Restaurant: Anna’s Thai Cafe in Burlington, NC

Oh, I hate mushrooms, but I love this soup! If you haven’t tried Tom Kha, I would high recommend it.

Tom Kha is a traditional Thai soup that uses coconut milk and lemongrass as predominate ingredients. There are others that come-and-go based on the specific flavor you’re going after. It’s spicy, but not uncomfortably so. In fact, it’s just about perfect if you’re congested from a cold or a killer case of allergies.

I had forgotten that Tom Kha at Anna’s was served with big fat mushroom chunks. The rich earthy flavor of mushrooms is a treasure and I accept that readily; but their texture still gets the better of me.

I looked at my friends, looked down at my soup and started fishing around.

“What are you doing?” one asked quizzically.

“You’ll see,” I answered with a playful gleam in my eye.

A few quick adjustments and I was done.

“Viola!” I said with flourish.

The two successful, thirty-something women across the table from me looked at me incredulously and then giggled. I had just successfully tackled their serious sense of decorum and propriety, and reminded them how much fun it was to play with their food.

Tom Kha FoodFace

Then I offered-up my now-famous mushrooms to my hungry friends (just because I don’t like to eat mushrooms doesn’t mean they should go to waste) and got down to business.

Tom Kha is smooth and creamy soup – a little bit of a paradox because it’s creamy and tart all at the same time (thanks to the lemongrass). As I mentioned before, expect the spices to hit your sinuses more than anything else.

By default, Anna’s serves the soup with cubed tofu, which I personally think is the perfect addition. You can order chicken and it would go along splendidly with the flavors, but the tofu supports the “lightness” of the soup.

If you’re hungry, get the chicken. It’s not going to hurt a thing.
And enjoy! Tell Anna I sent you.