Bitter Melon and Crab Meat Stew

Soup Name: Bitter Melon and Crab Meat Stew

Traditional Chinese Name: 苦瓜蟹肉羹 (kǔguā Xiè ròu gēng)


I saw this in a magazine article one day and since I’ve recently developed a love for bitter melon (made only either with black bean and garlic sauce or mashed up in soups), I really wanted to try this out.  So I rushed to a wet mart after work and purchased 2 things (bitter melon and fake crab meat) and then made this in a whopping 20 minutes and it tasted fabulous!   It’s hearty enough that it eats like a meal, is super tasty and helps cool down the body in this dreaded heat (even though we’re technically in Autumn).

What ingredients are required?

2 fresh bitter melon (long ones are said to be less bitter than fat, round ones), seeded and chopped
15 pieces of fake crab, sliced lengthwise (or use real crab meat if you have it available)
3 fresh chicken eggs, scrambled
1/2 L of chicken broth
1 L of water
soy sauce for garnish (optional)

How do I prepare it?

  1. Rinse, seed and chop bitter melon into small pieces (doesn’t matter how ugly or ill-shaped as you’re going to blend it anyway)
  2. In boiling water, boil the bitter melon for about 10 minutes on high heat (or until soft)
  3. Set aside and in a blender, blend the bitter melon with 1/2 cup of the boiled water (to keep it moist and use as the soup base)
  4. Pour out the blended bitter melon into a clean pot
  5. Add chicken broth and boil on medium heat for 5 minutes
  6. Add in fake crab meat and boil for another 1-2 minutes
  7. Crack all eggs and scramble in a bowl.  While stirring the soup, slowly drizzle the egg into the soup ensuring consistency and that the egg doesn’t clump
  8. Boil on medium heat for another 5 minutes
  9. Serve and add a few drops of soy sauce if required

Any benefits?

  • Easy to make soup (not so easy to clean the equipment though)
  • Helps reduce heatiness and cleanse the body of toxins
  • Is said to help reduce acne, cold sores and other heaty conditions in the body
  • Aids in digestion and stimulating appetite
  • Excellent source of anti-cancer agents and improves the immune system

Any precautions?

  • Consume with caution if pregnant (especially in the first trimester) as it is a pretty cooling soup (and can cause contractions)
  • Be sure to remove all the seeds (as they are toxic)


Bitter Melon sliced open before seeding (use a tablespoon to scrape out the seeds & fiber)


Boil the bitter melon so that it becomes soft before blending

You can consider partially blending the bitter melon to give it a variety of texture and sizes

Fake Crab Meat

Ingredient Name: Crab stick, fake crab meat, imitation crab meat, imitation crab

Traditional Chinese Name: 魚漿 (yú jiāng)

What is this?

  • A finely processed seafood made from fish that tastes and looks like crab leg meat
  • It is usually made from Alaska Pollock with crab flavoring and red coloring to give it the color it has
  • They are made cooked and can be eaten cold and from the package
  • They are soft, slightly chewy and stringy in texture
  • Crab sticks are often used in salads, hot pots, sushi, and various other Asian dishes

How do I prepare it?

  • Remove from package
  • Rinse in warm water
  • Use directly as is

Where can I buy this?

  • Most supermarkets will carry this product (even Western ones)

What is the cost

  • Imitation crab is very affordable
  • On average a package of 10-12 sticks (about 454 g) cost around $20 HKD

Any benefits?

  • It is lower in cholesterol than real crab, easier to buy and always in season
  • Imitation crab is already pre-cooked, so it is great for quick boil soups to give it extra flavoring and texture

Any precautions?

  • Eat in moderation as it is a processed food
  • Imitation crab meat contains a lot of carbohydrates (which contribute to blood sugar fluctuation)
  • The meat also contains MSG or flavor enhancers, so consume in moderation

Additional Information

  • You can store fresh, packaged crab meat in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months
  • Best to use before the expiry date (as it is usually labeled on the package)