Tom Yum Soup

 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 Yum Soup

Sharing cooking tips and history of Traditional Central Style Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum is a food of the central region of Thailand. There are soups from other part of Thailand  that is similar to Tom yum. But there is a little bit different in term of using ingredients and flavors. Tom Yum in Thai Cooking is a Main Course, but  Western people mostly considering Tom Yum Soup as an appetizer. At my Cooking School in Khaolak I teach Tom Yum Soup as an appetizer.

Tom Yum Soup is my favorite dish. Because the food tastes are very balance, sour, salty, spicy, sweet, concentrated in the same dish. The fresh Thai ingredients such as galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime spice up this dish. When swallowing the soup, you will feel special than any other soup in this world because of the flavors of herbs, galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves that are combined together.

There are two types of Tom yum soup which are clear soup and creamy soup. The creamy soup is different from clear soup we use add coconut cream or evaporated milk and chili oil. For my recipe I make clear soup at Pakinnaka Thai Cooking School in Khaolak I use sea bass and creamy soup with sea , farm prawn or river prawns.. However, we don’t have any fixed rules for making Tom Yum. It depends on the preferences of the person eating it. Most of us tend to make Tom Yum with Seafood, but for some Thai people who don’t like Seafood, they cut up whole chicken in to small pieces or pork knuckle huck

There is a unique technique that my cooking teacher when I was in her Thai cooking class from Bangkok use is to season the soup in the serving bowl which mean adding lime juice, fresh grinded chilli , fish sauce and spring onion and coriander. David Thompson world famous Thai Chef who own Mitchelin star restaurant, Aksorn Restaurant

I have learnt is to season the soup in the serving bowl. This way, the lime juice is never boiled and thus remains vibrantly sour. As with all Tom Yum, the seasoning is hot, sour and salty, although this can be adjusted to suit individual preferences.

For the history of this type of food There is no conclusive evidence regarding the origins of this food. But Acharn Sujit Wongthet wrote about Tom Yum Kung saying, “When rice was imported from India along with the Andaman sea trade and the Brahmin-Buddhist religion, “Rice dishes” changed and began to include various types of “curry sauces”. Both thick curry with coconut milk in the Indian style and water curry in the Chinese style.

In the Pathanukrom of making sweet and savory dishes like Farang and Siam (1898), there is a recipe for Tom Yum Goong Song Khrueng. Which seems very different from the current Tom Yum Kung, stating “…boiled and shredded pork weighing three baht. Grilled leaf fish then smashed and shredded for two baht Grilled and dried fish, then shred for two baht Pickled garlic, peeled, meat removed, sliced ​​three baht Peel the cucumber and slice it three baht.

Madan Soi Sam Baht One baht of chili peppers, cut One baht of fine coriander…” As for the method of making, it says “Take fresh shrimp and boil it with seawater. Add fish sauce weighing two baht. Boil until the shrimp meat is cooked… scoop out thirty-eight baht of shrimp boiling water and put it in a bowl. Then peel the shrimp, leaving only the meat, shredded, weighing four baht.

One baht of pickled garlic juice Seven baht fish sauce Six salungs of sugar Put it in the shrimp boiling water. Then put the weighed item in as well…if it’s not sour. You can add more lemon juice. When the associate is good, sprinkle with chili peppers and coriander. is usable”

As for the book Khong Sawoey (1964), the recipe from Mom Rajawongse Kitinadda Kitiyakara is similar to the Tom Yum Kung recipe known today.

Tom yum or tom yam is a family of hot and sour Thai soups. The name “tom yam” is composed of two Thai words. Tom refers to the boiling process, while yam means ‘mixed’.



The soup base depends on the exact sub-type but is generally water, coconut milk, or chicken or other broth.

Various aromatic ingredients are sliced, roughly pounded, and simmered to extract their flavor. These include fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, chilis, shallots, and garlic. For shrimp-based soups, shrimp shells and heads may also be simmered, to extract their flavor. These ingredients are often then removed as their flavor is now extracted and many aren’t edible. However they may be left in, as an aid to presentation.

Alternatively, commercial tom yum paste may be used. This is made by crushing all the herb ingredients and stir frying in oil, then adding seasoning and other preservative ingredients. The paste is bottled or packaged and sold around the world.

Vegetables are then added, such as onion and tomato. In modern popular versions the soup may also contain mushrooms—usually straw mushrooms or oyster mushrooms.

Various meats are added next, commonly fish, shrimp, mixed seafood, pork, or chicken.

When the meat is cooked, final flavorings whose taste is destroyed by heat, such as fish sauce and lime juice, are added. For most varieties a paste called nam phrik phao  is also added, made from shrimp, chilis, shallots, and garlic. This imparts sweet, salty, and spicy tastes.

Yet other ingredients may also be used, depending on the exact variety of tom yam, such as evaporated milk.

The soup is often topped with a generous sprinkling of fresh chopped coriander leaves, and may be served over a serving of rice.


Selected types

Tom yam kung maphrao on nam khon, as served in Uttaradit, Thailand

Ready-to-use bundles of lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, and, for chicken tom yam, also turmeric, are sold at Thai markets

Tom yam nam sai , clear broth tom yam soup

Tom yam nam khon  is a more recent variation from the 1980s. common with prawns as a main ingredient, evaporated milk or non-dairy creamer powder[8] is added to the broth as a finishing touch.

Tom yam kathi– coconut milk-based tom yum—this is often confused with tom kha kai (“chicken galanga soup”), where galangal is the dominant flavour of the coconut milk-based soup.

Tom yam kung– the version of the dish most popular among tourists, is made with prawns as the main ingredient. The dish originated during the Rattanakosin Kingdom.

Tom yam pla is a clear fish soup that was traditionally eaten with rice. It used to be the most widespread form of tom yam before mass-tourism came to Thailand, for fresh fish is readily available almost everywhere in the region’s rivers, canals and lakes as well as in the sea. Usually fish with firm flesh that doesn’t crumble after boiling is preferred for this type of soup.

Tom yam gai  is the chicken version of the soup.

Tom yam po taek or Tom yam thale is a variant of the soup with mixed seafood, like prawns, squid, clams and pieces of fish.

Tom yam kung maphrao on nam khon , a version of prawn tom yum with the meat of a young coconut and a dash of (coconut) milk.

Tom yam kha mu made with pork leg. These require a long cooking time under low fire.


Other spicy and sour soups

Less well known outside Thailand is tom khlong, a spicy sour soup where the sourness does not derive from lime juice but through the use of tamarind.Tom som  are soups that are also very similar to tom yum but most often do not contain lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves. Depending on the type of tom som, the acidity can be derived from lime juice or from the use of tamarind.


Outside Thailand


Tom yum, locally spelled as tomyam, is very well-received among Malaysians since its introduction around the 1980s.The cuisine is now considered a must-have on most restaurant menus in Malaysia, especially the peninsular states. As of 2018, the popularity of Tom yum and other Thai dishes had brought employment to at least 120,000 south Thai cooks, working restaurants mainly in Selangor state and the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, and owning 5000 to 6000 Thai restaurants throughout the country.

While, Traisulee Traisoranakul, deputy government spokesperson, says the soup represents the simplicity of life among rural farming communities along the rivers and canals of central Thailand, where the cuisine is linked to the surrounding nature.

You May Also Like…

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Padthai My journey as a Padthai Master during Covid time.  I have so much to talk about the time that I was a Padthai...

read more