"Bitter, salt, sour, hot and sweet: there are dishes of all flavors. Ribs of fatted ox cooked tender and succulent: Sour and bitter blended in the soup of Wu"
--The Summons of the Soul, 3rd century Chinese poem that describes soul of Thai cuisine

"Rap pra taarn"...or, "Sit down to share this food"

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Soup Customs in Thailand

Soup is often served for breakfast--maybe a nice rice soup. It can be a whole meal at lunch--such a gwaytio noodle soup sold by vendors everywhere with an offering of toppings that range from peanuts to chilis, from cilantro to crispy garlic flakes, and always the Thai fish sauce nam pla. And soup figures largely in traditional Thai dinners and banquets, serving as both beverage and main course (all dishes are served simultaneously, not in courses), and sometimes including two different kinds. The soup is served and kept hot in a hot pot, and while most people today serve it out in bowls, it's still not uncommon for diners to spoon it right out of the pot into their mouths or onto their rice as a flavoring. And porcelain spoons are most common, though metal are also used.

Thai soups fall in 4 general categories:

  1. tom yam (spicy)--or "dom yam"
  2. kaeng jud (light broth)--or "gaeng chud"
  3. tom kha (broth with coconut milk)--or "dom gai"
  4. "soup" category--inclusive of all other kinds
Please note the alternate transliterations of Thai soup words. It's because at some point after the 9th century, Thai forebears repudiated the Chinese written character system and adopted Sanskrit and Pali scripts to represent their dialect.

Special soups? One made out of the "clown knifefish" or featherback, a greedy bottom-feeder notopterous, is said to cure the measles.