Chinese soup is pretty much as old as Chinese cooking. It is an incredibly important part of every regional Chinese cuisine as they are incredibly nutritious and digestible. Soups aren’t just an appetizer like they are in Western cuisine. They are one of the main dishes for a meal, so the stock is created with care. Here is our list for the top 10 best Chinese soups for any meal:
Hot and Sour Soup 酸辣汤 Suān là tāng
Hot and Sour soup is one of the most well known Chinese soups. It originates from Sichuan province. The stock of the soup is usually meat based, using chicken or pork and contains ingredients like wood ear mushroom, bamboo, and tofu. The “hot” in the name comes from the white pepper or red peppers added before the soup is poured into the bowl and vinegar makes it “sour.” Chinese people believe the vinegar wets their appetite, making them even hungrier.
Duck’s Blood and Vermicelli Soup 鸭血粉丝汤 Yā xiě fěnsī tāng
Duck’s blood and vermicelli soup is a specialty of Nanjing. The story behind the soup is that a poor man used a bowl to hold the blood of a duck he just slaughtered and accidentally dropped vermicelli into it. He cooked them together and found them to be delicious. A rich man hired the poor man to make it for his family and it became a signature soup. The soup contains duck blood, vermicelli, dried tofu, small shrimp, duck, shallots, ginger and sesame oil.
Wonton Soup 馄饨汤 Húntún tāng
Wonton soup is most popular in Cantonese regions where they add very thin noodles to the soup. The soup itself is a hot broth garnished with a leafy vegetable and wontons. The classic Cantonese style features shrimp wontons, but other meats and vegetables can be used as well. The noodles that are added should have no taste themselves so they can absorb the taste of the soup. While it seems like a simple soup, the exact process to making a good wonton noodle soup is very complicated.
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall 佛跳墙 Fútiàoqiáng
Created by a famous chef from Fuzhou during the Qing Dynasty, Buddha Jumps Over the Wall is rich in taste and high in quality. The name comes from the idea of vegetarian Buddhist Monks jumping over their temple walls to eat this meat soup because it’s so good. The ingredients include quail eggs, bamboo shoots, shark fin, sea cucumber, scallops, chicken, pork, ginseng, mushroom and taro. Nowadays, due to shark fin controversy, this soup can be made without it.
Imitation Shark Fin Soup 碗仔翅 Wǎn zǐ chì
Although Shark Fin soup is on the decline for environmental and animal cruelty reasons, you can still eat Imitation Shark Fin Soup guilt free. This is another Cantonese soup that is typically sold by street vendors. While typical shark fin soup is expensive, the imitation soup is cheap and a good vegetarian alternative. The soup uses bean noodles and ingredients like casein, triolein and gelatin to imitate the taste of Shark fin.
Tomato and Egg Soup 番茄蛋汤 Fānqié dàn tāng
One of the more popular soups you can find in common households, tomato and egg soup is very easy to make. While the soup is just a few ingredients (most of which are in the name), the soup is high in nutritional value. The soup is simply made of water, green onions, tomato and egg.
Winter Melon Soup 冬瓜汤 Dōngguā tāng
Often served at Chinese banquets, winter melon soup is typically sweeter. It is served hot, but has an odd yet pleasant cooling effect from the melon. In addition to winter melon in the soup, often there is a kind of meat added, like spare ribs, pork or chicken, along with carrots, tofu and mushrooms.
Slow Cooked Soup 老火汤 Lǎo huǒ tāng
Slow Cooked Soup or Lao Huo Tang is a clear broth that is slowly simmered over hours while ingredients are added to be cooked. Chinese herbs are used to add flavor to the broth itself while ingredients like
Red Bean Soup 红豆汤 Hóngdòu tāng
Red bean soup is classified as a Chinese sweet soup. It is made from Azuki red beans and is served cold in the summer and hot in the winter as a dessert. Other ingredients like rock sugar, dried tangerine peels and lotus seeds are added to sweeten the soup. In Cantonese cuisine, tapioca, coconut milk and glutinous rice are also added. The left over red beans can be used to frozen ice pop.
Black Sesame Soup 芝麻糊 Zhīma hú
Another Chinese dessert soup is Black Sesame Soup. While it may just look like black liquid, it is quite sweet and has the consistency of pudding. It’s made from black sesame seeds, water, rice and sugar. Sometimes, tangyuan are added to it as well. It is typically served hot and you can even purchase it in powdered form to make yourself at home.
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