Saigon’s Waterfall Fried Chicken (Don’t Miss This!)

By Mark Wiens 42 Comments
Vietnamese fried chicken
A plate of fried chicken and rice in Vietnam

I’ve often thought that fried chicken just might be the most universally loved food in the world.

From Africa, to Asia, to the Americas, chicken is deep fried until golden brown, served with a variety of side dishes, and the bones (and your fingers) are licked clean.

When I mentioned I was going to be taking a trip to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), one of the recommendations, I received was a restaurant called Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su.

(By the way, huge thank you to all of you who recommended this spot)

Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su
Fried chicken and rice in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam

One of the days when I went on a Saigon street food adventure, and after just having a delicious Vietnamese breakfast, I made it a point to stop by this fried chicken restaurant.

I easily recognized Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su, not by the sign (which was underneath me when I was walking along the sidewalk), but by their signature orange plastic chairs, paired with tables of the shiny stainless steel variety.

As soon as I arrived, the owner quickly greeted me, and we chose the only empty table – prime seats right at the base of the kitchen.

Saigon street food
I was immediately bathed in a steam of garlic and onions

The owner was right in the process of cooking, and when we arrived the sauce was not quite finished.

So the owner told me to hold on a few minutes while he finished making up a HUGE batch of sauce in a modified commercial mixing machine.

I’m not sure what all was in the sauce, but the steam pouring out of the pot bathed me in a bath of garlic and onions, and I watched, to the owners delight, as he dumped in a couple bottles of soy sauce, oyster sauce, perhaps hoisin sauce, and probably a few extra secret seasoning ingredients.

fried chicken in Vietnam
The chicken is first cooked, maybe 90%

The owner of Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su was an absolute character, and an incredibly friendly and nice man.

When he saw me taking photos, and a video, he was extremely jolly, and wanted to fully explain to me, in as much broken English as he could, about his commercial street food cooking inventions.

Ho Chi Minh City street food
How genius is this for a deep fryer?

Waterfall fried chicken

The most amazing part of eating at Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su is the waterfall deep frying machine that the owner informed me he created himself.

This one-of-a-kind deep fryer literally rained boiling hot oil over a piece of chicken, making the chicken golden and crispy within a few minutes.

The chicken was pre-cooked, probably about 90%, maybe just in an oven, and then for the final crispy-fying process, as soon as he would get an order, he’d grab his lengthy pair of tongs, and toss in a piece of chicken, and let it sizzle on the pouring fountain of hot oil.

Fried chicken in Vietnam
The raining, anointing the chicken

The oil was definitely not the cleanest – and I’m sure it could have done with an oil change – but as a lover of street food (one who travels for unique food experiences), this waterfall, raining deep frying machine, had me totally enthralled.

Along with the genius creation, the owner was such an incredibly jolly man, and he couldn’t have been more happy that I was so intrigued with his commercially modified hand-made street food cooking devices.

He’s literally a street food scientist.

Vietnamese food
Frying the rice in a unique pan

The rice

Along with the raining oil fried chicken machine, the owner was extremely excited to demonstrate to me the uniqueness of his stir frying machine too.

When I had arrived, he was making the sauce, the propeller on the mixer evenly stirring the garlic and onion paste effortlessly.

After the sauce was done, and the pan was washed out, he began to fry up some rice which is served with plates of fried chicken.

He sort of stir fried and let the propeller spin at the same time, stir frying that rice in a whirl of motion – again it was pretty cool – but not quite as cool as the raining fried chicken machine.

Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su
Fried chicken plate at Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su

What to order

When you arrive, you’ll be given two different choices, the leg or the wing.

I decided to go for the leg, which came as a full plate, a chicken leg and thigh attached, with a scoop of orange fried rice, a garnish of cucumbers and tomatoes, and a little side dish of his famous sauce.

Vietnamese fried rice
Orange fried rice

I’m not sure of all the ingredients that were added to the fried rice, but it wasn’t overly strong, perhaps just a bit of garlic and a little oil to make it slightly greasy.

As for the color, I’m not totally sure what that was from either – anyone know?

Vietnamese street food
Secret sauce at Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su

Like I already mentioned a little bit above, the sauce at Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su is one of the reasons why people love the fried chicken so much.

