Thai Food Hero – BEST TOM YUM SOUP in Thailand!!


– Hey everyone, hope you’re
having an amazing day. It’s Mark Weins. I’m in Thailand, and today we’re driving to Ayutthaya because there’s this one
restaurant that serves… Okay, I’ll tell you the full story later, but anyway, we went to
this restaurant years ago when we were filming
for a different program and he is this amazing uncle who serves what I remember is the best Tom Yum Goong, Tom Yum soup with shrimp,
that I’ve ever had in my life and I’ve been waiting, it’s been years since I’ve had a chance, I haven’t had a chance to go back, finally today is that
day so we’re gonna go, we’re gonna drive. It’s in the province of Ayuttaya and we’re gonna go seek it out. We actually called him
ahead, so he is open. We confirmed, we’re going there. But, yeah, his Tom Yum Goong
is just unbelievably delicious. Maybe the best I’ve ever had. And we’re gonna go eat it right now. Along with some other big shrimp as well. (upbeat music) All right, we made it. Welcome to Amphoe Sena,
the town is called, actually it’s not that big of a town, but it’s called Sena, which is
in the province of Ayutthaya. Not too far away from Ayutthaya
town in central Thailand. It is blazing hot, the sun is so strong. We parked at the bus station because there’s no
parking at the restaurant because the restaurant
is located down an alley in the old, historical part
of town in the marketplace. So you have to park. I think the closest parking
is the bus station, at least. And then walk into the small
alleys to the marketplace to get to the restaurant. Okay, so come down this kinda alley area. Oh, oh yeah, okay. This is just kind of a shortcut
through to the riverside. You pop out here, you’re
next to the river. Okay, yeah, this is the place. I remember now. Oh, it’s been so long but
the memory’s still fresh. That’s the restaurant right here! (foreign language) So excited to be here, this is exactly, I don’t think anything has changed in the last four or five years since I’ve been here last time. But I don’t think anythin`g’s
changed in the last like thirty, maybe forty, years. I’m not even totally sure how old it is, but it’s just this style, the turquoise paint, the wood panels. It’s such a beautiful restaurant. I mean, the entire restaurant
is a museum in and of itself. And I love how it’s down
a no-driving street, just motorbikes so it’s
quiet, it’s peaceful, right next to the river. Oh, man, this is a historical, this is a legendary restaurant. (plates and cutlery clinking) We’re just looking at the menu, trying to decide what to order. Ying is ordering, the one thing we have to
order is the Tom Yum Goong. He only uses the big, pretty good size, four to the kilo, four
freshwater shrimp to the kilo. But we’re also gonna get Goong Pow, which are just roasted shrimp. And then, Ying ordered
just some other dishes that.. (foreign language) (ice scraping) (chopping sound) (background murmuring) He just grabbed some of the shrimp. I mean, they’re common in Thailand, especially central Thailand. I mean, not that, that
common, they’re special, but they just never get old. They are always incredible. But he is, he grabbed some,
he’s now just trimming them up. (murmuring in foreign language) (chopping noises) (scraping noises) (oil sizzling in pan) (hip hop beat) Oh, man, I’m just sweating in the kitchen but they’re working so fast after slicing the shrimp in half. We got Goong Pow, so those
are just roasted shrimp. You put them onto the charcoal,
just about five minutes and they only grill
them on the shell side, leaving that head side up. And then you could see just
as that (foreign language), that just like, it starts
to melt with the heat, they put the cover on. And then, uncle is also frying
up some Tod Mun Pla Krai, which are fishcakes, deep-fried. (sizzling) It smells incredible and I think the last, the final
thing that he’s gonna make is the Tom Yum Goong because
you want that hot and fresh and served in a mo fai,
which is a fire pot. (splashing) (foreign language) (sizzling) (chopping noises) (foreign language) (murmuring in background) (upbeat music) Man, I am just, my shirt is just drenched in the back of this kitchen. Like, the air is just kinda like, it’s like a steam room back
