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Oh, Pho! Some claim your magical properties can stave off a cold, stop the flu in its tracks and help us lose five pounds in

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Seattle's Top 5 Tom Khas

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Oh, Pho! Some claim your magical properties can stave off a cold, stop the flu in its tracks and help us lose five pounds in the process. But for all the Pho-hoopla there is only one soup that will do when you've crossed the county line to Sickville and your head feels 20 pounds heavy with green awfulness. When a bizzaro virus has made your life as bleak as a Hank Wiliams song, the answer to your sorrows lies not in whiskey but in Tom Kha. Full of sinus draining chili and soothing coconut milk, this Thai staple is perfect for rainy winter evenings whether you be illin' or just plain chillin', as its potency can cut through even the worst case of gunk-coated taste buds and fill you with satisfyingly warm happiness.

Grab some tissues Snotty! The dam's about to burst! Here are five local Tom Khas that vary in style, but are guaranteed to have you breathing through your nose in no time.

Royal Palm (6417 Roosevelt Way NE #201)

The basic TKG recipe calls for fish sauce, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaf, galangal, lemongrass, palm sugar, bird's eye chilies, roasted chili paste, cilantro, and lime. Royal Palm's take on this classic soup is one of perfectly blended spices, and a floating topcoat of oily chili, making it well worth $9.95. Heat Barometer: One to four stars.

Pinto (408 Broadway East) Some of the best delivery soup I've had the pleasure to sample, Pinto's Tom Kha has just the right balance of fish sauce, coconut milk and lime making for a sweet, subtle, tanginess for $7.95. They also have a solid sushi selection perfect for when you want to double team your mucus with a big hit of Wasabi. Heat Barometer: One to five stars.

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Araya's Place (1121 NE 45th St) Araya's is an all Veg option for those who forgo the Gai. The only bad thing about Araya's stellar take out is that you miss their gorgeous tabletop presentation. In house, your soup arrives in a punchbowl-esque tureen, laden with bobbing white mushrooms, looking so delicious it will have you slapping away the hands of fellow diners all night. Heat Barometer: One to five stars.

Thai Siam (8305 15th Ave NW) Thai Siam has been on 15th Ave for 20+ years for a reason-- they are consistently awesome. They aren't afraid to bring the heat, and will offer a warning when you order 3 and 4 star dishes.The most expensive hot pot on the list, it comes in at $10.95. Pair the Tom Kha with Siam's famous black sticky rice if you're craving pleasantly sweet comfort food. Heat barometer: One to four stars.

Buddha Ruska (3520 SW Genesee Street) Few Thai restaurants receive the kind of rave reviews slathered on West Seattle's Buddha Ruska. Best known for their Garlic Chicken, you'll need to get reservations to dine in on most evenings. Fortunately, their take out service is top notch as well. The TKG at Buddha Ruska somehow manages to make each of the soup's complex flavors sing with every spoonful and balance for a nice finish. $8.95

Heat Barometer: One to four stars.

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