I still remember the first time I had the real Tom Yum soup.
I was visiting Bangkok to see my hubby (boyfriend at the time). After running around to temples, palaces, and other must-see tourist destinations in the sweltering heat all day, we decided to spend a quiet evening in at the hotel. Hubby ordered room service, and I kicked back, excited to sample the array of Thai dishes he had ordered.
Without knowing what each bowl contained, I lifted the lids and dug in, savoring all of the unique flavor combinations.
One dish in particular stood out to me, with its fiery red broth accented with fragrant citrus. I thought perhaps it was some delicious variation of a red curry because it was just so spicy and rich. But after mentioning this to hubby, he informed me that it was actually Tom Yum soup — just a really good one, and so unlike the watered-down versions I had experienced before!
Many years and many, many tastes of Thai food later, I still can’t get enough of the bold flavors of an authentic Tom Yum soup.
The invigorating spice from the chilis, the refreshing tang from the limes, and the citrusy fragrance from the kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and lemongrass… They all combine so wonderfully to create a soup that is refreshing, yet deeply satisfying.
Last night, I made a big pot of Tom Yum soup with chicken, and was reminded of that first taste of the real thing in Bangkok.
I can’t remember now, but I imagine that it was made with the more common choice of shrimp (Tom Yum Goong). As much as I love Tom Yum Goong, there’s something really nice about biting into tender, thinly-sliced pieces of chicken infused with the wonderfully spicy and sour broth.
It’s the perfect soup to enjoy on a cold winter’s night….
or a sweltering summer day spent exploring Thailand’s temples….
or really any day, for that matter!