Tom Yum is a famous Thai dish around the world. In fact, Thailand is submitting this dish to UNESCO to be included in the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. We are pretty sure Tom Yum soup does not need further introduction. So, Tom Yum noodle is a delicious adaptation of Tom Yum soup. In this article, we will be introducing some important points that you need to know about Tom Yum noodles. We will also talk about a few variations that you can try.
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Different types of Tom Yum soups
Tom Yum soups generally taste spicy and sour, and are made with herbs such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal. However, there is a major distinction in Tom Yum soups that you need to know. Clear broth Tom Yum comprises herbs mentioned above then seasoned with lime, fish sauce, chili and sugar which will produce an aromatic, spicy and sour clear broth.
Another type of Tom Yum soup is popular around the world for its rich spicy and sour taste. This type of Tom Yum soup also has a creamy texture. While this “creamy” version of Tom Yum soup shares the same base as its clear broth version, 2 key ingredients are added:
- Thai chili paste made from multiple spices like dried red chili, shallot, garlic, tamarind and in some version shrimp paste (reference)
- Evaporated milk
These two ingredients help to add richer and creamy flavors to this type of Tom Yum soup.
Tom Yum soups vs. Tom Yum noodles in Thailand
So we have introduced Tom Yum, but what is Tom Yum noodle? This question sounds simple but the answer to it is not. If you are familiar with Tom Yum soup, you probably know that it has a strong, rich taste filled with herbal aroma. So is Tom Yum noodle a dish where noodle is simply added to the Tom Yum soup?
In some cases, yes. However, given how strong the Tom Yum soup can taste (since it’s typically consumed with rice), some restaurants would dilute the soup slightly so that the noodle does not taste too strong.
If you are in Thailand and you order a bowl of Tom Yum noodle soup, you might be in for a surprise – more on this below.
Common Tom Yum noodle soups in Thailand
In Thailand, Tom Yum noodle most commonly refers to noodle with soup that has been flavoured using chili flakes, lime, fish sauce and sugar. These flavorings create a spicy & sour soup, almost similar to the Tom Yum soup we discussed above, but without the herbal aroma. Typically you can choose your noodle whether it would be thin/thick rice noodle, vermicelli or egg noodle. But even then, there are almost limitless variations on Tom Yum noodle soup you can find in Thailand. For instance, Tom Yum noodle with sliced/minced pork, with seafood, with fresh fish, with fish ball, with crispy pork and the list goes on.
If you are in central Bangkok, Rung Reung Pork Noodle is a good place to try pork Tom Yum noodle.
Does this mean you will not find noodles made with classic Tom Yum herbal soup in Thailand? While this is less common, you can still find them – for example, GreyHound Café has this dish on their menu.
Dry Tom Yum noodles
While Tom Yum is generally known as a soup, in Thailand, you can also find dry Tom Yum noodles.
Dry Tom Yum noodle is everything like the Tom Yum noodle soup we mentioned above, minus the soup. This makes the noodles dry and tangy. Typically, dry Tom Yum noodles have a strong flavor as the taste is not diluted with any broth. Some restaurants would choose to serve a bowl of clear, soothing soup on the side for this reason.
Common addition to dry Tom Yum noodles that is not found in the soup variation is the addition of roasted peanuts. Therefore, watch out for this if you are allergic to peanuts.
Tom Yum egg noodles
Tom Yum noodles taste good, but many people prefer to have Tom Yum egg noodles with some egg flavour. You can either order your Tom Yum noodle with the yellow egg noodle. This is common in any noodle restaurant in Thailand.
Some Tom Yum noodles however come with boiled egg, be it soft or hard boiled egg. Boiled eggs go surprisingly well with Tom Yum soup noodles so be sure to give it a try!
Are Tom Yum noodles yummy?
Yes, Tom Yum noodle is one of our favorite noodle dishes in Thailand. It is our comfort food. Above all, we love that it is so customizable, from the types of noodle to the flavor of the soup. You can make the flavor more intense or less intense, anything up to your liking.
The difference between Tom Yum noodle vs other types of Thai noodle with soup is the more flavorful soup. With a more flavorful soup base, we can just give a little more additional seasoning to amp up the flavor to our taste.
Go ahead and try Tom Yum noodle when you are in Thailand next! (or try an instant noodle version ahead of your travel / try out Tom Yum hotpot in Thailand)
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