We had three generous bowls of this amazing tom yam goong alongside the three plates of pad thai and fried rice at a roadside eatery outside Bangkok. It’s hard to describe how darned good this soup was, but visually, you get clues that it isn’t your watery, dubious neighborhood restaurant equivalent of tom yam. Just look at it.
A few shrimp swimming in a sea of sour, spicy, heady, thickish broth. Whole chilies, sliced fresh straw mushrooms, green onions, tomatoes, hints of lemongrass and OMG, this was just as stunningly good as the pad thai. Several of our companions don’t eat spicy food, and if I recall correctly, all three bowls of tom yum were wiped clean. This bowl cost less than $2, and it is the result of a vibrant agricultural economy where produce is so cheap and abundant and of wonderful quality… I can’t really think of much of a local equivalent, but then again, maybe something like this bowl of crab soup for breakfast in Bogo, Cebu would qualify…
As if we didn’t have enough food, I got some stir-fried chicken over rice as well. It was good, but just not AS good as the pad thai and tom yum goong.
And in case your food wasn’t flavorful or spicy enough, how about a spoonful of this sawsawan or condiment made up of chopped chilies, garlic, lime juice and fish sauce? In terms of food highlights, this outside Bangkok road side late lunch was definitely one of the most memorable meals we have had for less than $3 each.