Naem khluk ("mixed naem") is a Thai salad prepared with naem. At bottom is a close-up view of the same dish.
TypeFermented sausage
Place of originNorth Eastern Thailand,[1] Laos
Serving temperatureRaw or cooked
Main ingredientsPork
Ingredients generally usedMinced beef is sometimes used
Food energy
(per 100 g serving)
185 kcal (775 kJ)
Nutritional value
(per 100 g serving)
Protein20.2 g
Fat9.9 g
Carbohydrate3.6 g

Naem (Thai: แหนม, Lao: ແໜມ, pronounced [nɛ̌ːm], also referred to as nam, nham, naem moo, som moo, naem maw, chin som)[2][3] is a pork sausage in Lao and Thai cuisine. It is a fermented food that has a sour flavor. It has a short shelf life, and is often eaten in raw form after the fermentation process has occurred. It is a popular Southeast Asian food, and different regions of Southeast Asia have various preferred flavors, including variations of sour and spicy. Naem is used as an ingredient in various dishes and is also served as a side dish.

Naem contains 185 kilocalories per 100 grams (3.5 oz) and contains a significant amount of protein, a moderate amount of fat, and minor carbohydrate content. Parasites and enteropathogenic bacteria have been found in samples of naem. Lactic acid formed during its fermentation inhibits the growth of Salmonella. Lactobacillus curvatus use in the product has been proven to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria in naem. It is sometimes irradiated to kill off parasites and pathogens. The bacterial content in Thai sour pork products is regulated.


Naem is a red-colored, semi-dry lactic-fermented pork sausage in Southeast Asian cuisine prepared using minced raw pork and pork skin, significant amounts of cooked sticky rice, chili peppers, garlic, sugar, salt and potassium nitrate.[4][5][6][7] Minced beef is sometimes used in its preparation.[6] After the mix is prepared, it is encased in banana leaves, synthetic sausage casings or tubular plastic bags and left to ferment for three to five days.[4][5] Naem has a sour quality to it due to the fermentation, in which lactic acid bacteria and yeasts grow within the sausage.[5] The lactic acid bacteria and yeasts expand by feeding upon the rice and sugar, and the use of salt prevents the meat from rotting.[5]

Naem typically has a short shelf life, which can be extended through refrigeration.[4] The sausage can be time-consuming and labor-intensive to prepare.[4] It is typically stored at room temperature, which gives it a shelf life of around one week.[4] It is produced all over Southeast Asia in slight variations.[8]

Naem is often consumed raw,[9] (after fermentation has occurred), and is often accompanied with shallot, ginger, bird's eye chili peppers and spring onions.[5] It is used as an ingredient in various dishes[10] such as naem fried with eggs, Naem khao and Naem phat wun sen sai khai, and is also consumed as a side dish and as a condiment.[11] The cooking of naem significantly changes its flavor.[9]


Naem has been described in Thailand as "one of the popular meat products of the country prepared from ground pork"[6] and as "one of the most popular traditional Thai fermented meat products".[7]


Different regions of Thailand have different preferred flavors: northern and northeastern pork is a little bit sour, central is sour, and southern is spicy. Naem mo in northern Thailand may be fermented in a clay pot.[12]

Lao som moo (left) and its use as an ingredient of Nam khao (right)

In Laos, fermented sour pork with shredded pork skin is known as som moo (sour pork). Some som moo variations also incorporate garlic and chilli peppers. Luang Prabang som moo is very popular because of its unique texture and a tasty sour flavor. Som moo can be enjoyed both as a side-dish with sticky rice, or as an ingredient for Lao crispy rice salad Nam Khao.[13]

Use in dishes

Dishes prepared with naem include naem fried with eggs, and naem fried rice.[5] Naem phat wun sen sai khai is a dish prepared with naem, glass noodles and eggs, among other ingredients such as spring onions and red pepper.[14] Nam Khao is a salad dish in Lao cuisine prepared using Lao fermented pork sausage, rice, coconut, peanuts, mint, cilantro, fish sauce, and lemon juice.[15] Naem and rice are formed into balls, deep-fried, and then served broken atop the various ingredients.[16] Serenade, a restaurant in Bangkok, makes a dish called the "McNaem", which consists of a duck egg wrapped in naem that is fried and then served with risotto, slaw, shiitake mushrooms, herbs, and cooked sea scallops atop crushed garlic.[17]

There are many applications of sour pork with different flavors such as phat phet naem (Thai: ผัดเผ็ดแหนม), tom kha naem (Thai: ต้มข่าแหนม), ho mok naem (Thai: ห่อหมกแหนม), and naem priao wan (Thai: แหนมเปรี้ยวหวาน).[18]

