Tom Yum Soup

by Dr. David

Tom Yum Soup , Tom Yum is one of the most popular soups in Thailand, and possibly the most popular one of them all. Actually, it’s hard to imagine the Thai kitchen without it, as the soup became famous across the world and even won the 8th place in CNN’s contest for the 50 most delicious foods in the world.

The phrase  consists of the word ‘Tom’ – which refers to the boiling process, and the word ‘Yum’, which generally describes sour/spicy salads, so that when combined – the phrase means sour/spicy soup.

The soup ingredients include: lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, galangal (a specific type of ginger), mushrooms, lemon juice, fish sauce and chili. It is possible to prepare the dish with shrimps, fish, chicken or seafood mix. In the past, the Tom yum pla (fish) was the most common type, yet as tourist flow increased, the Tom yum goong became the most popular, among both locals and tourists in Thailand.

Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum Soup

You should keep in mind that Tom yum goong is served in two variations: Tom yum gooong nam khon with extra coconut ‘flesh’ and milk, the most popular kind among tourists, and Tom yum goong nam sy, which is ‘clear’, without coconut milk. Usually, when locals are dining, the waitress will ask which type they prefer, but when tourists are concerned, she will probably bring what she thinks is best, though in most cases, it’ll be the soup with extra coconut. If you’d like to have a certain variation, simply state it when ordering, or type the Thai dish name and show the waitress.





The  served in two types of kitchenware – ordinary bowls or designated metal plates, with a burning fire that keeps the dish warm throughout the meal. In terms of the soup spiciness – when authentic restaurants which typically serve locals are concerned, the will be rather spicy (in my mind, it is the third in line of the spiciest dishes in the Thai kitchen). In tourist areas, it’ll be less spicy to begin with (yet it can still be too hot for some, who are unaccustomed to such flavors). You can always tell the waitress you’d like a non-spicy dish – behold the phrase list below and you will know just what to say.

Phrase List

Tom Yum goong nam khon –

Tom Yum goong nam sy – Tom Yum Scrimps Soup without Coconut milk – ต้มยำกุ้งน้ำใส

Tom Yum gai – Tom Yum Chicken Soup – ต้มยำไก่ (not to be confused with Tom Ka Gai, which is an entirely different soup)

Tom Yum pla – Tom Yum Fish Soup – ต้มยำปลา

Tom Yum tale – Tom Yum Seafood Soup – ต้มยำทะเล

Nam khon – with coconut – น้ำข้น

Mai pet – not spicy – ไม้เผ็ด

Bon appetit!

For those who are interested – you can visit the recipe page and make a delicious, 

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