Tom Saap

 Namprik ( chili sauce or relish )

Truely Thai dipping experienced  

Namprik” Thai people have eaten since the Ayutthaya period.

Chili paste is an easy menu to make. It has been in Thai families for a long time. It is popular in households all over the country from the past to the present. Thailand has many different chili paste menus. Each region has a different way of doing things. The taste is different.

On days when you don’t want to eat very heavy food. Have a bowl of delicious chili dipping paste. A plate of fresh, crisp vegetables. Some people have fried mackerel as well. Eating it with hot steamed rice can make one day a happy one. In the simplicity of chili paste But it’s full of delicious, mellow flavor. It’s also good for health. But have you ever wondered? I see Thai people eating chili sauce widely. What is its origin? Since when have Thai people been eating chili sauce?

The Royal Institute Dictionary, year 2011, the definition of the word “nam prik” is found to be food that is mainly prepared with chili peppers and shrimp paste, used as a dipping sauce or mixed with rice to eat. Therefore, it can be concluded that The name of the chili sauce must be chili sauce. Put shrimp paste like that.

The interesting thing about it is The two things are mixed together to make chili sauce. There are many different origins. Therefore, it is considered a combination of bodies to create a new and interesting flavor because chili is the spice that gives this spiciness. It is not a native plant of Thailand. But it has its origins in the Americas. Before later it was brought to be planted in Spain. In Europe by the troupe of Christopher Columbus, a famous navigator who traveled far in search of spices, which at that time was considered more valuable than gold.

It is recorded that Peter Mathil was a crew member of Columbus. He had brought chili back with him, so this man was considered an important person. That makes chili widespread throughout the world. Because as we know today, people all over the world know how to eat chili. Thai people also like it. This can be seen from many spicy dishes that always have chili as an important ingredient.

But before coming to Thailand Chili peppers first came to Asia in India. Then gradually came to our house during the Ayutthaya period. Through the importation of the Portuguese who came to trade by boat. There is no clear record of when he entered. As far as we know during the reign of King Narai the Great As we have seen in the Buppesanniwat drama. At that time, Thai people were already eating chilli. Mother Karaket also knows how to make chili paste.

As for shrimp paste, it is truly considered a local food of Southeast Asia. Shrimp paste is made from pickling shrimp. It is a way of preserving food in order to keep it for eating for a long time. In this region, shrimp paste is commonly eaten. Thailand too It’s not clear since when it was popular. But I guess it came before the chili. Because if you look at the status of shrimp paste, it is local. As for chili, it is a foreign product that only came to Thailand later.

Origin of shrimp paste Presumably from the Malay Peninsula and southern Thailand. before spreading to neighboring island countries Nowadays, if you travel anywhere in the region, you can buy all sorts of shrimp paste. Shrimp paste in Malay is called Belacan, Indonesian is called Terasi, and Burmese is called Ngapi, which is similar to the Thai name” Gapi” for shrimp paste. At Thai Cooking Class in Khao Lak we do use most Kapi or shrimp paste for the traditional curry call Chuchi Curry with fish. Which you can visit our recipe on our website on the recipe page.

Both of these When put together, it becomes chili paste. They go together well and are delicious. Don’t tell anyone. Like a pair of stars and the moon that have to come together. I’ve seen some recipes that use other things instead of shrimp paste, but it doesn’t matter. But what is truly original is indispensable. It’s chili and shrimp paste.


 Thai people have eaten chili sauce since the Ayutthaya period.

Important evidence that can confirm that Thai people have been eating chili sauce since the Ayutthaya period, including the records of La Loubert. who was an ambassador from France who came to develop friendly relations with Thailand during the reign of King Narai the Great, by La Loubert, recorded a type of food It looks like a dipping sauce. “Their dipping sauce is very simple. Use a little water with spices, garlic bulbs, onions, and vegetables with a good smell, such as basil. They like to consume a kind of liquid dipping sauce. similar to mustard Contains rotten krill because it was not fermented properly. It’s called shrimp paste.”


