Like every good Chinese cook, I make soups for my family. While I know that certain ingredients in soups have medicinal properties, I never really look into these properties. I mean, soups taste good, and they are good for you. What more is there to investigate?
I frequent book stores and ever so often, I would see cookbooks on Chinese soup making. I wondered why anyone would want to buy a book on how to make soups when all one needs to do is to combine a few ingredients, usually with pork ribs or chicken, and boil it for a few hours?
Well, all that changed for me when Jenn from the Singapore Mom Bloggers invited me and a few other bloggers to taste and review the soups at Soup House.
People, forgive me for my ignorance.
Soup making is an art. And ex-director turned hawker (and owner of Soup House) Andy Yuen, is a master. Andy's interest in food started when he was making culinary programmes for TVB in Hong Kong. So when the precious owner of Soup House announced his plans to retire, Andy jumped at the chance to take over the business.
He then spent 3 months learning to cook every single soup, including favourites like Black Chicken Soup and Watercress Soup. In addition to the traditional soups, Andy also concocted new soups like an organic fig soup which has since become his best selling soup.
For our tasting session, we were offered an interesting array of soups - from the light to the heavy to the dessert-like, all without the addition of the dreaded MSG, or even salt.
To start, we tried the Ming Mu Yu Tang (明目鱼湯). I know first-hand that it is difficult to get fish soups done right. So I take my hat off to the chef because this soup was so light, yet so flavourful and sweet, but at the same time, it was not fishy at all.
The next soup we tried was a pork rib and winter melon soup. This is a soup that I am familiar with, as I cook it quite a bit at home. But in this version, barley was added and cooked until really soft. The result was a heavier, but deliciously hearty soup.
Then we tried the yin and the yang - Black Chicken Soup and White Chicken Soup.
Both soups were double-boiled using chicken, but the taste of these soups cannot possibly be more different. The white version, which I was more familiar with, was mild and light. I was convinced that that was my favourite soup until I tasted the black version.
It was heavier, for sure, but it packed a nice punch. There was a delicious burst of flavour as I took my first sip of the soup, and I was more than happy to finish the entire bowl of soup, and order another, all by myself.
Yes, it was THAT good.
We also tried the shark fin melon soup. When I saw the shark fin melon, I was taken aback by how pretty it it was.
Just take a look at how beautifully the chef had managed to cut the shark fin melon - thin, yet whole, slices with no traces of seeds. This is really a fine example of superb knife skills!
Once mixed, the shark fin melon breaks apart, and the strands of melon resembles shark fin, hence its name.
The final soup was more dessert-like - it was very light, and a little on the sweet side because of the use of fruit in the soup.
The prices of the soups at Soup House range from $3.80 to $4.80. At such affordable prices, it is no wonder that many who come to the shop after peak hours can only ask, "Which soups are left?"
Andy's dedication to his craft is admirable, and his passion for what he loves to do can be tasted in every drop of the soup he lovingly prepares every day.
So, if you happen to be in Whampoa, drop by for some soup. And if you are not any where near Whampoa, do make a trip there for Andy's soups. Trust me, you will fall in love with soups all over again, just like I had.
Disclaimer: While I was invited to a food tasting session, sponsored by Soup House, no other compensation was received. All opinions expressed here are my own.