Pig’s Feet with Ginger in Black Vinegar

by | Oct 19, 2010 | Confinement Soups, Postpartum Soups, Winter Soups | 42 comments

Soup Name:

Pig’s Feet with Ginger in Black Vinegar, Ginger and Vinegar Trotter Soup, Pig’s Feet and Ginger Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:

猪脚姜 (zhū jiǎo jiāng)


This is the ultimate traditional confinement food (or soup) in the Cantonese cuisine repertoire.   This dish is so amazing that people eat it just for the taste and not for confinement. 

It is consumed by men and women alike because it is flavorful and delicious.  The ingredients aren’t the easiest to obtain and it is not a remotely easy dish to make, but during confinement (when the mother can eat a bowl a day), it’s worth it to make a large pot and give to friends.  Traditionally, families will make large pots of this dish and give it out to friends and family to let them know that there is a new baby. 

For more information on what confinement is and the Chinese ingredients associated with confinement, please see our Confinement Soups page.

Some things to note on the directions for this soup is that it’s more a guide, rather than a true recipe.

Since my mom is a pro at this, she doesn’t really follow measurements and simply makes it according to personal taste – so I’ve tried to adapt this recipe to that style.

Some prefer it more spicy (add more ginger), some prefer it more sour (add more black rice vinegar), some prefer it sweeter (add more sweet vinegar or brown sugar) or some prefer super hard boiled eggs (keep them boiling in the vinegar for at least 2 days).

Regardless of how your taste ventures, make sure you have a bit of spare ingredients to adjust the taste to your preference.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 60 mins

Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins (for the soup)

Total time: 2 hours 30 mins

Serves: 10 bowls


  • 1 whole pig’s feet, halved and cut into edible sections
  • 10 large pieces of old fresh ginger (roughly 5000 grams)
  • 2 large bottles of sweet vinegar (1000 mL)
  • 1 large bottle of black rice vinegar (500 mL)
  • hard-boiled eggs

Preparing the Ginger

Ginger is the highlight of this dish.  That’s what makes it so potent, effective (to drive away the wind from the body), and gives it that little bit of spicy kick.

This part needs a good 1-2 days after you’ve purchased your ginger in bulk.  Usually, when I see people buying ginger at the wet marts in bulk, we all know what’s cooking!

For this soup, the ginger pieces are kept rather large in chunks with their skin off.  Once you peel the skin, don’t throw it out!  For confinement, it is the perfect foot soak (or bathe if you’d like) for post partum.  

Ginger preparation instructions:

  1. Wash ginger and then leave to air dry for at least 1 day
  2. Peel skin off ginger and dry both skin and peeled ginger (the skin is often used for bathing and soaking feet during confinement)
  3. Cut ginger into large pieces
  4. In a pan (or wok) on high heat with no oil, fry your ginger while stirring quickly for 5 minutes
  5. Take out of wok and set aside

Preparing the Vinegar Soup Base

    Be sure to use a clay or ceramic pot for these types of soups.  Traditionally, that’s all they had back then and it does keep the flavour of the soup quite pure and can be stored in the pot and re-boiled as often as needed.  In Hong Kong, the pre-made vinegar and even the soup itself are served, stored, and sold in clay pots.  It becomes quite the workout to lug these things around!
    1. In a large clay pot, add your sweet vinegar and turn on high heat until boiling
    2. Add in prepared ginger
    3. Reduce heat to low and boil (with cover) for an hour (until ginger is cooked)
    4. Set aside until ready to add pig’s feet.  I say this because during some confinements, people will have made the ginger-vinegar soup ahead of time in preparation for the birth of the baby.

    Preparing the Pig’s Feet

      There are also 2 parts to the preparation of raw pig’s feet.  The first is to ensure the protein itself is clean and suitable for consumption.  That means removing the hairs, the tougher parts of the skin, and the nails.  The second part is to blanch it in boiling water.  Interacting with the boiling water will immediately release all the insoluble protein, blood, bone bits, and fat, rendering it ready for soup production.
      1. To remove the hair from the pig’s feet, you can either burn it off over a gas grill (with a hot flame) or using a sharp knife, scrape it off
      2. Wash thoroughly in warm water
      3. Half and cut the pig’s feet into edible sizes
      4. Wash again in warm water (to remove the grits and bones)
      5. In a pot of boiling water, blanch your pig’s feet for 5-7 mins

      Preparing the Soup

          1. When ready to eat, scoop out as much ginger-vinegar soup as you’d like to prepare for your portion of pig’s feet (so that you can continue to use, add more or keep your soup base)
          2. Put into a smaller clay pot and apply medium heat until boiling.  Add in blanched pig’s feet and black rice vinegar (to taste).  The black rice vinegar will help soften the pig’s feet more.  Add hard boiled eggs if desired.
          3. Cover and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes (or until desired softness of feet).
          4. Serve and enjoy!

      FOLLOW OUR Confinement STORIES

      A selection of confinement Chinese Soups

      What is confinement and confinement stories

      Baby 5 & 6 Confinement story

      Some confinement foods for your tummy!

      The DO's and DON'T's of confinement


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