Krit Lualamai, an archaeologist who is interested in studying Thai food. He gave his opinion about this record saying: What La Loubert saw It is shrimp paste chili sauce. For this reason, it can be concluded that Thai people have been eating chili paste since the Ayutthaya period. and continue this culture until the present day This is based on the oldest principles discovered today.

Explore chili pastes from different regions of Thailand. There are many types of chili paste in Thailand, each with different characteristics, ingredients, and cooking methods. With the food culture of the people in each region, Nam Prik has been made from the beginning using only shrimp paste. And chili is the mainstay of the menu that has been transformed into many new forms. Isaan people like to eat fermented fish, so they have fermented fish chili paste. As for southern people, they have seafood, so they have shrimp paste, etc.

the North region

Nam Prik Noom  (Noom chili sauce)


It is a local menu of the Lanna people. Many people have the opportunity to travel to the northern region and must not miss out on buying some as souvenirs. Nam Prik Noom eaten with crispy pork rinds goes very well together.

Nam Prik Noom is unique in that it uses “Noom Prik”, which is fresh chili peppers that are not yet fully matured. is an important ingredient In addition, there are shallots and garlic, which must be grilled before use. Then pound it and season it. When finished, you will have a thick chili paste.

Nam Prik Ong ( Ong chili sauce )


Another delicious dish of the northern people, the word ‘Ong’ is a local dialect meaning a method of cooking chili paste that requires stir-frying and leaving it to let the water gradually reduce. The highlight of Nam Prik Ong is the addition of sour eggplant (tomatoes) and bean curd into the paste. These two are considered local ingredients in the food of the northern people. Because if you try to explore other menus, you will find that Eggplant and orange are added. and many more rotten beans, such as Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao and Khao Som This rotten bean, if we can clearly see the picture, it is like MSG in the northern people.

Nam Prik Ong has a sweet and sour taste and is easy to eat. It is usually added to meat as well, such as ground pork  But in the past, the era when pigs were still rare and expensive. I will put snakehead fish meat instead. It goes well with fresh vegetables or pork rinds as well.


Central region

Nam prik kapi  (Shrimp paste chili sauce)



If talking about the word chili paste Many people think of shrimp paste chili sauce first. This shrimp paste chili paste It has a long history as a form of chili paste that has been passed down for a long time since the Ayutthaya period as the capital. As a teacher at Pakinnaka’s Khao Lak Cooking Class I think this one of the most classical Namprik in Thailand because of the combination of shrimp paste , coconut sugar, garlic , lime juice is perfect combination. This kind of Nam Prik will never go wrong and I’m highly recommend to try.

Shrimp paste chili sauce uses very few ingredients. It has chilies, shrimp paste, garlic, seasoned with lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. It’s an easy menu to make. You can eat every meal. If there is some fried mackerel and crispy fresh vegetables included, it will make it even more delicious.

Nam Prik  long ruea ( Long ruea chili sauce )


Royal Chili sauce It was invented by Chao Chom Ratchawong Sod in the reign of King Rama V who at that time served in the amulet room in the royal court (kitchen). This Nam Prik Long Ruea is actually Normal shrimp paste chili paste but stir-fried with catfish. It comes from a story in Sunandha Palace, saying that on that day the prince traveled by boat. and probably enjoyed it because it was late in the evening and when it was time to eat, he still refused to get off the boat. He also wanted to eat on the ship, so the Prince of Songs entered the kitchen on the ship. Pick up the remaining ingredients and make a new menu out of necessity. But it turned out that the menu was delicious and exotic, so it was very popular. Name it Nam Prik Long ruea And the method of making has been passed down until the present day.

Good Nam Prik Long Ruea It is said that the sour, sweet, and salty flavors must be in equal proportions to be perfect. The highlight is that it has fluffy catfish, sweet pork, and salted eggs eaten together with chili sauce.






