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Ultimate Tom Yum
Noodle Soup

This Ultimate Tom Yum Noodle Soup recipe is inspired by my new favourite restaurant, Speedboat Bar in London. With its zesty, spicy flavours, this is not an authentic recipe, but definitely tastes like more!

Warm and Zesty Tom Yum Noodle Soup

This Ultimate Tom Yum Noodle Soup recipe is so versatile and you can substitute different ingredients to suit your taste and dietary requirements.

What is tom yum (tom yam)?

Tom yum is a popular Thai soup known for its bold and spicy flavors. It is a clear, sour, and aromatic soup that typically includes a combination of ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal (a type of ginger), lime juice, fish sauce, and chili peppers. The soup may also contain ingredients like prawn, chicken, mushrooms, and other herbs and spices.

Tom yum is known for its distinctive balance of sour, spicy, salty, and savoury flavors. There are different variations of tom yum, including Tom Yum Goong (with prawn) and Tom Yum Gai (with chicken).

The exact origins of tom yum are not definitively documented, but it is generally believed to have originated in Thailand. The soup is a significant part of Thai cuisine and has become popular worldwide due to its unique and robust flavour profile. Tom yum is often enjoyed as a standalone dish.

Let's crack into it!

Tom Yum Thai Soup

This recipe has many ingredients, and the secret to not spending the whole day in the kitchen is by making the differents components simultaneously. Using tom yum paste means the pork belly is the most time-consuming part of the recipe. 

If you don’t have time for making pork belly buy a ready-made alternative from your local Chinese takeaway or supermarket. I love this one. The pork can also be subbed for this crispy chicken thigh if you don’t eat pork.

Start with the crispy pork belly, which is cooked low and slow. Cover the flesh only with a five spice, salt, and white pepper rub. Brush the skin with vinegar and cover it with a layer of salt. Cook it in the air fryer for 45 minutes at 130°C. This ensures the meat is tender and succulent.

After 45 minutes, brush off the salt crust, lightly brush the skin with oil, and crisp it up at 200°C for 12 – 20 minutes.

While the pork belly is cooking, move on to the other elements. 

Devein the prawns and remove the shells. Add a little bit of oil in a pan and cook off the shells, then add water to boil it into a fish stock – this is an optional step and adds a depth of flavour to your tom yum soup.

Remove the shells, then add the coconumt milk and tom yum paste and bring it to a simmer. 

At the same time, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. 

When you’re ready to assemble the bowls, poach the prawn flesh for less than a minute in the tom yum soup base.

Tom Yum Noodles

Putting it all together

The Warm and Zesty Tom Yum Noodle Soup should be served immediately once assembled. This recipe yields two generous portions, and you can split it into four if preferred.

Divide the noodles between two bowls. Next, cut and fan out slices of the pork belly on one side of the plate, and pile the prawns on the other side. Pour over the soup base. Make a nest at the top and drop in the raw egg yolk. Finish with coriander and slices of lime.

If you want more comforting soup inspiration, try our Air Fryer Tomato and Bean Soup with Grilled Cheese CroutonsMiso French Onion Soup (a lot easier than you think!), our wonderfully warm Sweet Corn Soup with Quick Pickled Chillies, or our healthy, quick and easy Restorative Chicken Soup, with Scissor Noodles.

Rate our Warm and Zesty Tom Yum Noodle Soup

Have you made our Warm and Zesty Tom Yum Soup? We’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Share your experience in the comments, rate the recipes, and don’t forget to tag your creations with #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with.

Tom Yum Noodles with Crispy Pork Belly

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to use a raw egg?

British poultry is produced to some of the highest standards of flockmanship globally. Eggs with the British Lion mark guarantee the hens are vaccinated against salmonella. In addition, once you drop the egg into the hot soup it will gently cook and add some creaminess to the soup.

What can I use instead of the pork belly?

Because of this recipe’s versatility, you can substitute the pork belly with my crispy chicken thigh, leftover roast chicken, or more prawns. Short on time? Try your local Chinese restaurant, or your supermarket will also stock partially cooked pork belly, which just need a quick finish in the oven

I have a shellfish allergy. Can I still make this recipe?