here with all the cooking. But let me just do my
best to try to explain. They did it so fast that
as they were preparing it, like I could just, I was just watching. I could barely even
contemplate what was going on. But he first starts with a wok and starts with some of the
stock, some of the soup, that uncle said is a combination
of pork and chicken bones which sizzles, which boils over charcoal so it has that smokey flavor already. He adds that soup, some of that to the wok and then boils that along
with all of the herbs, the lemongrass, there’s
lemongrass in there, a bunch of galangal. He puts in quite a bit
of kaffir lime leaves and then next I think it’s just
one whole freshwater shrimp but he de-shelled it,
he cut it into pieces and he really took care to
protect that (foreign language), the head and liver,
butter, juices, richness. And then by far the greatest part is where he takes another head, I don’t even know where
that head came from, he just grabbed another
head, another shrimp head, and he literally squeezed
out all of that fat, all of that wonderful flavor. He squeezed it out like
toothpaste into the soup, let that boil, let that
just like simmer around and immediately as he squeezed that in, you could see it kinda
curdle up and thicken and richen the entire soup. Oh, and I forgot to say,
also, he uses his own recipe which is sai bua, which
are the stems of lotus to put into his Tom Yum as well. So then he simmered that down. On the other side of the
kitchen, in the fire pot, she prepared, it was just
some herbs, I think coriander, as well as saw tooth coriander. And then lime juice
and dried chili flakes, put that into the fire pot. So that’s the part that
doesn’t get cooked, that only gets cooked from the hot soup. You don’t wanna boil that because if you burn, for instance, the lime juice or the herbs, if you boil it for too long
it will loose its flavor. So, after that, he combines the two, adds all the soup
together to the fire pot. And then they added a bit more fish sauce, a bit more lime juice to taste and a little more coriander
on top for flavor. That, I mean, it’s simple yet methodical, everything is in a step, perfect. Uncle has been making
it for many, many years and just perfected his own recipe. Oh, I’m always excited
to eat Tom Yum Goong but this is like another level. Another level of excitement. Thai Tom Yum soup, it’s
such an interesting dish because it’s such an ancient dish but there’s modern variations and it’s been adapted
to different locations, to different places, to different,
like, entire generations. But there’s so many different recipes and this is not only
possibly uncle’s own recipe, but the one he’s developed
for this region, this area. He was already mentioning
that this area used to be, the freshwater shrimp
used to be so plentiful that it was an everyday occurrence. Now they are a specialty,
they are a delicacy, they are expensive. But, he said, like years
ago, it was extremely common. (foreign language) We also got some mixed vegetables. But, anyways, Tom Yum Goong,
it has a lot of history, so many variations and so
many amazing variations. This one, though, oh man, it’s amazing. I love that he uses the lotus stems, which is not very common to see. And then you can just see
the (foreign language), head butter fat just floating
around on the top of it. Okay, we gotta try it. Let’s just navigate this Tom Yum just so we can see the ingredients first. You got the shrimp, you got
the heads, he de-shelled it, these are the sai bua, the lotus stems. There’s a lot of coriander in here. I think there’s saw tooth
herb, there’s shallots. Oh, he added shallots too. The lemongrass, the chilis, and then all of those little
floating little nuggets is all that goodness. Okay, from the head of the shrimp. I’m gonna just try that broth first. Look at that broth. That is precious. Normally I wouldn’t eat
directly out of the fire pot, but it’s just Ying and I, we’re family, we’re eating together. I’m just going right for the pot. Ah, wow. That’s, yes. This still is my favorite
Tom Yung Goong in the world, I think, in the world, in
Thailand, in the world. It’s so perfect, look. Ah. It’s salty, it’s sour, it’s
rich but not overly rich. Not like crazy rich, but
