Tom Saap

 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.

You May Also Like…