Tom Saap (Thai Pork Ribs Hot and Sour Soup)

Asian Soups

Tom saap really showcases the fragrant depths that fresh lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime can add to Thai soups. It's also super simple to make at home.

Tom Saap is a simple Thai pork ribs hot and sour soup that really showcases the fragrant depths that fresh lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves can add to soups. It was one of the few recipes in my book, The Thai Soup Secret, that I nailed on my first attempt during the recipe testing phase. It was so flavorful that I even surprised myself.

To make sure I wasn’t deceiving myself I asked a friend who had just stopped by at that moment to taste it. The look on his face after that first spoonful told me everything I needed to know. His eyes closed, his head tilted back, his breath deepened and he let out little groans of delight. I knew at that moment this recipe needed no further testing.  

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I like Tom Saap best with a light and clear broth though richer broths are common too. For a light broth, using water as a base is preferable to a previously made pork broth as the pork ribs will create a light broth upon simmering.

The seasonings here really bring everything together at the end. As this is typically a hot and sour soup, lime juice and chiles are often added liberally. If you love spicy, add some freshly chopped bird’s eye chilies with the kaffir lime leaves! Otherwise, just add some chile flakes at the end, to taste, along with the lime juice and other seasonings.

Tom Saap (Thai Pork Ribs Hot and Sour Soup)

thai pork ribs hot and sour soup

Tom Saap Recipe

Tom Saap is a simple broth-based Thai soup that really showcases the fragrant depths that fresh lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves can add to soups.

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Craig Fear


Seasonings, to taste


  1. Slice spareribs into 2-3 inch pieces.
  2. Add spareribs and pork broth or water to a stock pot, bring to a boil and skim scum that forms on the surface. Once broth or water boils, reduce to a simmer and then add lemongrass, galangal, garlic and shallots and simmer for about an hour until the spareribs are tender.
  3. In the last ten minutes, add the kaffir lime leaves and simmer about 10 minutes.  Strain or discard the lemongrass and galangal, optional.
  4. Ladle into bowls and add seasonings, to taste.
  5. Serve with a side of jasmine rice, optional.

More Thai Soup Recipes to Try

Tom Saap, Thai pork ribs hot and sour soup
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About the Author

Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.

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