It was one of those sauces that included a little dab of this and a little dab of that, the owner taste testing along the way until it tasted perfect to him. These are the best types of sauces, you know the owner has a passion for what he’s doing and if it’s up to his taste buds, you know it’s going to be good.

The sauce was like sweet sticky garlicky barbecue sauce, with a hint of a teriyaki flavor, and a aftertaste of hoisin. I could have used some chili heat in the sauce, but other than that, it was wonderful, especially with the crispy fried chicken.

Saigon street food
Golden fried chicken in Saigon, Vietnam

The fried chicken, which had just been anointed in hot raining oil, was golden brown, crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.

It was without doubt a bit on the oily side, but it was definitely worth every bite, especially when combined with the sauce and rice.

Street food fried chicken
Using the street food “raining oil” fried chicken machine

Due to the heavy oil content and the re-used oil, I probably shouldn’t have gone for a second piece of chicken, but I was so thrilled with the friendliness of the owner and his home-made oil raining machine, that I couldn’t resist.

For my next piece of fried chicken, I decided to go with the wing this time.

I was going to take a few more photos, but he decided to invite me to test out the machine for myself, and he handed me the long tongs.

I have to admit, it felt pretty good to take a piece of chicken, stick under the waterfall of hot brown oil, and watch it slowly turn from yellow white to golden brown.

fried chicken in Saigon
Round two, I went with the wing and breast

After eating both a fried chicken leg and a fried chicken wing (with breast included), I think I came to the conclusion that the wing was best at Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su.

But then again it depends on your preference of light or dark meat.

Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su
Pennywort juice and corn milk

Drinks

When you eat at Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su you’ll notice that most people drink either a green cup of something, or a yellow milky bottle of something else.

The green drink is Asiatic pennywort juice, and the yellow milky bottle is a puree of sweet corn milk.

They are not actually sold from Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su, but rather from the shop next store, and the owner there will come by every so often to take orders from the fried chicken customers.

The sweet corn milk was actually quite good, a thick creamy corn flavored milk-shake.

Watch the video of this meal now…

Here’s the full video of this fried chicken meal, make sure you click play, so you can see that genius machine in action!

(If you can’t see the video, watch it here: http://youtu.be/8szUeopBjyw)

Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su
The outside of Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su, Saigon, Vietnam

Conclusion

Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su is a wonderfully unique street food restaurant in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), that serves a combination plate of fried chicken and rice.

Despite the fried chicken being a little on the greasy side, and the oil being a little on the dark side, the fried chicken was pretty good, and the garlicky dark soy sauce dipping sauce went extremely well with the crispy chicken.

But by far my favorite part about eating at Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su was the extremely friendly owner of the restaurant, and the unique home-made, commercially modified, street food cooking inventions that he uses to power his street food kitchen.

Have you ever seen a waterfall fried chicken machine!?

Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su

Address: 55 Tú Xương, P. 7, Quận 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Open hours: I’m not sure exactly, but for sure they are open for lunch from probably 11 am – 3 pm
Prices: 40,000 VND for a full chicken and rice plate, 33,000 VND for only chicken
How to get there: From the hotel I was staying at, it was actually just a 10 minute walk. It’s about about a 15 minute walk from Tao Dan Park in Saigon.

To see the location on the map, click on “Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ Su Su” and it should highlight the pin on the map.

42 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • đặc sản nha trang

    3 weeks ago

    It’s worth going to just to see the fryer I think! I will have to remember this one, if I ever return to Saigon.

  • Sunita

    3 years ago

    Took a taxi direct to this address, HUNGRY and this place wasn’t there! 🙁

  • Keeming

    4 years ago

    Hi Mark, I went looking for the stall earlier this morning. it has shifted to

    1067 – 1069 Hoàng Sa, P. 11, Quận 3, TP. HCM
    Quán ăn -Việt Nam

    same boss. same chicken. same great taste. (when cooked by the boss)

  • David Fincher

    4 years ago

    This place has recently moved! Tried to come here yesterday but it moved on the 9th December. Now at 1067-1069 Hoàng Sa F11 Q3, TP HCM.