rich from the shrimp. You taste the lemongrass,
the kaffir lime leaves. And then it has that herbaceousness from the saw tooth
coriander and the coriander. It is so good. Okay, next bite has to be
the sai bua, the lotus stems. I’m gonna get down there to
some of that dry chili, too. (plates clinking in background) That is a heavenly broth. Like, there’s no other way to describe it. It is so good. Those lotus stems, they’re amazing because they absorb up the broth. They’re crisp, they’re
like sponges of Tom Yum. And then the next bite has to
be shrimp, just shell-less. Shell-less nuggets of shrimp. I think one of the keys is not only balancing all the
ingredients and the herbs, but also the different stages of cooking and the amount of cooking. Because the shrimp go
in at a certain time. Even, for instance, the lime
juice doesn’t even get cooked. It’s just added to the pot and gets cooked enough with
the addition of the hot broth. Same goes for the coriander. So it’s really knowing the steps. I mean, starting with
good quality ingredients but knowing the steps. Okay, I’m gonna try one
of the Tod Mun Pla Krai. Pla Krai is the, I think
it’s knife fish in English. But they take the, they de-bone the fish, mix it sometimes with
curry paste and with spices and then pound it up
until it turns spongy. It’s just pure fish but with spices in it. And then it becomes spongy. You can also smell, you can
see the kaffir lime leaves as well as a little bit of
shaved long beans in here. And, which sauce do you eat with this? Oh, the sweet one, right? Oh, yeah, it’s usually
served with the sweet sauce. But I often prefer it
with the seafood sauce. But I’ll try it with the
original sauce first. (upbeat music) Mm, it’s really good, yeah? Mm, oh wow, it’s so good. The sauce, yeah, I’m
not huge on the sauce. I don’t really like the sauce because actually it’s kinda like a sweet, like barely chili sauce. But the Tod Mun Pla Krai, it’s so spongy. You taste the red chili,
like the dry chili in there. You taste the kaffir lime leaves. And you have that just slight crunch which breaks up the
texture from the sponginess from the long beans. No sauce on my next bite. Yeah, I just prefer the (mumbles). Oh, and that’s incredible. (laughs) You can just tell when
it’s just pure fish, when it’s fresh, when it’s, mm,
when it’s the right texture. And now it is time for the Goong Pow, which are just the roasted shrimp. Um, I’ll take this one right here. Tip this onto my plate. Oh, man, look at that. That butter, oh. And, what I like to do is
take a little bit of the meat, kinda scoop that out, and then mix it with, oh, you can see how it’s not overcooked, it looks so juicy, so, so succulent. And then mix it with a portion of that (foreign language) butter. Oh, that is as good as
a single bite can get. And first bite, no sauce. Just the pure, there’s
nothing added to it. Oh, whoa. Like, you have that slight bitterness from the (foreign language). But then the shrimp is so fresh, it’s muscular, it’s so sweet. I’ll add some of the
chili sauce to this next. And just kinda, like,
hold it into that trough. Maybe a little more chilis on there. And then, just fully de-shell it. With all of that head butter. I think this is a one
biter with what remains. Put all of that on top. Oh, yes. Oh, look at that bite. (foreign language in background) Unbelievable, the richness. You don’t wanna eat them too often because they’re so special,
they’re such a delicacy. They’re so rich. But every now and then,
they’re a real treat. They’re incredible. And then chase that with
some of the Tom Yum. Oh, you know what? I think what really impresses me about the Tom Yung Goong here is you can really taste
the herbal factor of it. He adds in a lot of
lemongrass, a lot of galangal. You can really taste the galangal in there that’s been simmered down. All the flavors are pronounced. This is like one of the most
pure tasting Tom Yum Goongs that I’ve ever had anywhere. It’s like really a roots,
like it tastes ancient, and yet all the flavors are there, all the flavors are distinct. And it’s so herbal. And I think that’s what
I love about it so much. And the richness only relies, I mean, he relies on
the freshwater shrimp. Locally sourced for the
