What does Tom Yum mean? ต้มยำ

by | May 25, 2023 | Vocabulary, Thai, Thai Food

If you know about Thai cuisine, you have probably heard about ต้มยำ (Tom Yum or you might see Tom Yam).

Tom Yum is a spicy and sour soup that is made with lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, lime juice, and fish sauce. It also usually has mushrooms and different herbs. And for meat, the most popular one is with shrimp (กุ้ง/gûng), but you can also find it with pork or chicken.

Tom Yum Goong (Shrimp Tom Yum)

Tom Yum meaning

You might be wondering what Tom Yum means. If you break it down, Tom Yam/Tom literally means to boil and mix.

ต้ม (dtôm) means to boil, to be boiled.

ยำ (yam) means to mix, to blend.

Very commonly, you’ll see Tom Yum Gung (or sometimes spelled Tom Yam Goong) ต้มยำกุ้ง. Tom Yum Goong is shrimp Tom Yum. กุ้ง (gûng) Gung is the Thai word for shrimp.

If you see Tom Yum Gai (ต้มยำไก่) it is chicken Tom Yum. ไก่ (gài) Gai is the Thai word for chicken.

And finally, Tom Yum Moo (ต้มยำหมู) is Pork Tom Yum. หมู (mŏo) Moo is the Thai word for pork.

I hope you now know more about Tom Yum and what it means and consists of.

By the way, there are different kinds of ยำ “yum” you might see, such as

  • ยำวุ้นเส้น (yam wún sên). This is a vermicelli-like pasta mixed with different ingredients (hence “yam”). วุ้นเส้น (wún sên) by itself means vermicelli pasta.

  • ยำลูกชิ้น (yam lôok chín). This is a “yam” mixed with meatballs. ลูกชิ้น (lôok chín) is the word for meatballs.

Learn what Pad Thai means here!

Sign up to my newsletter and get your free E book!


You will receive my E-book which contains useful phrases and expressions. You will also get corresponding audios so you can practice listening!

I will also keep you updated on new content and courses I make!