Tom yam fried rice

Today I want to write about a dish that I haven’t found on any list of foods to try in Penang. It’s a shame because it’s truly a Penang specialty and even though the name sounds Thai, I’m told that you can’t get it in Thailand. That dish is Tom Yam Fried Rice.


I got side tracked from my plan to post about Penang street food by the Chinese New Year celebrations, Hokkien New Year celebrations and Chap Goh Meh. I had some really excellent foods during the celebrations. Did you? We’ve still got a cache of red lidded jars of little cookies. That should hold us for a while — at least a week.

But Tom Yam Fried Rice is everywhere. Look around And you’re going to see that you’re within walking distance from a Tom Yam seafood sign.  And the sad thing is that if you do a search on Top foods in Penang, or Must-have foods in Penang, you will not find Tom Yam Fried Rice.  I can tell you why too.  I think it is because it doesn’t have the historical or homey nostaligia emotions associated with it.  It just seems to be out there, unobtrusively sitting there with the Wan Than Mee and the Chicken Rice.

I tell people that I had to come to Malaysia to appreciate Thai food. Tom Yam soup is great and the Thai green curry is wonderful. But those dishes fined their origin in Thailand. You needed to come to Malaysia to experience the Tom Yam Fried Rice.

I was talking with a Thai Chinese lady in Georgetown. She said that where she’s from they don’t make it at all. You have to go to a restaurant that caters to foreigners and there they make all sorts do fried rice. They m yam paste might behave something in Thailand called American fried rice. The veg is frozen mixed veggies. The sauce is ketchup.

Where can I get some?

Usually at this point I share where I get the best Tom Yam Fried Rice.  But truth be told, I haven’t had a bad one.  My kids can’t handle the heat of the dish so that’s a factor.  If you can’t handle the heat, this might not be the dish for you.  They really can’t tone down the heat of the dish by leaving out the chilis because there is still a whole lot of heat in the spice paste.

I do like the way Liang makes it at Tai San Guan aka Sizzling Chicken.  I think her to spice paste might be milder than some of the other ones I’ve had.  I also like the way Amy makes it at the Living Room Restaurant.  Now, hers is off menu, and I’ll probably get in trouble for telling you that she has it available.  But who knows, if enough people pester her to make it, she’ll eventually put it on the menu!

Tell me in the comments below if you’ve tried Tom Yam Fried Rice and where you’ve had it.