Superhero TV star Noboru Kaneko tries Saigon’s broken rice


In a delightful culinary escapade that transcends borders, Noboru Kaneko, renowned for his portrayal of Gao Red in the beloved 2001 Japanese superhero series “Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger,” embarked on a flavorsome journey through the vibrant streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Drawing attention to a cherished local favorite, com tam (broken rice), Kaneko’s gastronomic adventure has left an indelible mark on Saigon’s culinary scene.

A Superhero’s Encounter with Saigon’s Cuisine

On a fateful day in July, Noboru Kaneko, celebrated for his on-screen heroics, ventured into the heart of District 5, Saigon. His destination was the Sa Bi Chuong restaurant, a hidden gem known for its delectable offerings. With an air of intrigue, Kaneko and his crew reserved a table, setting the stage for a culinary experience that would bridge cultures.

Savoring the Delights: A Culinary Exploration

As the table was adorned with a spread of com tam, Kaneko’s taste buds embarked on a journey of discovery. This quintessential Vietnamese dish, characterized by broken rice adorned with a medley of flavors, beckoned him to indulge. The aroma of grilled pork, the delicate textures of bi (shredded pork skin), and the savory notes of cha (Vietnamese meatloaf) intertwined to create a symphony of taste.

A Taste That Speaks Volumes

Upon savoring the sumptuous ribs, Kaneko’s appreciation resonated through a single word: “oishii.” This Japanese term, translating to “delicious,” encapsulated his sentiments as he relished each bite of the exquisite com tam. The convergence of cultures, embodied in a plate of broken rice, showcased the universality of culinary delight.

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Com Tam: A Morning Tradition

Com tam, with its roots deeply embedded in the culture of Ho Chi Minh City and southern provinces, is a breakfast staple that resonates with locals and visitors alike. The dish’s simplicity is enriched by pickled vegetables such as daikon radish and carrot, elevating the flavors to new heights. A traditional serving of com tam is accompanied by the rich interplay of grilled pork, bi, and cha, forming a harmonious ensemble of taste and texture.

A Culinary Journey Documented

Noboru Kaneko’s culinary voyage extended beyond the walls of Sa Bi Chuong restaurant. In 2019, com tam garnered the spotlight as it was featured in the Netflix documentary series “Street Food: Asia.” This recognition further solidified the dish’s status as a quintessential Vietnamese culinary treasure.

Revisiting Vietnam’s Charms

Kaneko’s recent visit to Ho Chi Minh City marked his second venture into the country’s vibrant embrace. The 48-year-old Japanese star arrived at Tan Son Nhat Airport, rekindling his connection with Vietnam. Notably, his previous trip in October had taken him to Hanoi, a journey shared with Takeru Shibaki, who portrayed Gao Blue in the Japanese series.

A Familiar Presence in Unlikely Places

Fans of Noboru Kaneko’s superhero endeavors may find a surprising connection to the English-speaking world. Footage from “Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger” found its way into the 2002 American series “Power Rangers Wild Force,” endowing the series with a touch of cross-cultural familiarity.

Conclusion: A Culinary Tapestry Woven

Noboru Kaneko’s rendezvous with Saigon’s broken rice unfolds as a tale of culinary curiosity and cultural convergence. Through his palate, he has traversed continents, uniting flavors and traditions in a symphony of taste. As his journey continues to inspire and delight, Kaneko’s exploration of com tam stands as a testament to the power of food in transcending boundaries.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Who is Noboru Kaneko? Noboru Kaneko is a Japanese actor renowned for his role as Gao Red in the superhero series “Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger.”

2. Where did Noboru Kaneko try com tam (broken rice)? Noboru Kaneko savored com tam at Sa Bi Chuong restaurant in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.

3. What is com tam (broken rice)? Com tam is a traditional Vietnamese dish featuring broken rice paired with grilled pork, bi (shredded pork skin), and cha (Vietnamese meatloaf).

4. What does “oishii” mean? “Oishii” is a Japanese term that translates to “delicious,” expressing Noboru Kaneko’s appreciation for the flavors of com tam.

5. How was com tam featured in popular culture? Com tam gained recognition through its appearance in the Netflix documentary series “Street Food: Asia,” further highlighting its significance in Vietnamese cuisine.