Tom Yum Soup: The Food of Kings

For the longest time, creativity and innovation of food has been a symbol of status in Thai culture. The Thai Royal Court have made more significant contributions to modern-day food culture than any other nation, with some Kings even publishing their very own cook books. The royal family rely on this to set themselves above that of their agricultural society, and in doing so have encouraged their chefs to take their cooking to the max, pushing creativity on flavour and presentation.

With food constantly being refined, year upon year, it’s extremely hard to pin down when a dish was created – the famous Thai flavour of Tom Yum is such a dish. The hot & sour flavours of the chilli and lemongrass do battle against the smoothness of the coconut compliments the earthiness of the galangal.

What is easier, however, is to define not the “when”, but the “where”. The Thai palette can be more easily described based upon the origin of their dishes, narrowed down by the seven districts of their nation: Northern, North-Eastern, Eastern, Southern, The Central Plains, Bangkok, the food of the Royal Court.

Tom Yum (not spelled ‘Tom Yam”!) was that of the seventh. A food of royalty. A meal served to impress both the nation’s royalty, and their guests. The Thai view on cooking is to stretch the palette with intense flavours, yet to still maintain a balance of the dish. Their food is to create impact, but to still be enjoyed, with new flavours being discovered with every mouthful of a meal. Such cuisine was pushed to it’s maximum in the royal court, with Tom Yum being an excellent example.

Dishes of this kind were usually (though not proven) an alteration on Chinese or Indian recipes that had been brought to the nation during the seaborne trading boom of the 15th century. Before this time, ingredients such as chillies did not grow indigenously, and so were brought over as gifts to the Royal Court, which once loved where implemented into Thai farming. Tom Yum is believed to be a Thai spin on a not-so-famous Chinese dish, that had a similar hot/sour flavour, but used horse meat as it’s meaty base.

Whereas individuals from China at this time were known to eat pretty much anything, the Thai culture was very different. Killing a land animal and eating it was taboo for the very Buddhist royal family, leading to a form of vegetarian tom yum. It was only over time that the recipe was passed down to that of the surrounding villages, and due to the change of mindset and ease of fishing due to the nation’s shallow waters, shrimp (and other fish) was added to become the soup we now know and love.

Over time, the recipe slowly made it’s way up north, through Burma, back to China. There a meal is not considered a meal without the addition of a form of rice, and so immediately the dish was served alongside rice. Further to rice, became the classic: Tom Yum Noodles – this is where we take our inspiration for our Warrior Fighting Shrimp.

Using centuries of refinement, we’ve packed all of the creativity and innovation of Thai royal chefs, and all of the heart of the surrounding Thai villages into our healthy hot & sour Tom Yum instant noodles. From China to Thailand and back, with the addition of a few shrimp on the way, we’ve kept things authentic with premium, freeze-dried ingredients. You can get all caught up in the war between lemongrass and chilli, the soothing flavours of the coconut, and the deep texture of the galangal and bamboo shoots, all whilst on the go in an easy to prepare cup.

Add some hot water, chow down.

sources:

http://searchofgoodfood.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/tom-yum-kung-and-history-of-thai-food.html>http://searchofgoodfood.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/tom-yum-kung-and-history-of-thai-food.html

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