As the weather gets colder and we round the corner into winter, soup is on the top of my comfort food list.
I used to be a hot and sour soup person. It was the tanginess and variety of vegetables that made me fall in love; the heat of the chili was always a reliable warm up.
While I still enjoy a good hot and sour recipe — I crave Tom Yum soup. Specifically, the one from my favorite restaurant in town: Naing Myanmar Family Restaurant. Its version of Tom Yum is chock full of vegetables: mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, some sort of radish and onion. Add a generous helping of chicken and rice noodles in a bowl full of broth and you’ve got the best soup in town. I get mine medium spiced — the lowest level of spice for this particular soup. There is enough in one bowl to share, but I won’t fault you for keeping it all to yourself.
Let’s talk about that broth. For the non-vegetarian soup, they start with housemade chicken broth and include coconut milk, lemongrass, lemon leaf, lime juice, baby ginger and, finally, the various spices. While other places may just use water as a base, the chicken broth chef Mi Thanda uses makes this soup’s flavor much deeper. This isn’t a thick soup, but the richness of flavor is astounding. Thanda said she goes by the smell of the broth first, then taste.
I found out recently I am not the only one with a Tom Yum obsession. Naing’s owner, Moe Naing Israel, said people in Lansing are, “Tom Yum crazy. Some people come in twice a week to get this soup.”
Added benefit of Tom Yum: It cures what ails you. Why does soup make you feel better when you’re under the weather? I don’t know. But if you have that sinus drainage that kills the back of your throat, or if you wake up with the sniffles, get some of this soup in your body.
Naing Myanmar is not a restaurant you go to for a quick meal. Every dish is made fresh and takes serious time to prepare. If you find you don’t want to have soup, other interesting menu options include fried bottle gourd, which comes with a spicy garlic dip, and maggi goreng: think Malaysian stir fry noodles, veggies and meats.
Naing Myanmar Family Restaurant Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 3308 S. Cedar St. #3, Lansing (857) 615-8393