Soup’s On: Kitchen 79’s Tom Sabb Ka Moo
When you want something soupy, and you’re trying to avoid noodles but aren’t quite feeling bone broth (I’m still not getting the big deal with this craze beyond convenience–I spent less than $15 and 15 minutes prepping an enormous supply of chicken broth two weekends ago and have since moved onto what I’m calling beef broth but is really oxtail soup) Thai soups can be one way to go.
The tom sabb ka moo/hot and spicy pork knuckle soup at Kitchen 79 looks unassuming. The light amber broth is broken up by a floating slices of mushroom and pale red onion, the only edible vegetable matter. This bright soup is about the aromatics, filled with jagged strips of nearly medicinal galangal and citrusy from lime juice and woody spirals of lemongrass–and far spicier than the pale hue lets on.
You have to do a lot of fishing around to get a solid sip, free of organic debris. And even more so, depending on your tolerance for soft pork rinds. I like the rubbery, gelatinous skin encasing the wedges of meat, but I’ve seen others leaving the flab behind with the other tough-to-chew additions.
At $13, the pork knuckle soup is meant to share and easily fills four of the small glass bowls.
It may sound strange to call a pork-based soup light. Tom sabb ka moo, however, is a quick-simmered broth, nowhere near the intensity–in time or richness–of a Japanese tonkotsu broth. Now that I’ve worked my way through poultry and beef, I may tackle a similar porky soup at home next.