Thai Food: Tom Yam Soup

Tom Yam Soup with Prawns from Thailand
Tom Yam soup with prawns from Thailand
Tom Yam soup with prawns from Thailand

Tom Yam or Tom Yum? Either way it’s very tasty

No visit to Thailand should be marked complete without tasting some Tom yum soup. I’m not a great fan of Thai food and I’m soup lover at all. But credit where credit is due Tom Yum soup is one of the most delicious soups in the world!

The real key to Tom yam is finding a place that serves a wholesome bowl full of the special ingredients that make this soup so good.

What is Tom yum soup?

Tom yum soup is a spicy sour flavorsome soup from both Thailand and Laos. It’s known locally as tom yam meaning “boiling” and “spicy salad”. In Malaysia and Singapore it’s known more by the name tom yum. So I guess we’ll refer to it as tom yam for Thailand!

The main ingredients for the broth are lemongrass, lime leaves and lime juice, fish sauce along with crushed chili peppers. Tourist versions of this soup often come with added coconut milk.

Tom Yam soup with chicken and coconut milk
Tom Yam soup with chicken and coconut milk … very tasty!

After the broth is made tom yam often has meat added in the form of either chicken, pork, beef or shrimp. Depending on the meat and the style of cooking the name of the soup changes.

  • Tom yam thal – seafood
  • Tom yam kai – chicken
  • Tom yam nam khon – prawns with coconut milk

Where to find good tom yam soup in Bangkok?

I’ve only ever discovered two very good places to get good tom yam soup everyday in Bangkok as opposed to random good days and so so days. The first is at 311 cafe near the Hua Lamphong railway station – they don’t spare the prawns! The second is at MBK’s food island vendor number C9 – a big bowl of flavor here.

Elsewhere it’s really hard to go wrong with tom yam soup. The worst are simple the ones that don’t add much meat. The flavour and soup are great though.

With that in mind you’ll soon find your own favorite place!

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18 Replies to “Thai Food: Tom Yam Soup”

  1. I loved Tom Yum when I was in Thailand. Some of it was a little spicy but it was my favorite.

  2. It’s great to have all these posts and see what we are going to be eating soon!!

  3. Do you have any idea if the Tom Yum we can buy in a supermarket has the same taste as the one you get in Thailand? We have Thai friends and I was thinking of trying to cook it!

    1. Hi Sara, I’m not sure what country you are writing from so it’s hard to tell. What I do know is that it seems the key ingredient is lemongrass. If you buy a Tom Yam soup in a supermarket you might try supplementing it with fresh lemongrass. And, maybe some coconut milk.

  4. I’ve never seen this before. I only hear Thai food reviews saying how great Thai food is. I like how you wrote you don’t really like Thai food. It’s nice to get such an unbiased opinion about this.

  5. Good description from what I remember Dave. My favorite was the jumbo shrimp version. And by jumbo I mean JUMBO. Thanks for the memory!

  6. Looks delicious. Question? Why are there chopsticks on the bowl when it’s soup? :)

  7. Tom Yum is a seafood lover’s dream … Thailand has so much to offer the traveling foodie!

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