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Hot & Spicy!

  • Feb 28, 2010
Thai cuisine is known for being spicy & sour. Tom Yam is the soup that epitomizes all of that. Hot, spicy, sweet, sourish & a little salty. It's one soup that wakes you up though, no matter what time of the day you take it. 

Some of Tom Yam ingredients include lemon grass (commonly found in other Thai dishes), galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, shallots, tamarind and chili peppers. I recently had a drink made of lemon grass in Bangkok, it's refreshing and I truly love it, especially when it's served cold before a body massage! Lemon grass has a citrus flavor and great both as a drink and in soups. I love Tom Yum with prawns (known as Tom Yam Goong).

Tom Yam may be served with chicken in it too, if you much prefer chicken. Tom yum talay (Mixed seafood) is another of my favorites. 

Traditional Tom Yam soup has no noodle in it. However, I've also tried having Tom yum nam khon which has some milk & pad thai in it. That makes a really good afternoon tea meal. Interestingly enough, I tried this dish at a Thai restaurant in China instead of Thailand. 

Other than Pad Thai, Tom Yam can be considered Thai national dish as well. I have not heard of anyone going through Thailand without having tried Tom Yam and Pad Thai. It's like saying someone visiting Thailand without venturing into any temple or beach! That's truly impossible! 

Tom Yam Goong is so popular & typically Thai that is has become synonymous with Thailand. Not just as food but also in other aspect of life. There is even a Tom Yam Goong Crisis (no, not a short suppy of Tom Yam soup!) which refers to the 1997 Asian Financial crisis that originated with Thailand & spread across the entire Asia. Even a Thai martial art film has its title as "Tom Yam Goong" (released as The Protector in U.S. & Warrior King in U.K.). Additionally a Thai boxing technique has purportedly been named after it too! The same applies to video games & restaurant names! Unbelievable, isn't it?

Well, if you haven't tried this famous pot of Thai soup, you've missed out a great deal in life!
What a soup! Sensational!
Hot & Spicy! Hot & Spicy! Hot & Spicy! Hot & Spicy!

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March 01, 2010
I dig tom yam, but I prefer mine not too sweet -- I like it more sour than anything!  I always add noodles to mine even though it's not traditional ;)  Great review!
February 28, 2010
LOL! Only you can mix in a martial arts movie in a review for cuisine! TOM YUM GOONG indeed! (hey, I should review that)
February 28, 2010
You definitely should! That whole paragraph is solely for your benefit ;-) As I said, I've a diverse interest & highly versatile! ;p
More Tom Yam reviews
Quick Tip by . February 16, 2010
My favorite Thai soups, other than Thai Sharkfin Soups, that is. Hot, spicy, refreshing & totally inspiring!
About the reviewer
Sharrie ()
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I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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About this food


Tom yum (Lao: ຕົ້ມຍຳ, Thaiต้มยำIPA: [tôm ɲɑm, tôm jɑm]tom yam in the Royal Thai General System of Transcription) is a name for two similar soups originating from Laos and Thailand, respectively. The Royal Lao version includes a pinch of rice in the soup, whereas typical Lao and Thai versions do not include rice as an ingredient. Lao tom yum is relatively unknown outside of Laos, whereas Thai tom yum is perhaps one of the most famous dishes in Thai cuisine. It is widely served in neighboring countries such as Malaysia,Singapore, and Indonesia, and has been popularized around the world.

Tom yum is characterized by its distinct hot and sour flavors, with fragrant herbs generously used. The basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemon grasskaffir lime leaves, galangallime juice, fish sauce and crushed chili peppers.

In Thailand, tom yum is usually made with prawns (tom yum goong), chicken (tom yum gai), fish (tom yum pla), or mixed seafood (tom yum talay or tom yum po taek) and mushrooms - usually straw or oyster mushrooms. The soup is often topped with generous sprinkling of fresh chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves. In Laos, tom yum is typically made with fish or chicken, but freshwater prawns are also available.

The less popular variety of tom yum is tom yum nam ...

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