Hotpot is a popular Asian dish loved by many. We have previously covered Tom Yum hotpot but there is an even more popular type of hotpot in Thailand called Jim Jum hotpot. This hotpot is a local dish that can be regarded as a Thai hotpot. What is a Thai hotpot and how different is it from the regular hotpot? Learn more about this in this post.
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What is a Thai hotpot?
When you think of hotpot, the first thing that comes to your mind would probably be shabu shabu, sukiyaki ( the two types of Japanese hotpot) or huo guo (Chinese hotpot). However, Thailand also has its own local hotpot.
So what is a Thai hotpot? First, you can probably guess that a Thai hotpot is hot, spicy, sour and is full of fragrance. That is right. That’s what a Jim Jum hotpot is like. Jim Jum originates from North Eastern Thailand (or Issan). The dish is very much like a hotpot where a hot soup is left to simmer at the table. Then, you can cook fresh ingredients like meat or vegetables by yourself at the table.
The name Jim Jum means “dip” in Thai, this reflects the action where you dip fresh ingredients into the soup to cook, then dip cooked ingredients into Jim Jum special sauce before eating.
Traditionally this hotpot is served in a clay pot where a heat source is put under the pot to keep the soup hot. However many modern operators have since replaced this more traditional way of cooking with a gas/electric stove. What makes this Thai hotpot a unique dish lies with the herb, the soup and its sauce. More on this in the following section.
A Thai hotpot soup base and sauce
Jim Jum or Thai hotpot soup base makes the dish unique. It has a herbal fragrance and spicy & sour taste. Thai hotpot soup base draws its fragrance from herbs like lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, shallot and other special ingredients like dried chili and ground roasted rice. The soup base is typically flavoured using fish sauce and lime as well to complete the spicy & sour taste.
The last unique component of this hotpot is its sauce called Nam Jim Jaew. This sauce is a North-eastern Thai sauce that goes well with hotpot but also grilled meat or Thai bbq. You will often find the same sauce on your Som Tum meal if you also order grilled chicken or pork neck.
Nam jim jaew is also spicy and sour! Its key ingredients include fish sauce, sugar, lime, tamarind sauce, chili flakes, ground roasted rice and a lot of green onion/parsley (this sauce can also be used with Thai BBQ dishes!)
If you want to see more details about the Jim Jum hotpot, watch this great video from Wongnai here.
What can you put into a Jim Jum hotpot?
Similar to other types of hotpot, you can customize the content of your meal. You can add a wide range of fresh meat and vegetables, it really comes down to what you like.
However, there are some standard ingredients including:
- Thai basil
- Fresh vegetables like morning glory, cabbage or napa cabbage
Where should you try Jim Jum hotpot in Thailand?
As you can see by this point, this Thai hotpot is all about that spicy and sour flavour. Therefore, most of the Jim Jum hotpot you find in Thailand can get very spicy. Even Thais often find many of them too spicy!
If you do not want to take any risk, we would recommend established restaurant groups. This is because the taste tends to be milder and you would not have to worry about any hygiene issues.
Some places that you can visit to try Jim Jum hotpot:
You will be able to find branches from these restaurant groups quite easily in Bangkok.
Should you try Jim Jum hotpot?
Yes, you should. However, if you go to a more traditional/local establishment, the Jim Jum there is not for the faint of heart. That’s why we mentioned foreigners should go to a more established chain hotpot place that can offer a milder Jim Jum soup.
Nonetheless, if you love hotpot and you are in Thailand, just go and try this local hotpot. you can try both Tom Yum hotpot as well as Jim Jum hotpot while you are in the country.
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