Review: Trader Joe’s True Thai Tom Yam Soup

August 19, 2010 at 6:34 pm 21 comments

Trader Joe's True Thai Tom Yam Soup

Store: Trader Joes
Location: Hanover, MA
Price: $2.29

True Thai may be a little bit of a stretch of this one. Tom yam is one of the most popular traditional soups in Thailand and Laos . The broth is based with stock, lemon grass, crushed chilies, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and  fish sauce with no coconut milk. The reason I mentioned that last part is this Trader Joe’s soup did. If they really wanted to be authentic they would have called this tom yum nam khan and they would have been right. One other thing traditionally tom yum has straw mushrooms in the soup and a protein of prawns, chicken, seafood, or fish. Traders Joe’s soup didn’t have either of these but instead had wontons stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, and other ingredients in smaller amounts.

So how did it taste anyway?

It was alright. There was nothing real special with it. The broth was very sour, and had the garnish of chilies been crushed they would have made the broth spicy, which is the other main component of the broth missing. You have to be careful to remove the lemon grass, peppers, and lime leaves after they flavor the broth and be light handed with them, more the lemon grass and leaves than anything. If you didn’t know not to eat lemon grass it is quite fibrous and tough. The wontons were pretty good, some of the mushroom flavor was lost in the more intense spinach.

Personally I prefer tom kha gai. This variant of soup is extra creamy and includes less citrus and more galangal. A local restaurant near me, The Chatta Box, makes a real good one. I gave this soup a go and it didn’t deliver for me but I am just one person’s opinion.

Decent wontons
Was spicy after crushing peppers
Broth is flavorful
Not expensive

Garnish not user friendly
Needs instruction to discard garnish after microwaving
Kills for difference in texture or protein
Could be more authentic
Should not have coconut milk
Not filling



Entry filed under: Trader Joes.

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21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. World Wide News Flash  |  August 24, 2010 at 5:45 am

    [Trader Joe's] True ThaiCons Tom Yam Soup « Supermarket Eats…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  • 2. Lisa McConner  |  August 30, 2010 at 8:34 am

    I love this friggen soup!!!!!

  • 3. Ahhhhhhh! The Light! « Apple Tells All  |  August 30, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    […] the kitchen, me trying to operate some frozen soup. Because, you know, who doesn’t want tom yam soup at six in the […]

  • 4. Jane Shealy  |  February 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I’m with Lisa. Totally addicted.

  • 5. Kathie  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:40 am

    authentic/traditional? no. delicious? yes. very fresh tasting and mine was VERY hot/spicy. do wish there was a coconut free version simply to save calories, but i am NOT disappointed and will purchase again.

  • 6. Biz  |  April 30, 2011 at 5:10 am

    I’d give it a B. Yeah, the liquid’s a bit sour, and there isn’t enough of it, but the dumplings are outstanding.

  • 7. Megan Jade  |  May 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I am pregnant and I crave it,,I am off to buy all they have!!!

    Its is not authentic, but pretty good and keeps you filled up and lean!

  • 8. manifenestration  |  August 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I just made this soup for the very first time and expected it to be bland, because supermarket soups are usually milder than I like. I wish I had read your review before I ate this, because I did not remove the lemon grass, peppers and lime leaves before eating it. The next thing I knew I was standing over the sink with an ice cube on my tongue, drinking water, chewing dry bread and hanging on for dear life. I just have just chowed down on a pepper without realizing it. Holy cow. It should say WARNING DO NOT EAT THIS AT HOME WITHOUT SUPERVISION. Or it could at least say “remove herbs before consuming, and re-add if you want stronger soup.”

    I think I have my head on straight again.

  • 9. upsidedawn  |  September 23, 2011 at 12:28 am

    I love this soup. Period. It must be popular, because a couple of times my local store has run out. I appreciate that it’s not authentic, but it’s still very tasty. And yes, the dumplings are yummy.

    I don’t have a high tolerance for super hot (as in spicy hot) food, so I just leave out the chilis, and it is fine for me without them. The other spices didn’t bother me.

    By the way, to kill the heat of chilis, drink milk, not water. 🙂

    • 10. davincivirus  |  September 23, 2011 at 3:47 am

      Or even better who be a lassi drink

    • 11. manifenestration  |  October 5, 2011 at 1:21 am

      ARGH. I knew that milk kills the heat and I totally forgot.
      Then again, at that moment, I probably would have forgotten my own name.

  • 12. Shannon  |  November 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    This soup is ok. The broth is very flavorful, but I don’t really like the wontons, they don’t have a lot of flavor and are a little mushy. After eating this one time before I learned my lesson about the lemon grass! Who wants to spend their whole meal picking out the woody fibrous stuff. I got smart this time, however… I put the lemon grass in a coffee filter and just placed it in the bowl while nuking it. Was very easy to get the flavor and then throw it away when it was ready. I love pickled ginger, so I threw some of that into the hot broth and it added a little ginger kick and some much needed texture. For the calories, it’s pretty decent.

    • 13. Sheila  |  May 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      I just tried your coffee filter tip and wanted to let you know you are a genius.

  • 14. Violet  |  December 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Love this soup! Wish Trader Joes would open up closer to home or office 🙂
    A great flavorful light soup that I found to be filling enough but can always have a side sandwich with if its not.
    Time to go a few towns over and get some more!

  • 15. Thai Teena  |  December 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Why do you people keep saying ‘it’s not authentic’? — It is made in Thailand. It says it right on the back of the bag. It is the best thai soup that you can get for about 2 bucks in a grocery store. C- score is hilarious. This thing is A+

    • 16. Simone  |  August 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      Yeah definitely not a C- soup. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • 17. Victoria  |  February 2, 2012 at 5:28 am

    I tried the soup tonite. Very flavorful. I loved the lemon grass to crunch on. I had to add more liquid to the soup, it was pretty strong. So, I added some salt free soy sauce and a tbsp of milk. I also added TJ’s seafood blend. Oh wow, my soup was incredible!!! Also added more chili peppers, love the spice!!!:)

  • 18. Ika  |  August 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I am eating it right now and imho it is not very good. The broth is spicy but sort of non descript. The wontons are not bad but they are on a mushy. There is way too much lemongrass in the spice pack and I love lemon grass. It is also messy to make if you are in the office. Will not give it another try

  • 19. marci  |  January 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    this soup is very good ! it is filling unless your a fatty than you need two but now that i eat less and no longer a fatty this fills me up and satisfied my thai cravings 😀 its decent

  • 20. Matt S  |  February 2, 2013 at 4:19 am

    I give it a B….for 2.29 and coming out of a store in a package….how about an A. Give it a break as I cant find a better one for anywhere near that……really a C-? Ive eaten plenty of authentic tom yum and this is dang close…..

  • 21. gregory  |  July 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    this soup is awesome- for $2.50! you totally need to customize it a bit. first, don’t microwave, ugh. simmer the aromatic packet & soup base together and steam the wontons separately so they’re less mushy, then toast em a bit like pot stickers. strain the base if you can’t deal with picking out the lemon grass, add shrimp, cilantro, fresh lime & fish sauce. there you go!


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