Tom Yum Goong, etc.


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.


10 Responses

  1. Hi MM, were you a party of nine people including the driver? You ordered 3 servings of pad thai, 3 servings of fried rice, 3 servings of tom yum goong, and chicken rice (how many?). Some serious appetite! What did you have for dessert? I have increasingly realized that Thai food in the Philippines is like a watered down version of the real deal. Have always been happy with Peoples Palace in GB or Mango Tree in BGC more for the service rather than the food, but I bet in terms of honesty, and the ability to satisfy a hungry stomach, this open air restaurant experience of yours is a winner.

  2. Thai food here in Houston is expensive, but not as much as Japanese. Some Pinoy entrepreneur ventured into Thai resto combo Pinoy.

  3. joejj, there were only 8 in our party total and we ate all of this. And I didn’t take a photo of our driver’s lunch. He insisted on eating another rice dish on his own. And there wasn’t anything for dessert here, so we ended up eating tons of mango and sticky rice a little later that afternoon… :)

  4. Mango and sticky rice — great! But do you know what is even better? Guimaras mangoes with budbud kabog!

  5. agree, a lot of roadside eateries in Thailand are just awesome. cheap, incredibly delicious and satisfying food. Went to Karon beach in Phuket and found this stall offering chicken noodle soup and chicken rice. The proprietor used chicken breast and it came out so tender and juicy, I was baffled why restaurants, with more experienced cooks, don’t get it right. And yeah, for like 50 or 60 baht, you have a full meal already :)

  6. Blog on Tom Yung Goong made me smile. My wife is Thai and here on Siargao I am lucky enough to have many local fisherman friends who can keep us supplied with ingredients for Tom Yung Goong. Only problem are some of the vegetable ingredients are hard to source locally… sigh

  7. Do you remember which roadside eatery this was at? I would love to try this (I’m Filipino, but I live in Thailand).



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