin
  • Glass noodles (dried instant vermicelli)
  • Pleurotus mushrooms
  • Vegetable oil
  • Garlic
  • Sesame Oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Roasted rice flour
  • Salt

To replace pork skin I’ve used glass noodles (which I’ve split into two parts and cooked separately to obtain distinct textures), and pleurotus mushrooms.

Among all the ingredients I’ve listed, roasted rice flour might be the most difficult to find so I’d suggest checking online or going to a local Asian food store.

Scallion oil

  • Spring onions
  • Oil
  • Salt

This is a simple but essential part of the dish, made by cooking thinly sliced spring onions in oil and a sprinkle of salt. I even made a separate article for this recipe, if you’re interested.

Vegan Vietnamese dressing or dipping sauce

  • Vegan fish sauce
  • Sugar
  • Lime juice
  • Garlic
  • Chili or red pepper flakes
  • Water

This vegan-friendly Nước Chấm is made by mixing a few ingredients, namely vegan fish sauce, and I’ve to say it’s one of my favorite dressings.

Fresh toppings

  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce

To complete the dish, you can use an array of fresh and vibrant toppings— and you don’t have to exclusively stick with the ones above.

Optionally, you can add some pickled carrot and daikon, or even a vegan meatloaf made from tofu as a nod to the traditional steamed pork and egg meatloaf.

🧑🏼‍🍳 How to Make Vegan Broken Rice

Alright, with all our ingredients ready and at our fingertips, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and dive into the fun part – the cooking!

As I pointed out earlier, this recipe is cleverly broken down into five main parts. It’s like having five mini-recipes that come together to create one incredible dish. We’ll tackle each component step by step before moving on to the next.

Once we’ve prepared each part, we’ll bring it all together, like pieces of a puzzle, to create a final dish that’s as beautiful as it is tasty. So, let’s get started, shall we?

Cooking the Broken Rice

1. First, wash your rice until the water runs clear. This is a crucial step because it removes any excess starch that can make your rice clumpy.

2. Then, cook the rice with a 1:1.5 ratio of water. Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt. This simple step can make a world of difference in bringing out the flavor of the rice.

Preparing the Vegan Pork Slices

vegan pork slices being marinated

Start by soaking your texturized soy protein in water to soften it up.

In the meantime, mix up your sauce ingredients. Then, after squeezing out all the excess water, coat each vegan pork slice in the sauce and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes. If you have more time, letting it sit longer will only make it tastier.

Once your slices are well-marinated, toss them in a pan and fry until they’re golden brown. Make sure to turn them over so they cook evenly on both sides.

Making the Vegan Pork Skin Replacement

glass noodles steps

Fry about a third of your glass noodles in vegetable oil. The noodles will puff up and get a crispy texture. Once they’re done, move them to a paper-wrapped tray.

Next, cover the rest of your noodles with hot water and let them sit for about 5 minutes. Then, drain them and set them aside.

cooking mushrooms steps

In a pan, sauté your minced garlic in sesame oil. Then, add your shredded Pleurotus mushrooms and soy sauce. Cook until most of the water released from the mushrooms has evaporated.

Season your mushroom mixture with salt, sugar, and pepper. Then, add your drained noodles and stir everything together. Finally, turn off the heat and add your fried noodles and roasted rice flour.

Making the Scallion Oil

Thinly slice your spring onions (the green part).

Heat up your oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the spring onions and a pinch of salt. Stir everything around and let it cook for about 3 minutes or until the onions have softened.

Check out my recipe to see what the end result looks like.

Mixing up the Vietnamese Dipping Sauce:

In a small bowl, whisk together your vegan fish sauce (or soy sauce), lime juice, sugar, and warm water until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Stir in your minced garlic and sliced chili or red pepper flakes. Adjust the flavors to your liking—you can add more sugar for sweetness, lime juice for tanginess, or fish sauce for saltiness.

Let your sauce sit for at least 15 minutes to let all the flavors meld together. The longer it sits, the better it gets.

I also have a recipe for this sauce so you can see what it should look like.

Assembling the Dish

Finally, all you need to do is to put everything together in a dish as beautifully or as wildly as you’d like.

So it looks like the pictures, start by filling a small bowl with your cooked rice and gently press it down. Then, turn the bowl upside down on your plate to create a neat mound of rice.

Arrange your vegan pork slices and pork skin replacement next to the rice.

Add a pop of color and freshness with your garnishes. Arrange your lettuce, cucumber, and tomato slices around your plate.

Drizzle your scallion oil over the rice and vegan pork.

Finally, serve your dish with the dipping sauce in a small bowl on the side or place it right in the middle of the plate (if large enough).

There you have it, your very own homemade Vegan Vietnamese Broken Rice – Cơm Tấm Chay. Now, doesn’t that look like a feast?

Remember, the key to any great dish is tasting as you go and adjusting the flavors to suit your palate. So, feel free to tweak the recipe as you see fit. Also, have fun with it!

Cooking is all about experimenting and finding what works best for you. So, don’t be afraid to try new things and make this recipe your own.

❓Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use regular rice instead of broken rice?

While broken rice has a unique texture that’s integral to this dish, you can use regular jasmine rice as a substitute. It won’t be exactly the same, but it will still be delicious.