Northeastern region

Jaew Bong


It is almost a main menu for Isaan people who still live a life of farming. Jaew Bong is unique in that it is a concentrated dip. hot spicy flavor and the aroma of fermented fish is so outstanding that he is almost the hero of the story.

The word “jaew” is an Isan language that means dipping sauce or chili sauce. The word “bong” is assumed to be a language from the Tai Dam people, meaning “dong” when put together. The meaning matches the characteristics of Jaew Bong. It’s a chili paste with fermented fish mixed in.

Jaew Bong is eaten with hot sticky rice. Paired with fresh vegetables, it goes so well together, don’t tell anyone.

It’s really cool.

Local chili paste from the people of Buriram Province, southern Isan region. This menu has been famous for a while. Because it’s a menu that Black Pink’s Lisa once said she liked to eat. The distinctive feature of Jarawadong is that it is a chili sauce that must include coconut milk. This chili sauce has been influenced by the Cambodians. Chara Wa Dong is a Khmer language. The word Chara Wa means chili paste and Dong means coconut milk. Together they mean chili paste with coconut milk.

The taste will be similar. fermented soybean paste Get the oily aroma from coconut milk. Saltiness from fermented fish sauce And it has a tangy texture from the fish that goes into it. It goes well with fresh vegetables, boiled eggs, and a variety of side dishes.



South region

Nam Prik Jon (Jon Chili sauce)


Nam Chuep Yum, chili sauce from the southern region It’s unique in that it’s a chili paste that doesn’t need to be pounded. Instead, use your hands to knead all the ingredients together. And this chili sauce became more famous after being served by Chef Pao on Masterchef All Star Thaliand.

Nam Chub means chili sauce and yum means yum. Both words are local dialects. Together, they give the exact meaning: Hand-crushed chili paste There is a legend telling the story of its origins. One night, a thief broke into the house. He was very hungry, so he sneaked into the kitchen to get something to eat. Coincidentally, there was some chili paste making machine left over. But I didn’t dare use a mortar. Because of fear of loud noises that would wake up the owner of the house So instead use your hands to mix the ingredients together to make chili sauce.

Nam Chup Yum has ingredients and methods of making that are not much different from Nam Prik Shrimp Paste. But boiled shrimp is also added. Eat with fresh vegetables and hot steamed rice. It’s a delicious, easy menu that can be eaten at every meal.

Shrimp chili sauce 


Local menu from Phuket Province There is an important uniqueness. Inserting shrimp which is one of the food preservation methods of the South, is added into the chili paste as well. Kung Saeb is whole shrimp that is skewered and coated with salt. Toast or smoke until dry. This extends the life of food and can be stored for longer. 

Shrimp chili sauce it is a chili paste that is not difficult to eat. The taste is not very spicy. Traditionally, local people like to eat it for lunch. Eaten with fresh vegetables, very delicious.

At Khao Lak Thai Cooking Class by Pakinnaka Thai Cooking School I have chance to cook the dipping sauce for my clients who ask for this I make Namprik  Kung Seap or Nam Chup Kung Seap (Southern dialog) for my students to try. This Nam Prik need smoked prawn as a main ingredients. And I do use organic shrimp paste from Phang Nga as a key ingredients.


 Tom Saap (A traditional North Eastern style spicy soup)

A Saap memories with Esarn community in Iceland)


Tom Saap is a type of northeastern (Esarn)soup which is Similar to Tom Yum soup from the central region but with dried chilies and roasted rice added as well. The main ingredients are meat, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, both fresh and dried chilies, lime, fish sauce. Pork and beef are more commonly used than other types of meat. But the most popular is the spicy soup with pork cartilage or pork ribs garnished with spring onions, parsley, and basil. At Khao Lak cooking class by Pakinnaka Thai Cooking School I have chosen to teach Tom Yum Soup Central style as well as Tom Saap. You can also order extra cooking class menu that not in the list on the website.