  • Saigon Tours

    5 years ago

    This place is still open as of September 2016! (and still amazing!)

  • Holly

    5 years ago

    My boyfriend and I are on our first trip to Vitnam and we have been chomping at the bit to get to this chicken place! We found it today after looking at the war remnants museum and it completely lived up to expectations. The chicken was so juicy and the garlic sauce was amazing! The guys who worked there were lovely and friendly too. Thanks for posting about this place!
    Holly from NZ

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Holly, awesome to hear from you, glad you were able to eat here. Have a great trip!

  • John D

    6 years ago

    I just went to the waterfall fried chicken today. I think it’s very good, but it’s not the redunculous food I’m seeking and yet to find in Sai Gon. I’m still on the hunt!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Glad you found it John. I think for me the real highlight was the frying device and the friendly owner!

  • James Clark

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark, I finally visited here after hearing so much about it! Amazing place. Some notes:

    – Open from 10:30am to 9pm.
    – The name Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ follows the usual Vietnamese literal naming convention and it means “rice chicken pour oil over” (that was the best translation I could get). Google translates it as “Flush the Fat Chicken Rice”.
    – Apparently there are other places that cook the chicken (or duck) in that style, but it sounds like oil is manually hand-poured.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey James, glad you made it here, huge thank you for the update of information. Would love to see some manually hand-poured deep fried chicken, let me know if you find a place!

  • Zoobyn Nguyen

    6 years ago

    Hey Mark!!! I like your post (Y) Exactly the most amazing of fried chicken rice at there “CƠM GÀ XỐI MỠ SUSU”. The pinnacle of the art cooking. He’s a genius!!!!!! <3

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thank you so much, glad that you love this place, and he definitely is a genius.

  • Nam Le

    6 years ago

    This Looks great I will be in Vietnam next week and will definitely be going here. Thanks for the address 😛 and No I haven’t seen a machine that fry’s chicken like this.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Great to hear that Nam, have a nice trip to Vietnam.

  • Joy

    6 years ago

    Hey Mark, I love that food vendor, he’s a genius but my question is, wouldn’t you waste more oil using that? Cool nonetheless.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Joy, thanks for reading. That’s a good question, I have no idea, but it sure looks pretty awesome!

  • Vikki Gomes

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark:

    What an interesting article on fried chicken. One of my favourite dishes.

    The method of cooking it is amazing.

    I am new to blogging. Just started my new website on Goa, India.

    You have an amazing blog full of beautiful photos and posts.

    Thanks for the share.

    Regards.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Vikki, thank you for reading this article. Good to see your blog, keep it up!

      • Vikki Gomes

        6 years ago

        Hi Mark:

        Thanks for the reply. I have subscribed to your blog and will visit again.

        Great blog.

        Regards.

  • Jimmy Dau

    6 years ago

    Went yesterday. Mind blown.

  • Jon

    6 years ago

    Hey Mark!
    Great post once again. I loved the concept of that raining oil machine. And the chicken and rice looks delicious! I love that pennyworth drink. Back in the mid 90s, when I would visit Thailand and met a Muay Thai champion, he bought us pennyworth drinks to try and told us many fighters would drink it after a fight to help repair the body after all the abuse from the fight. After I heard that, I’ve been drinking pennyworth drinks ever since. Keep up the great work!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Jon, thank you very much, and thanks for sharing your story about pennywort juice, nice!

  • Frank

    6 years ago

    What a drool worthy meal … I don’t care how unhealthy it appears, I’d love to have that right about now!

  • Cyra | Gastronomic Nomad

    6 years ago

    That waterfall fryer is a great invention – how cool. It’s worth going to just to see the fryer I think! I will have to remember this one, if I ever return to Saigon.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks Cyra, definitely worth it for the food and the fryer experience. Hope you can eat here on your next trip.

  • MarkG

    6 years ago

    The food looks good and the methods inventive but seeing that waterfall of oil (and its colour) makes me queasy! The orange rice looks like Vietnamese Tomato Fried Rice (‘Com do’). Fried garlic and tomato paste are stirred in to the rice. Some people use tomato ketchup instead but paste is a lot better. Here is a recipe that also incorporates egg http://wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.com/2009/05/com-do-ca-chua-vietnamese-tomato-paste.html

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Mark, yah I agree, that oil could have used a change that’s for sure – but still it was so cool to see. Ah, thanks for sharing the recipe. The rice was very light on the flavor, I think I could taste a hint of garlic and the tomato paste.

