I shared this extremely spicy noodle tom yum with a friend last week. I said “extremely” because it was so spicy your tongue could burn with this tongue. I never expect that I would fall in love with such a spicy dish. Yes, “tom yum” is a part of my favorite Thai foods!
Here’s something about “Tom Yum” from the Wikipedia:
Tom yum or tom yam (Lao: ຕົ້ມຍຳ [tôm ɲam]; Thai: ต้มยำ, [tôm jam]) is a spicy clear soup typical in Laos and Thailand. Tom yum is widely served in neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, and has been popularised around the world.
Literally, the words “tom yum” are derived from two Tai words: “tom” and “yam”. “Tom” refers to boiling process (soup, in this case). “Yam” refers to a kind of Lao and Thai spicy and sour salad. Thus, “tom yum” is a Lao and Thai hot and sour soup. Indeed, tom yum is characterised by its distinct hot and sour flavours, with fragrant herbs generously used in the broth. The basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and crushedchili peppers.
In neighbouring countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, the name tom yumis used widely for various spicy soups which can differ greatly from true Lao and Thai tom yum soup. As a result, people are often confused by the disparities.
Commercial tom yum paste is made by crushing all the herb ingredients and stir fryingin oil. Seasoning and other preservative ingredients are then added. The paste is bottled or packaged, and sold around the world. Tom yum flavoured with the paste may have different characteristics from that made with fresh herb ingredients.