I can’t find Pleurotus mushrooms, what can I use instead?

Pleurotus mushrooms, also known as oyster mushrooms, have a unique flavor and texture.

If you can’t find them, you can replace them with shiitake mushrooms or even button mushrooms.

Keep in mind that the flavor and texture will be different.

What If I can’t find roasted rice flour?

If you can’t find roasted rice flour in a supermarket or an Asian food store, you could also look for it online.

If it’s not available, you may be able to make your own by toasting rice flour in a dry pan until it turns a light golden brown color.

If you can’t or don’t want to use roasted rice flour, you can also go ahead without it. To be honest, we tried this recipe without it and it was delicious nonetheless.

Can I make vegan fish sauce from scratch?

Yes, it’s possible to make vegan fish sauce at home. Although I haven’t made it (yet), you can probably make it from a variety of fermented vegetables, such as mushrooms, onions, celery, etc.

The only recipes I found online are ones from The Minimalist Baker and Feasting at Home, so feel free to check them out.

What can I use in place of vegan oyster sauce?

If vegan oyster sauce is not available, you can use mushroom sauce or mushroom stir-fry sauce as a substitute.

These sauces can mimic the savory and slightly sweet flavor of oyster sauce and are usually available in Asian grocery stores or online.

Additionally, a mixture of soy sauce and hoisin sauce can also serve as a suitable replacement.

I’m gluten intolerant, can I still make this recipe?

Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free. Make sure to use a gluten-free soy sauce and check that your other ingredients, like the vegan pork slices and vegan fish sauce, are also gluten-free.

It often happens that vegan fish sauce is made with soy sauce, and that could be a problem.

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vegan broken rice

Vegan Vietnamese Broken Rice

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  • Author: Cláudia Reis
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 people 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This is a vegan spin on the classic Vietnamese dish, Cơm Tấm. The recipe features a combination of flavorful components including marinated vegan pork slices, a vegan pork skin replacement made from glass noodles and mushrooms, aromatic scallion oil, and a tangy Vietnamese dipping sauce.


Units Scale

Broken rice

  • 1 cup broken rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pinch of salt

Vegan pork slices

  • 12 texturized soy protein slices
  • 1 lemongrass stem (minced)
  • 23 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 small shallots (minced)
  • 1 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp water

Vegan pork skin replacement

  • 4 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 50 grams glass noodles
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 150 grams Pleurotus mushrooms (shredded)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsps roasted rice flour
  • boiling water (just a little bit)
  • salt to taste

Scallion oil

  • 1/2 cup scallion (sliced round and thin)
  • 3 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch of salt

Vegan Vietnamese dipping sauce

  • 4 tbsps warm water
  • 2 tbsps vegan fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 chili pepper or red pepper flakes (sliced round and thin)


  • Lettuce (whole leaves or thin slices)
  • Cucumber (sliced)
  • Tomato (sliced)
  • picked carrot and daikon (optional)
  • tofu loaf (optional)


Broken rice

  1. Rinse 1 cup of broken rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. In a pot, combine the rinsed rice, 1 1/2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the water evaporates.

Vegan pork slices

  1. Soak the texturized soy protein or vegan pork slices in water to soften for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, combine minced lemongrass, minced garlic, minced shallots, vegan oyster sauce, soy sauce, oil, sugar, turmeric, black pepper, and water to create the marinade.
  3. Squeeze out the water from the softened vegan pork slices and marinate them in the sauce for at least another 30 minutes.
  4. Fry the marinated vegan pork slices in a pan until golden brown on both sides.

Vegan pork skin replacement

  1. Heat oil in a pan and fry 1/3 of the glass noodles until crispy, then set aside. Once the oil is hot, it will fry instantly.
  2. Soak the remaining glass noodles in hot water for about 5 minutes, then drain.
  3. In a pan, sauté minced garlic in sesame oil.
  4. Add shredded Pleurotus mushrooms and soy sauce to the pan and cook until most of the water evaporates.
  5. Season the mushroom mixture with salt, sugar, and black pepper, then cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the drained glass noodles to the pan, mix well, and turn off the heat.
  7. Mix in the fried noodles and roasted rice powder.

Scallion oil

  1. Thinly slice the spring onions (green part).
  2. Heat oil in a pan, then add the sliced spring onions and a pinch of salt.
  3. Cook until the spring onions have softened (about 3 minutes).

Vegan Vietnamese dipping sauce

  1. In a bowl, combine warm water, vegan fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add minced garlic and chili or red pepper flakes to the bowl, then mix well.
  3. Allow the sauce to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Assembling the ingredients

  1. Fill a small bowl with cooked rice, press it gently, then invert the bowl onto a plate.
  2. Arrange the vegan pork slices and skin replacement on the plate next to the rice.
  3. Garnish the plate with lettuce, cucumber, tomato slices, and other toppings of your choosing.
  4. Drizzle scallion oil over the rice and vegan pork.
  5. Serve the dish with the Vietnamese dipping sauce on the side or in the middle of the plate (if it fits).
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese

🙏🏻 Before you go, I’ve got a favor to ask!

I’d love to get your feedback on this recipe! Feel free to leave a comment below detailing your experience— and let others know how you feel about it!

Of course, you can also ask any questions you may have about the recipe— and we’ll try to respond ASAP.

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