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Asian soups
Miso Soup 001.jpg
A bowl of miso soup

Soups in East Asian culture are eaten as one of the main dishes in a meal or in some cases served straight with little adornment, particular attention is paid to the soups' stocks. In the case of some soups, the stock ingredients become part of the soup. They are usually based solely on broths and lacking in dairy products such as milk or cream. If thickened, the thickening usually consists of refined starches from corn or sweet potatoes.

Asian soups are generally categorized as either savoury or sweet. The quality of a savoury soup is determined mainly by its fragrance and umami or "xian" flavour, as well as, to a lesser extent, its mouthfeel. Sweet soups such as tong sui are enjoyed for their aroma, mouthfeel, and aftertaste. Many soups are eaten and drunk as much for their flavour as for their health benefits and touted for their purported revitalizing or invigorating effects.

In Chinese language, noodle soups are generally considered a noodle dish instead of a soup, as evidenced by the fact that they are called "soup noodles" (湯麵), with 'soup' being an adjective, in contrast with "dry noodles" (乾麵).

Cultural significance

Many soups are consumed as a partial restorative and heavily linked with theories from traditional Chinese medicine. Exotic rarities like tiger penis soup fall in this category. There are many varieties of such tonic soups, ranging from pungent to light in flavour, and from savoury to sweet.[1] Some soups of the same name may consist of different recipes due to regional preferences or differences. Such soups commonly contain one or more meats (typically pork or chicken), vegetables, and medicinal herbs.

Traditional soup bases


See also: List of Chinese soups

A bowl of wonton noodle soup
A bowl of wonton noodle soup

There are several basic traditional soup stocks in Chinese cuisine:[2]

Ingredients used in making Chinese stocks can be recooked again to produce a thinner broth with less intense flavours, known as ertang (二汤; 二湯; èr tāng; 'second soup').


Main article: Dashi

Collectively known as dashi, most Japanese soup bases are flavoured primarily with kombu (kelp) and shavings from dried skipjack tuna (katsuobushi). They are soaked or simmered to release the umami flavours of the shavings, and the resulting broth is strained. Mirin is occasionally added to the broth to further enhance the taste of the broth.


Korean broth is collectively known as yuksu(K: 육수 T: 肉水). Although the literal definition is meaty water, yuksu can be used to include broth made by vegetable equivalent. Each kinds of broth will be used for diverse range of Korean soup.

A bowl of seolleongtang
A bowl of seolleongtang


Main article: List of Indonesian soups

A bowl of sayur asem with tamarind-based soup
A bowl of sayur asem with tamarind-based soup

In Indonesian cuisine, there are numbers of traditional soup-bases to create kuah (soup or stock); either acquired from vegetables, spices, meat or bones.


The soup bases are used to cook a large variety of soups

American Chinese cuisine

In American-Chinese restaurants some of the most popular soups are: egg drop soup, hot and sour soup, wonton soup, and chicken with corn soup.



Main article: List of Indonesian soups

Soto ayam, Indonesian counterpart of chicken soup.
Soto ayam, Indonesian counterpart of chicken soup.

Indonesian soups are known to be flavoursome with generous amount of bumbu spice mixture. Indonesian cuisine has a diverse variety of soups.[8] Some Indonesian soups may be served as a separate whole meal,[8] while others are lighter.[9]

Generally Indonesian soups and stews are grouped into three major groups with numbers of variants in between.

  1. Soto refer to variety of Indonesian traditionally spiced meat soups, either in clear broth or in rich coconut milk-base soup, example includes soto ayam.
  2. Sayur refer to traditional vegetables stews, such as sayur asem.
  3. Sop or sup usually refer to soups derived from western influences, such as sop buntut.



A bowl of canh chua
A bowl of canh chua

Vietnamese cuisine features two basic categories of soup: noodle soups and broths (Vietnamese: canh).

Noodle soups are enjoyed for both breakfast and dinner. Popular noodle soups include phở, rice vermicelli (bún bò Huế, bún mọc, bún ốc, Bún riêu cua, bún suông, etc.), (mì Quảng in Quảng Nam Province), bánh canh, bánh đa cua (in Hai Phong province), nui, and hủ tiếu.

Broths are thin and generally made from vegetables and spices. They are typically eaten over steamed rice in ordinary lunches and dinners. Common broths include canh chua rau đay and canh chua cá lóc.

Hot pot (lẩu) is a popular traditional soup in Vietnam. Mushroom hot pot was popularized by the Ashima Restaurant chain in Vietnam.

A thick, sweet, porridge-like soup called chè is eaten as a snack.


The most commonly used herbs, which are believed to be mildly invigorating, restorative, or immune-stimulating in nature, include wild yam (Dioscorea polystachya), Astragalus membranaceus, Codonopsis pilosula, Angelica sinensis, wolfberry, and jujube.[11] Ginseng and lingzhi are used less frequently, due to their comparatively higher price.

Many specific recipes for tonic soups using other herbs exist. Some of the best-known are:


A pot of samgyetang (Korean chicken ginseng soup)
A pot of samgyetang (Korean chicken ginseng soup)

The Asian soup noodle is a large portion of long noodles served in a bowl of broth. In comparison, western noodle soup is more of a soup with small noodle pieces. The former dish is dominated by the carbohydrate while the latter dish is dominated by the soup liquid.

See also


  1. ^ "尊生堂中醫診所 中醫常用處方箋". Archived from the original on 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2006-12-14.
  2. ^ 高汤的不同做法, 2012-06-25, archived from the original on 2013-10-23
  3. ^ Sharon Lee. "Common Ingredients - Chinese Soup Pot". Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  4. ^ 吊汤要添加鸡肉蓉、猪肉蓉的原理, 煲汤网, 2012-12-27
  5. ^ Diào tāng yào tiānjiā jīròu róng, zhūròu róng de yuánlǐ 開水白菜 大揭秘 [Hanging soup to add chicken Rong, pork Rong principle], 新華網, 2005-07-20, archived from the original on 2013-10-22
  6. ^ "A Soto Crawl". Eating Asia. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  7. ^ "40 of Indonesia's best dishes". CNN Travel. August 9, 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  8. ^ a b Cornell, K.; Anwar, M. (2004). Cooking the Indonesian Way: Culturally Authentic Foods Including Low-fat and Vegetarian Recipes. Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbooks 2nd Edition. Ebsco Publishing. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-8225-2157-0. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  9. ^ Yuen, D. (2013). Indonesian Cooking: Satays, Sambals and More. Tuttle Publishing. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-4629-0853-0. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  10. ^ Vaidya, Tulasī Rāma; Mānandhara, Triratna; Joshi, Shankar Lal (1993). Social History of Nepal. Anmol Publications. p. 148. ISBN 9788170417996.
  11. ^ "A List of Chinese Herbs for Herbal Soups". Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "热呼呼的养身汤,冬天了该滋润一下啦 - 圈子文章 - 根本网". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-12-14.
  14. ^ "Recipe_bottom". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2006-12-14.
  15. ^ "玉屏风散加味功效的物质基础". Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  16. ^ "蒙医药信息网". Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2006-12-14.
  17. ^ "歡迎光臨春暉醫星球". Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2022.