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A platter of braised pork bones in a spicy garlicky broth with lime wedges on the side.

Thai Spicy Pork Bones Soup - "Leng Saeb"

A Thai street food featuring an impressive "mountain" of pork bones with meat that's fall-off-the-bone tender. Served with a spicy, garlicky pork broth that is to die for. Gluten free.
Servings 4 servings


For the pork stock:

  • 3 lb pork neck or back bones, see note 1
  • 3.7 qt water
  • Half an onion, large dice, see note 2
  • Half a head garlic, peeled and smashed
  • ½ tsp white peppercorns, cracked
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce

For the Leng Saeb Broth

  • 2 cups pork stock, from above
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce, approx
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 3-4 Thai chilies, seeds removed if needed
  • cup chopped cilantro, if you have sawtooth coriander, you can add it too
  • Jasmine rice for serving


  1. You can buy pork neck bones or back bones at Chinese butchers or grocery stores. Choose neck bones if you can, as they tend to have more meat. Alternatively, you can use pork ribs. See more info in the FAQ above.
  2. If you have daikon radish, you can add about 2 cups of peeled and large diced daikon to the broth either instead of, or in addition to, the onion.


To make the pork stock

  • In a large stock pot add the bones and cover with the water. Add the soy sauce and the fish sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until a significant amount of scum collects on top. Skim off the scum and discard.
    3 lb pork neck or back bones, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp fish sauce, 3.7 qt water
  • Add the onions, garlic, and peppercorns and simmer for another 1.5 hours or until the meat is fork tender. If water dries up too quickly, top it off just until the bones are submerged.
    Half an onion, Half a head garlic, ½ tsp white peppercorns

To make the Saeb broth

  • Take 2 cups of the pork stock and bring to a boil in a small pot. Keep the pork bones in the broth to keep them moist until ready to serve. Meanwhile pound the chilies in a mortar and pestle until broken into bits or finely chop them.
    2 cups pork stock, 3-4 Thai chilies
  • Once the broth is boiling, turn off the heat and immediately add the garlic and chilies. Season with the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice, then taste and add more fish sauce if needed. (How much fish sauce depends on how far your stock reduced, so you have to taste and adjust here.) When ready to serve, stir in the cilantro.
    3 Tbsp lime juice, 1 Tbsp fish sauce, 2 tsp sugar, 3 Tbsp chopped garlic, ⅔ cup chopped cilantro

To serve

  • Arrange the pork bones into a big pile on a platter that has enough depth to it to hold the broth. Ladle the seasoned broth over the pork, allowing the garlic and the chilies to rest on the bones.
    Serve with jasmine rice. You can use a spoon and fork to pick the meat off of the bones, but feel free to use your hands when needed. The broth is the best part of this, so be sure to sip on that as you eat, and drench your rice with it!
    *You can save the remaining broth for noodle soups. They will last in the fridge for about a week, and will freeze indefinitely.
    Jasmine rice for serving
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