Shark Bones Chicken Soup

Soup Name: Shark Bones Chicken Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 鯊魚骨雞湯 (shāyú gǔ Jī tāng)

Traditionally a warm soup for the cold winters.  It is naturally sweet to taste with a slight tang of the sea.  I am not a big fan of shark parts and feel that the flavor that the shark cartilage or bone provides can easily be substituted with other ingredients that are more environmentally friendly.  Something to try once in a blue moon for the experience.  Shark bones are completely different and far more affordable than shark fins (which is an extremely expensive delicacy in Chinese cuisine).  Shark bones are often found in “old fire” Chinese soups, so be sure to boil them for a long time to ensure the flavors come out.

What Ingredients are required?

chicken (whole)
1-2 pieces of dried shark bones
2 tablespoons of dried soup peanuts
4-5 pieces of dried Chinese yam
10 pitted red dates
5 pieces of lady bell root (Adenophora Root)
5 pieces of solomonseal (or yuzhu)
5 pieces of American ginseng
1 large piece of dried tangerine peel

2-3 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Start boiling your soup water
  2. Prepare and blanch chicken in a separate pot of boiling water
  3. Rinse all other ingredients (in warm water)
  4. When soup water boils, add all the ingredients together (including blanched chicken)
  5. Boil on high heat for 30 minutes, reduce to a simmer for another 2 hours
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • Shark bones and cartilage is said to prevent cancer and enhances cancer fighting abilities in the body
  • Excellent source of calcium and collagen

Any precautions?

  • There are minimal confirmed studies of the benefits of shark bones
  • Be sure to purchase your shark bones from a reputable source