richness, for the thickening, for the flavor of this Tom Yung Goong. Now that I’ve tasted everything pure, I’m gonna try some rice. I’ve got the pure flavor of everything, I’m gonna try some rice. And I think, what I’m gonna do, because there’s so much chunks in there, so many chunks of shrimp, I’m gonna add that over my rice. Dried chilis down there. (upbeat music) Another piece of shrimp on there. Then maybe add a little prik nam pla, add a little bit of chilis
and fish sauce on there. This is just for that extra punch of spice and flavor from the fish sauce. Follow that, chase that with more soup. Whoa, that is, that is an icon, that is
legendary Tom Yung Goong in Thailand, wow. I don’t think I can get over it. It’s too good. He has perfected Tom Yum Goong, like there’s nothing that
could be better about it. We also got some mixed vegetables. He added in some snow
peas, some baby corn, and some cauliflower in here. Mm, that’s good too, just simple. Just stir-fried vegetables. Oh yeah, one more ingredient as I’m digging through
the bottom of the Tom Yum. I forgot to mention to you that
he also added rak pak chee, which are the stems, roots,
the root stems, of coriander. Which you don’t always see
that in Tom Yum either, so. That’s another, whoa, I’m just
like, the broth is flowing. Oh, my mouth juices are flowing. But that’s another reason why
it’s so herbal, so herbaceous. I have an idea for a bite. It’s gonna be a one biter. But, like, just an
out-of-control one biter. So take the body of the shrimp, and you can kinda get
this all out in one piece. They’re not gigantic shrimp so this is definitely gonna
be possible as a one biter. Necessary as a one biter. Okay, next what we’re gonna
do is scoop in for the head. All of that. You don’t want any of it
to go, you want it all. Okay, and then what I’m gonna do is stick this right on top of the body. Oh, it’s like butter! It’s like melted butter! Oh, no, I lost some. Oh, I made a foul. Okay, that will be for next bite, anyways. Okay, I’ll take a little bit of him then. Oh man, my balancing skills,
it just slid right off. Okay, there we go. A little bit of shell
on there, take that off. Then take some of the chili sauce and on top of, on top of that. Okay, to the mouth fast. (hip hop beat) That’s just, it’s just
a life-changing moment. It’s so good. Mm, and then follow that. And that completes, like,
some of the greatest flavors and ingredients of central Thailand, of central Thai cuisine. Oh man, this place is amazing. I love this restaurant. I love uncle! (laughing) (background music drowns
out ambient noise) Oh man, just again, just
blown away by the food, by the Tom Yum Goong. I just cannot even
believe it, it’s so good. And, I’m not even sure if I
mentioned it earlier before, but the restaurant is called Joon Borikan. And uncle, he is a legend. He is truly a Thai culinary treasure. He’s an amazing man and his Tom Yum Goong, it’s a life-changing Tom Yum Goong. It’s just absolutely sensational. And his style, his method, his pureness, his use of the ingredients. It’s unbelievable. Historical gem, it’s a
treasure of Thai food. I can’t remember exactly, but it had to be at least
four or five years ago when we came to Joon Borikan, when we ate that Tom Yum
Goong for the first time filming that program. But that has stuck in my head. It’s been in my brain
ever since as the best. I remember it as the best Tom
Yum Goong that I’ve ever had. And up until this day, I had
always wanted to come back but it’s really not in a very convenient, it’s kinda inconvenient to get here because you have to get to Ayutthaya and then another step to
get to this small town. And so we never made it back until now. And now I’ve proven to myself that is, there’s no doubt, there’s
no question in my mind, that that is the best Tom
Yum Goong that I’ve ever had. So that’s it for this video, I wanna say a big thank you for watching. Please remember to give
this video a thumbs up if you enjoyed it. Leave a comment below,
I’d love to hear from you. And if you’re not already
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town, Sena, in Ayuttahya and I will see you on the next video. Thanks again for watching!

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