  • Renuka

    6 years ago

    Interesting cooking style. Never seen this kind of chicken frying!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thank you Renuka, it was a first for me too.

  • Neil Mitchell

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark. Very intriguing post with the waterfall fried chicken!! I must say I have never seen that anywhere before, totally cool!! (It looks like the cook drained the old oil from his tractor for the dish though).
    I wanted to ask you a question about street food and getting sick. Since watching your videos and following your blogs I’ve got all excited about going to Thailand to eat mounds of tasty street food. After spending some time on various travel sites I have noticed most of them say “Don’t eat from street vendors unless you want to end up sick”. Don’t drink the water, don’t eat eggs with runny yolks, if you have soup make sure it’s boiling etc etc. On your videos I’ve watched you eat everything from tadpoles to bugs to practically everything in between. My question is did you ever get sick from eating anything in Thailand when you first lived there? I got deathly ill some years back from eating street food in Mexico and it was NOT fun. Someone reminded me that street vendors in places like Mexico and Thailand are not exactly bound by the same health regulations as regular restaurants are, so we see things like meat, seafood and eggs hanging around un- refrigerated in 33c temperatures etc etc. Do you just have a really strong stomach, or did you have to go through some kind of adjustment period when you starting eating food off the streets? I do not ask this to be a party pooper in any way, but I’m thinking certain people’s stomachs may be affected more than others depending on where you come from and how much street food you’ve eaten, so I was wondering what your thoughts were on the matter. One thing is for absolute certain though….. I get extremely hungry looking at all the tantalizing stuff on your site, so excellent work again Mark keep it up, you’re awesome!! Even that waterfall fried motor oil chicken looks great!!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Neil, thank you very much, haha yes, could really use an oil change! That’s a great question… for myself, I grew up overseas, mostly in Africa and I’ve been eating street food since I was a kid… so I personally never had any problems moving to Asia and devouring everything I saw on the streets – and I’ve never had a problem.

      I guess there’s a risk for eating food anywhere – from fancy restaurants to street food vendors – and while street food doesn’t often have regulations, I think many of the vendors take care on their own – especially with popular eateries with repeat customers – the vendors by all means don’t want to serve food that’s going to make their loyal customers sick. So one of my top tips is to go to street food stalls or vendors that are busy, and that have a continual turnaround of fresh food. All of this being said, yes, just due to a change of germs / bacteria, some people’s stomaches need some time to adjust to the local food.

      Overall, my top tips would just be to try and find street food that’s hot and fresh, hasn’t been sitting around, and go to stalls that are busy and friendly. Also, you may be careful with things like raw vegetables. I think the biggest potential of getting sick is from water that’s used to wash raw things.

      Hope this helps, I’ve been meaning to write a full post more about this.

      • Neil Mitchell

        6 years ago

        It did indeed help Mark, thank you for the excellent response. Everything you said made total sense. As you have mentioned, eating at places that are busy and have a high turnover of food is probably key. One of your other comments was very true as well….reputable street food vendors certainly don’t want to risk word getting out that people are getting sick at their stands, never good for business. Other stuff is just common sense as you have mentioned, like not drinking the water or eating stuff that has been washed in it. Based on what you have said, eating at busy places known for their quality and just being aware and perhaps a little careful should go a long way as far as a tasty holiday goes. I kind of figured based on your comments about Africa and your early eating endeavours that your stomach may be a little hardier than others. I was so hungry for tacos in Mexico that I finally broke down and ate some at a street side stand and then ended up horking for two days!! Thanks for your comments Mark, I’m now going to come to Thailand one day and eat all the tasty fare I’ve been seeing on your site, except for maybe the chicken intestine skewer I saw you trying to gag down!!

        • Mark Wiens

          6 years ago

          Thanks Neil, glad it was useful, and I think you got it spot on. Glad that you’re going to come to Thailand – let me know!