Header image courtesy of Mak Mak
Originally published by Ching Yuen. Last updated by Jen Paolini.
Aromatic and delicious, tom yum goong is arguably the flavour that best represents Thailand and is the most famous soup from their regional cuisine. A variation of lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves, as well as other herbs, form the soup base.
Depending on how each chef cooks it, a selection of seafood will also be mixed in, but the common ingredient is most definitely shrimp. Check out our top picks for the best tom yum goong in Hong Kong—live free and Thai hard!
If there’s one restaurant in Hong Kong that’ll make you want to hit up the tropical isles of Thailand, it’s the beach-hugging Sip Song out in sunny Repulse Bay. Decked out in glowing colours and vivid floral patterns, the interiors will have your heart screaming for summer holidays and your tongue craving for spice. Its tom yum goong ($135) is an aromatic hot and sour soup, made with massive tiger prawns, mushrooms, shallots, and galangal.
Sip Song, Shop 114 & 115, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay | (+852) 2898 3788
Located in Kowloon City, Cambo Thai is popular with local residents for its authentic flavours and fresh ingredients. Its tom yum goong ($128) comes in a massive bowl for sharing, with huge chunks of prawn meat bobbing to the top. Although the décor is on the rustic side, it is still a great spot for a genuine Thai meal at a very reasonable price.
Cambo Thai Restaurant (金寶泰國菜館), 25 Nga Tsin Long Road, Kowloon City | (+852) 2716 7318
A retro replica of a Thai shophouse in the 1960s, Mak Mak is comprised of two spaces with distinctly different purposes. It features a storefront that resembles a classic Thai grocery store, and an airy “Thai residence-style” dining area that seats 60 diners hidden behind it. Mak Mak’s tom yum goong ($178) is a hot and sour broth with tiger prawns, straw mushrooms, Thai herbs, and fresh chillies. Mak Mak also puts the spotlight on the vegetables and herbs used, as everything is natural with no artificial additives whatsoever.
Mak Mak, Shop 217A, 2/F, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central | (+852) 2983 1003
With the ambience of a lively Eastern spice market, Spices serves fresh, sustainable, and authentic cuisine in a beautiful and tasteful setting. Located in Repulse Bay with a view of the sea and horizon, their tom yam kung ($126) packs a punch with chilli and spice, and goes well with the seafood and prawns. It may seem like a bit of a trek, going all the way to Repulse Bay for tom yum goong, but you can definitely make a day trip out of it if the weather is nice. You can chill by the beach, do a bit of sunbathing, read a book, or grab a drink at the neighbouring bars!
Spices Restaurant, 109 Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay | (+852) 2292 2821
Chao Phraya (昭拍耶) is the name of a restaurant as well as a Thai supermarket, meaning “mother of rivers” in Thai—named, of course, after the most famous river in the country! Its owner operates one of the biggest Thai supermarkets in Kowloon City and also manages Chao Phraya, which offers authentic Thai cuisine, such as the tom yum soup ($138), served in a steel pot with a funnel down the middle to keep the soup boiling hot!
Chao Phraya, 19 Lung Kong Road, Kowloon City | (+852) 2382 4855
It is easy to miss 666 Boat Noodle (666泰船麵) if you are not paying attention to where you are going, but if all else fails, just follow the scent of Thai spices! Although the restaurant focuses on boat noodles, their seafood with tom yum goong soup ($61) is surprisingly good. You can have the soup on its own with pieces of fish, fishballs, and prawns, or you can choose to have it as a soup base for your boat noodles!
Thai Chiu (泰潮) is a famous Thai restaurant chain in Hong Kong, having made an appearance in the Bib Gourmand section of the Michelin Guide Hong Kong. Its tom yum goong ($88) not only comes with a selection of seafood, but is also served with juicy pork balls made in-house. It comes to your table in a steel vessel with a funnel down the middle, which keeps the soup boiling; you just have to wait for the soup toppings to float by the section nearest your seat!
Everyone knows that Kowloon City is the place to go for Thai supermarkets, dried goods, and authentic Thai restaurants. One such establishment, Orange Elephant Thai, offers a killer tom yum goong soup ($86) at an unbeatable price. A relatively spicy rendition of the traditional tom yum goong, Orange Elephant Thai produces a version that has more condensed flavours—it’s bound to clear your sinuses with its heat! Although the restaurant operates multiple branches across the city, we would recommend their OG location in Kowloon City.
You don’t necessarily have to go all the way out to Kowloon City for quality Thai food, as Siam 28 in Causeway Bay can sort you out right in the heart of the city. The restaurant is a modern and trendy venue that has retained a Siamese spirit from days past. Its tom yum goong ($109) is bound to fill you up, as it comes with a good assortment of seafood such as mussels, shrimp, squid, and fishcakes.
Siam 28, 28/F, Macau Yat Yuen Centre, 525 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 3421 0472
As you can probably tell from its name, Siam Noodles specialises in Thai boat noodles, but its tom yum soup base is nothing to sniff at. You can pick your own soup base and main topping for your boat noodles, customising everything to your liking. Popular toppings range from Angus beef and Wagyu beef to abalones and even lobsters. If you feel like splurging, the whole Boston lobster tom yum goong boat noodle ($189) would be the one to go for!