The ultimate guide to eating this delectable condiment.
Love soups when the weather gets cold? There’s something so satisfying about sitting with a hot bowl in front of the tv with the heater on and a blanket over your knees. Maybe it’s warming your insides and outsides at the same time. Soup is a really tasty way to flood your body with nutrients. Boiling vegetables and meats is a great way to keep the nutrients and minerals in the food, especially if you use fresh ingredients. It’s also a great way to use leftover food and random veggies you’ve got floating around your fridge, which helps reduce food waste.
If you’ve grown up in a western household, chances are you think of pumpkin or pea and ham or chicken noodle when people ask if you want a whole bowl of something. But more and more these days, people are turning to Asian soups instead. Just look at the growth in popularity of ramen and pho over the last decade.
So as the weather gets properly cold and you start looking longingly at your fireplace, we’ve found some alternatives to your childhood favourites.
Chicken noodle soup maybe the most consumed broth in the world. If you’ve had a cold or the flu, you’ve had chicken soup. It’s so synonymous with helping people feel better there’s a series of self-help books called chicken soup for the soul. Asian cuisines are all over the combination of chicken and noodles floating in broth.
Asian alternative: Pho
The Vietnamese noodle soup Pho is chock full of cloves, star anise, coriander seed, fennel, cinnamon, black cardamom, ginger and onion. It’s also made from boiling meat bones, so it’s packed with nutrients and minerals and other goodies like collagen. If you haven’t tried it yet, head down to your local Vietnamese and give it a go.
Other options include Jitang (Chinese chicken noodle soup) and Bakso (the Indonesian variety).
Pea and ham soup
This classic English soup is so popular in the UK it’s even had a weather phenomenon named after it (a real “pea souper” is a very heavy fog). Made with ham hock and bacon bones, it’s a hearty, meaty soup coloured a vivid green by the peas. If you love this soup, here are some Asian options.
Asian alternative: Chinese winter melon and pork rib soup
This delicious soup is also a healthy one. Winter melon is high in dietary fibre which can improve blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol and lipid levels, rich in vitamin B1 and B2 and high in potassium salt. The pork rib adds some richness of flavour and a delicious meaty punch.
Szechuan salted vegetables and pork soup is a delicious and different option, while pork meatball and noodle soups offer a more conventional Asian experience.
This classic French soup is made from a stock of prawn heads and fish carcass before being enriched with rouille and fresh seafood.
Asian alternative: Goatgaetang
This incredible Korean soup starts with a broth of sea kelp, radish and daikon, and is packed full of shellfish and chilli. It’s eye-poppingly delicious and quite extravagant depending on the seafood you use. West Australian marron is a delicate yet meaty choice, while you can never go wrong with crab. This will keep you warm at night and put hair on your chest, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
Japanese seafood soup cooked in a donabe (basically a clay hotpot) is another delightful choice, while Vietnamese bun rieu works as well.