It is assumed that tom sap is probably just emerging. From the modification of Kaeng Om curry in the Northeast. Tom Zaap is similar to Tom Som (A traditional Southern sour soup), the sourness comes from vegetables that have more sour taste, such as tamarind paste, pineapple and traditional southern star fruits. Most of the popular ones are fish. The taste of tom sap is not very sour compared to tom som. For the soup lovers who willing to attend cooking class in Khao Lak I would recommend you to


Tom means soup in Thai and Saap means delicious in Thai North Eastern dialect. My favorite Tom Saap is pork cartilage. I love to use this part of pork in to Tom Saap because when you cook it long time the cartilage will get very tender and melt in the mouth and when you drink the soup you will find the richness of this soup even more than Tom Yum Soup. At our Pakinnaka Khaolak Thai Cooking School, we don’t usually often request to teach Tom Saap as much as Tom Yum Soup that why today I’m sharing this recipe with you “Tom Saap Kraduk Ohn” or Pork cartilage spicy soup as below. Just in case you are interested in cooking this soup.

Here are the Thai ingredients for cooking:


Pork cartilage 200 grams

  • 500 milliliters of water
  • Galangal (sliced) 5 pieces
  • 1 lemongrass (cut diagonally)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (tear off the middle stem)
  • Straw mushrooms (cut in half) 100 grams.
  • Cherry tomatoes (cut in half) 50 g.
  • 1 head of onion (thinly sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind juice
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Ground chili (as desired)
  • 1 tablespoon roasted rice ( You can dry fried rice in to the wok until it turn golden brown and then grind in the mortar and pestle
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


  1. Add water in the pot. Bring to a boil and bring to a boil. Add galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil again.
  2. Add pork cartilage and boil until cooked and tender.
  3. Add straw mushrooms, tomatoes and chopped green onions and boil.
  4. Season with fish sauce. Tamarind juice and sugar Stir until well combined. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add lime juice, chili powder, roasted rice and parsley. Taste as desired. Sprinkle with basil leaves. Ready to eat.

It seems difficult to make this soup if you are not in Thailand. But nowadays we export lot of Thai products to every part of the world. For examples when I was Thai Chef in Iceland. I find every important ingredient that we need for the restaurant. In the capital city, Reykjavik you can find roasted sticky rice, preservative fish and every authentic Thai ingredient even you are at the edge of Atlantic Ocean.  However you can modify your ingredients or you can substitute with other ingredients for example I suppose to cook Tom Saap with straw mush room but I can’t find it in Iceland so I can buy some other type of mushroom or I can collect the wild mushroom in the forest during the summer time especially in August.

I experienced wild mushroom collecting with the Thai community who lives in Hella, South Regian which is not far from where I worked, Westman Island. Khun Wongphet Kongsanan, who move from Srisaket, the North Eastern part of Thailand. She brings her family and her sibling and settle there for very long time. On that day we went with her husband to collect wild mushroom was sunshine. We move from one place to the other and met her older brother and her sister-in-law on the road and we invited him to join us collecting the wild mushroom.


The mushroom we collected were white angel mushroom and honey mushroom. The way she prepared mushroom is she cooked mushroom in hot water first then let it dry out. She said it was the best way to conserve the mushroom so the mushroom can last longer in the fridge.       


What was surprise me was her son who is a youtuber cook me fresh caught Tom Saap with Salmon fish from the river. It was amazing that this family still reserve their way of living similar style as North Eastern people living in Thailand. They collect foods from nature which no need to buy lot of things from the market or supermarket. For an example the collect fresh vegetable from the juggle, fish and black crab from the rice field and grow their own sticky rice in the rice farm.

 In the evening we sit together for dinner. It was my first-time having Tom Saap with this kind of fish specially from Atlantic Sea. The test of the meat is very delicious and tender. The soup is very strong in flavor and the newly harvested mushroom give an aromatic. To me this is very good balancing in a test. The test still very authentic even we use the fish from the cold temperature river. I will never cook it again when I get fresh salmon fish.

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