Tom Yam Goong

Tom Yam is probably one of the most well-known dishes from Thailand. It’s uniquely Thai and has become so famous that they made a movie with the name “Tom Yam Goong.” Not kidding.


2 1/2 cups shrimp stock
10-12 shrimp or 8 oz (head-on and shell-on but chop the eyes part off. Devein if you wish)
3 tablespoons lime juice
6 bird’s eyes chilies (pounded)
3 slices galangal
6 kaffir lime leaves (bruised)
2 tablespoons nam prik pao (Thai roasted chili paste)
2 teaspoons fish sauce or to taste
1 stalk lemongrass (use the white part only, pounded with a cleaver)
6 canned straw mushrooms / fresh oyster mushrooms / fresh or canned button mushrooms


In a pot, bring 3 cups of water to boil. Then add a big handful of shrimp/prawn heads. Boil the shrimp head until the water turns slightly orange in color. Press the shrimp heads with spatula to extract the “goodies” from their heads. Let the stock reduce to slightly more than 2 1/2 cups. Drain the shrimp stock and discard the shrimp heads.

Add lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye chilies, mushrooms, nam prik bao to the shrimp stock and bring it to boil. Add in the shrimp and fish sauce. Lastly, add the lime juice (if you add lime juice too early, the soup might turn bitter). Boil until the shrimps are cooked, dish out and serve hot.

Cook’s Note:

You can use also chicken, a combination of chicken plus shrimp, or seafood combination (shrimp, squid, scallops, green-lipped mussels) for Tom Yam soup. It’s really up to you, but the most popular Tom Yam is Tom Yam Goong, goong means prawns.