Saturday, 18 May 2024

Tom Yam Kung : Not only tasty but with medicinal properties.

Tom Yum Kung

By Suwan Thada

If you ask any foreigners who have ever visited Thailand about their favourite Thai food, their answers, almost without exception, will be tom yam kung.

Tom yam kung, or spicy shrimp soup, is the number one of the top ten Thai dishes loved by foreigners, according to a recent investigation. And in fact, it is one of the most favourite dishes for Thai people as well. It is simply because it is so delicious for its unique sour and spicy taste that you will certainly need it more and more if you try it just once.

Thai food generally not only provides a wonderful taste but also includes medicinal properties in its herbal ingredients as well. Tom yam kung is one of the best examples. To make you acquainted with this special Thai dish, this article will introduce you to the recipe for the soup and its herbal properties.

Ingredients :

  • 1 pint of water
  • 10 large shrimps
  • 1 cup of mushrooms
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass chopped
  • 2 kaffir-lime leaves
  • 1 table spoon of chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground chilli (the amount can be adjusted according to one's preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce

How to cook :

  1. Pour the water into a pot, add the lemon grass and kaffir-lime leaves and heat it.
  2. Add the shrimps when the water is boiling and cover the pot.
  3. Wait for 3 minutes before adding the mushrooms and salt.
  4. Leave it to simmer for a few minutes. Then remove from the heat.
  5. Season with fish sauce, lime juice and ground chilli.
  6. Put the chopped coriander leaves in the pot before serving.

To enhance the flavour, sometimes nam phrik phao or roast chilli paste is added to the soup before it is removed from the heat. For foreigners who are not accustomed with its original taste, just add some milk to the soup to make its taste milder and blended well.

Tips : Best served hot with a plate of steamed rice and a dish of omelette.

For the medicinal properties of tom yam kung, different herbs offer different functions. Their properties are described below:

Lemon grass

Lemon grass can help relieve excessive gas in the stomach or intestine, increase the secretion of urine, reduce heat in the body and prevent the spread of some kinds of bacteria.


Chilli is used as cough medicine. It is useful for the respiratory system, blood circulation and heart as well.


Lime helps to prevent coughing, flu and scurvy.


Kaffir-lime is used to deodorize the strong smell of some food. Its juice can cure cough, dandruff and some types of stomach ache.

Those are just some of the medicinal properties in tom yam kung. Besides, it is full of nutrients from shrimps and vegetables. You will see that the food not only makes you full, but makes you healthy. That is an important reason why tom yam kung is noted as the number one of Thai dishes.

 For the correct pronunciation of romanized Thai words, see Romanization System of the Thai Language.