Wintermelon with Lotus Leaf and Corn in Pork Broth

Soup Name: Wintermelon with Lotus Leaf and Corn in Pork Broth

Traditional Chinese Name:  冬瓜湯 (dōng guā tāng)

There is one particular day in the summer where the Chinese call it the “hottest day of the month”. This is the soup for that day. When I went to the wet market that morning and wanted to make another soup, my veggie vendor told me to make this soup – without a doubt. It’s a cooling, heat-reducing soup for those really stuffy, hot days in the summer.  You can use either pork or chicken (or both) and it may need a bit of salt because all the ingredients are mildly flavored, but it still tastes slightly sweet and natural without the salt.


What Ingredients are required?

1 pound of pork shin or pork bones
1 slice of wintermelon, sliced with skin on
2 fresh corn, kernals sliced
70 g of fresh gingko bilobas
70 g dried lily seeds
1 large piece of fresh lotus leaf
2 L of water
salt to taste

How do I prepare it?

  1. Blanch pork in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes
  2. Drain pork and set aside
  3. Rinse wintermelon and slice with the skin on each piece
  4. (Optiona) Cut corn into large pieces or slice kernals from the cob
  5. Rinse gingko bilobas and lotus seeds into warm water
  6. Start to boil your soup water
  7. When your soup water is boiling, add all the ingredients together (including the kernal-less cobs)
  8. Boil on medium heat for 1 hour and set in a thermal pot for another 3 hours
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • This soup is excellent for cooling down the body and heat from hot summer days

Any precautions?

  • Women in their first trimester of pregnancy should avoid as it is an extremely cooling soup and may cause contractions
  • Melon soups are best consumed within same day as keeping melon soups overnight or over an extended period will make the melons sour (and so will your soup!)

Similar soups:


Pork Ribs

Ingredient Name:  Pork Ribs (Fresh)

Traditional Chinese Name:  豬肋骨(zhū lèi gǔ)

What is this?

  • Pork ribs is the part of the pork where the ribs are (usually in the upper chest cavity area)
  • This cut contains both meat and bones
  • Depending on where the ribs are cut, you can get baby back ribs or spare ribs (both are OK for soups)
  • The meat in its raw state is tough and lean with some fat content (depending again how it is cut)
  • When cooked, it is soft and is usually eaten with soy sauce and will fall off the bone (yum!)

How do I prepare it?

  • Simply wash with cool water
  • Blanching is required when used in soups
  • You can cut the ribs into either singular ribs or in multiple ribs (not too large though, at most 2 bones kept together)

Where can I buy this?

  • You can buy this in any supermarket
  • In Asian supermarkets, you can purchase them by weight and request the size of cut you want

What is the cost?

  • Pork ribs costs around $30 HKD for 200 grams

Any benefits?

  • Pork contains many nutrients (including 6 essential vitamins)
  • It is a good source of iron, zinc, Vitamin B6 and protein
  • It is said to be a healthier red meat substitute over beef
  • This cut is lean and has a low amount of fat

Any precautions?

  • Pork must be cooked thoroughly before consumption as there is still a potential risk of salmonella
  • Consumption of meat must be done in moderation

Additional Information?

  • Pork ribs can be kept frozen for up to 3 months
  • Fresh pork ribs should be consumed within 4 days

Papaya Pork Soup

Soup Name: Papaya Pork Soup

Chinese Name: 木瓜湯 (mù gua tāng)


Putting fruit into Chinese soups adds a wonderful sweetness and texture.   Papaya is commonly used in either fish or pork-based soups.   This is a simple papaya pork soup that is quick and simple to make and great for children.  My own kids love to eat the soft and warm papaya fruit directly from the soup so this has become a common, nutritious soup we can make quickly and know they will enjoy.

What Ingredients are required?

How do I prepare it?