Yes! You can replace the prawns with any protein, like tofu, shredded cooked chicken, or stir-fried turkey mince. In this instance beef wouldn’t make a good substitute. Also, double-check the ingredients of your tom yum paste. I used a vegan-friendly paste, but check for any allergens in the ingredients list.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

No, but you can swap out the noodles with gluten-free noodles. Again, check the ingredients of the paste for allergens.

What noodles can you use for this Ultimate Tom Yum Noodle Soup?

Here we use ramen style noodles-  the quick cooking variety found in instant ramen. Traditionally, thin rice noodles or rice vermicelli are commonly used in tom yum noodle soup. These noodles are a great choice because they are light and complement the bold and spicy flavors of the soup. Rice noodles are gluten-free, which is important for those with gluten sensitivities.

To prepare the noodles for tom yum soup, you can soak them in hot water until they become tender, or you can cook them separately according to the package instructions and then add them to the soup just before serving.

Of course, personal preferences vary, so feel free to experiment with different noodle types or choose thicker rice noodles, or udon noodles if you prefer a heartier texture. 

Can I replace the tom yum paste with anything else?

Tom Yum paste is a one-of-a-kind paste created exclusively for Thai Tom Yum soups. It usually is made with aromatic fresh herbs and fragrant spices like dried red chillis, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, galangal (ginger), kaffir lime zest, white pepper, coriander seeds, and prawn paste. If you can’t find it, or a shellfish-free options, you can use Thai red curry paste.

What do I do with the egg whites?

Leftover egg whites can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to four days, or frozen for up to three months. Label them carefully, noting the number of egg whites. Defrost them overnight in the fridge, and don’t refreeze them once defrosted. Egg whites can be used to make meringues, brushed onto buns for a shiny top and to get seeds to stick to the top, for meringue icing, to make chocolate mouse instead of using gelatine, making macarons, fluffy pancakes and marshmallows, and adding a textured topping to cocktails like a gin fizz or whisky sour. 

Ultimate Tom Yum Noodle Soup
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Warm and Zesty Tom Yum Noodle Soup

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 - 4 portions


This is the perfect recipe when you want some slurpy comfort food to warm you up when the temperatures dip lower.



For the pork belly

  • 400g pork belly*
  • 1 tsp sea salt (for the rub)
  • 23 tbsp fine sea salt (for the skin)
  • 1/3 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice (or more white pepper)
  • 1 tbsp vinegar

For the tom yum base

  • 46 large prawns, deveined and shells removed (see FAQ)
  • 1 30g packet tom yum paste (Lobo brand recommended)
  • 1 tin full-fat coconut milk
  • 125g instant ramen-style noodles, or similar noodles (see FAQ)
  • 24 eggs (1 yolk per person, or see FAQ if you want to sub the yolk out)
  • 1 lime
  • Handful of coriander * Alternatives to pork and prawns are covered in our recipe FAQs above. You will also find details on making the dish gluten-free.


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 130°C.
  2. Combine white pepper, salt for the rub, and Chinese five-spice. Rub this mixture over the flesh of the pork, avoiding the skin.
  3. Lightly prick the skin of the pork all over without piercing through to the meat below.
  4. Secure the pork belly in a tight parcel of tin foil, leaving only the skin exposed.
  5. Brush the skin with vinegar and cover it with 2-3 tbsp of salt, ensuring even coverage for a crispy finish.
  6. Place the pork in the air fryer to slow cook for 45 mins.
  7. Bring 250ml of water to a boil; add tom yum paste and coconut milk. Simmer, squeeze in half a lime, and season to taste with salt or fish sauce. Set aside.
  8. Remove the pork from the air fryer, scrape off and discard the salt crust, then brush the skin with oil.
  9. Return the pork to the air fryer at 200°C and air fry for 12-20 mins until the skin puffs and turns crispy. Rest for 5-10 mins in a foil tent to keep it warm.
  10. Cut the raw prawns in half down the back and set aside.
  11. Cook noodles according to packet instructions, then drain and divide into 2 or 4 bowls, depending on the servings.
  12. Heat the tom yum base and add the prawns. Lightly poach for a minute, then remove and divide the prawns among the bowls.
  13. Slice the pork belly and add it to the noodle bowl. Finish with hot tom yum broth, lime slices, and an egg yolk per bowl. The heat of the broth will cook the yolk when stirred in. Omit the yolk if desired, or substitute with half a soft-boiled egg per bowl.
  14. Serve immediately.
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 75 min
  • Category: Soups
  • Cuisine: Thai
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