Nutritional content

Nutritional value per 100g
Energy774.04[19] kJ (185.00 kcal)
3.6 [19]
9.9 g [19]
20.2 g [19]
Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[20] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[21]

A serving size of 100 grams (3.5 oz) of naem has 185 kilocalories, 20.2 grams (0.71 oz) protein, 9.9 grams (0.35 oz) fat, and 3.6 grams (0.13 oz) carbohydrate.[19] According to the "Industrialization of Thai Nham" by Warawut Krusong of the King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang vitamins B1 and B2, ferric iron, and phosphorus were present in naem, quantities unspecified.[19]


Naem has on occasion been contaminated with parasites such as Taenia solium, Trichinella spiralis, and enteropathogenic bacteria such as coliform bacteria and Salmonella.[7] It has been demonstrated that Salmonella growth is inhibited by the formation of lactic acid during the fermentation process.[7] Use of the starter culture Lactobacillus curvatus has been shown to prevent "the outgrowth of pathogenic bacteria" in naem.[6] Naem is sometimes irradiated.[9]

Regulations on bacterial content

The bacterial content in Thai sour pork products is regulated. There should not be more than 0.1 grams (0.0035 oz) of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Staphylococcus aureus not more than 0.1 grams (0.0035 oz), Yersinia enterocolitica not more than 0.1 grams (0.0035 oz), Listeria monocytogenes not more than 0.1 grams (0.0035 oz), Clostridium perfringens not more than 0.1 grams (0.0035 oz), Fungi less than 10colony per gram, Trichinellaspiralis less than 100 grams (3.5 oz).[18] Bacteria at higher levels may cause sickness.[18]

See also


  1. ^ สำนักงานวัฒนธรรมจังหวัดศรีสะเกษ, กระทรวงวัฒนธรรม. "แหนมหมู". สำนักงานวัฒนธรรมจังหวัดศรีสะเกษ. กระทรวงวัฒนธรรม. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  2. ^ Doughty, K.; Lewis, L.; Books, M. (2009). Food of Asia. Murdoch Books. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-74196-419-6.
  3. ^ Saowapha Thakaew (2007-07-02). "Chin som". Lanna Food. Retrieved 2021-08-05.
  4. ^ a b c d e Applications of Biotechnology to Traditional Fermented Foods: Report of an Ad Hoc Panel of the Board on Science and Technology for International Development. National Academies Press. 1992. pp. 121–130. ISBN 978-0-309-04685-5.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Thai Food Master". Making Fermented Thai Pork Sausage. February 24, 2010. Archived from the original on 31 December 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d Hui, Y.H.; Evranuz, E.Ö. (2012). Handbook of Animal-Based Fermented Food and Beverage Technology, Second Edition. Handbook of fermented food and beverage technology. CRC Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-4398-5023-7.
  7. ^ a b c d Steinkraus 2004, pp. 721-736.
  8. ^ Toldrá, Fidel (2014). Handbook of Fermented Meat and Poultry. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 939–940. ISBN 978-1118522677.
  9. ^ a b c Satin, Morton (1996). Food Irradiation: A Guidebook, Second Edition. CRC Press. p. 131. ISBN 1566763444.
  10. ^ Ling, K.; Tsai, M.; Liew, C.; Tettoni, L. (2012). The Asian Kitchen. Tuttle Publishing. p. 385. ISBN 978-1-4629-0532-4.
  11. ^ Batt, C.A.; Robinson, R.K. (1999). Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology. Elsevier Science. p. 850. ISBN 978-0-12-384733-1.
  12. ^ Evans, B. (2008). Thai Phrasebook 6th Edition. Lonely Planet phrasebooks. Lonely Planet. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-74059-734-0.
  13. ^ Candice Chemel (May 2022). "Nems Cook or Yam Naem? A Madeleine de Proust Mo-ment". The New Gastronome. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  14. ^ "Cured Pork Fried with Glass Noodles and Egg". Thai Food Master. February 23, 2010. Archived from the original on September 16, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  15. ^ Publishing, DK (2011). Ultimate Food Journeys: The World's Best Dishes and Where to Eat Them. DK Publishing. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-7566-9588-0.
  16. ^ Bush, A.; Elliot, M.; Ray, N. (2010). Laos. Country Guide Series. Lonely Planet. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-74179-153-2. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  17. ^ Lowe, G. (2011). Cool Bangkok: Your Essential Guide to What's Hip and Happening. Your essential guide to what's hip & happening. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. p. 46. ISBN 978-981-4435-38-3.
  18. ^ a b c Praphailŏng, W. (2000). ตำรับอาหารแหนมเอกลักษณ์ไทย. Bangkok: NSTDA.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Steinkraus 2004, p. 722.
  20. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Retrieved 2024-03-28.
  21. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154.


Further reading