  1. Soak the apricot kernels and dried scallops in room temperature water for 30 minutes
  2. Peel and remove the seeds from the papaya and cut into large cubes
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. Blanch pork shank in a separate pot of boiling water
  5. Add in the above ingredients and bring to a boil
  6. Simmer for at least one hour until pork if soft
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • High in vitamin C and folate (from the papayas)
  • Neutral soup that is ideal for children and toddlers
  • Simple to make

Pig’s Feet

Pig’s Feet

Pig’s Feet

Ingredient Name

Pig’s Feet, Pig Trotter

Traditional Chinese Name:  

猪脚 (zhū jiǎo)


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The Chinese use ALL parts of the pig and the feet are no exception.  They can be used in stews, soups and various Chinese dishes – but is most commonly used with the use of black vinegar and ginger (usually prepared for Chinese confinement).

This is literally, the foot of the pig, hair and all!  You buy them from the wet mart as you see them and it’s quite a sight the first time you see or buy them.

This cut of the pork tends to be bony and low in fat and is an amazing source of collagen. 

This part of the pork contains large bones and a thick skin (sometimes with hair).  They also do sometimes come with the hooves of the pig, which you can chop off (similar to the nails of the whole chicken).

Where can you buy pig’s feet?

  • All wet marts in Hong Kong will sell them (sometimes you may have to pre-order them because of limited quantities).  They come more “raw” and you’ll need more work preparing them.  One leg costs around $50 HKD, but will vary by weight and size.
  • In Canada, I find them in Chinese supermarkets.  They will cut them for you and usually package them as well.




How to prepare pig’s feet:

  1. Make sure the legs are chopped into 2 inch pieces, it’s much easier to manage
  2. To start, I remove as much hair from the skin as possible.  The first way is to torch it off if you have a cooking torch or a gas stove.  You can just lightly burn off as much as you can.
  3. Then you can use a sharp knife and scrape any remaining hair or loose skin from the feet.
  4. At this point, I will scrub the legs in running cold, while preparing a pot of slightly salted hot water to blanch the meat in.
  5. Once the water boils, throw in your pig’s feet and flash boil for 5 minutes.  Enough so that the extra blood, bones, and debris all bubble away, but not to fully cook it
  6. To create a more fragrant flavour in the pork, you can either bake them or pan-fry them with some oil and ginger (to remove the raw taste).  This will allow the skin to crisp and become more flavourful in your dish.

Why do the Chinese love pig’s feet?

    I think it’s definitely an acquired taste, but once you do get the hang of it, it’s delicious.  You can make this with the popular black vinegar sauce, but also in soy sauce. 

    This protein does take awhile to soften, so stews and soups are the best to allow the skin and meat to become loose.  You’ll also notice that the sauce is sits in become a bit thick because of the collagen dissolved into it.




    Turtle with Lean Pork Soup

    Soup Name: Turtle and Lean Pork Soup

    Traditional Chinese Name: 水魚瘦豬肉湯 (shuǐ yú shòu zhū ròu tāng)


    A warm and healing soup, it’s often recommended for cold winter days or confinement.  The turtle meat is said to be a nourishing meat (similar to chicken) and should be avoided if you are sick.   From our experience, even when properly cleaned, soft-shelled turtle meat may have a taste of the “sea” and may require ginger to counter the taste.

    See a lighter variation of this soup here: Longan Meat in Turtle Soup

    What Ingredients are required?

    1 whole fresh soft shell turtle
    1 pound of fresh pork shank
    15 dried longans
    6 slices of dried Chinese yam
    3 slices of ginger
    8 dried dates (for sweetness.  Use red dates for confinement soups.)
    3 – 4L of water

    How do I prepare it?

    1. Pre-marinate the pork with salt and let sit for at least one hour (overnight is best)
    2. Wash turtle meat and shell
    3. In a pan, fry meat and shell with ginger on high heat until cooked
    4. Blanch the pork in a separate pot of boiling water
    5. Boil your soup water
    6. Soak and wash dried longans, Chinese yams, and dates
    7. When the water boils, add all the ingredients together
    8. Boil on high for 30 minutes and then simmer on medium heat for another 3 hours.
    9. Serve and enjoy!

    Any Benefits?

    • A nourishing soup ideal for confinement
    • Good for urinary infections and bladder
    • Helps with asthma and breathing complications (such as shortage of breath)
    • The shell is an excellent source of collagen

    Any precautions?

    • Thoroughly clean and wash turtle, including the shell
    • This soup is “heaty”
    • Do not drink turtle (or chicken) soup if you are sick