What is the Chinese Soup Pot?
Hello and welcome! My name is Sharon Lee and I am the author and photographer behind the soup recipes, cooking tips, and ingredient guides you find on this site. Chinese Soup Pot is a website project on Chinese soups, with an aim to share, preserve, and contribute to the art and culture of Chinese soup making. Here is where I impart my family’s traditional and conventional soup recipes, soup making techniques and soup cooking tools. Here is also where I introduce you to a variety of Chinese herbs and Asian food ingredients often used in Chinese soup recipes. Through this site, I hope to inspire you to make a delicious soup today, and to offer you an alternative way to achieve optimal health for you and your family.
Having been born in Hong Kong to a Cantonese family and then moved to the United States at a young age, one distinct Chinese food culture my parents instilled in me is the tradition of soups. Like a comforting bowl of Chicken Soup that Americans love, a bowl of nourishing Chinese soup conjures up the same kind of comfort, even nostalgia from childhood times with the family and mom’s homemade soups. Soup is a deep-rooted and endeared Chinese food tradition, especially for the Cantonese who are famous for their “slow-fire” soups. So much so that while my husband and I were still dating, his father used to tell him, “Son, if you get invited to your girlfriend’s home for family soup, then you have been accepted into their family.”
Another reason why I love Chinese soup is for their health benefits. Traditional Chinese soups are gentle tonics made from fresh vegetables, lean meats or fish, and flavored only by natural ingredients. One distinguishing point about traditional Chinese soups is that oil, cream, and butter are never used – making the soups naturally low fat, low calorie, and low sodium. Many Chinese soups also include herbal ingredients that enhance the health-benefiting function of the soup. The use of specific herbs in soups is an age old practice, used by thousands of generations. Many of the recipes can also be traced back to China’s Pearl River Delta in Canton, where slow fire soups is a practice that the Cantonese call “Chinese Food Therapy (食療)”. The Cantonese are known to place great importance to the health-giving functions of soups. The benefits can range from detoxification, nourishment to major body organs, reduction of blood sugar and blood pressure, replenishment of the Qi, and release of excess element(s) that throw the body off its internal yin-yang balance. When the internal body is off balance, outward bodily symptoms like sore throat, coughing, or dryness can appear.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, food is not only something to fill one’s stomach to fight hunger. Food is also a nourishing agent with preventative and curative powers to fight off the onset of illnesses when used properly. And the way to release these beneficial powers is to brew the food and herbs slowly for 2 – 3 hours. This releases the essence and nutrients of the foods into the soup, which allows for the human body to easily absorb the nutrients. This is why I believe Chinese soup is an excellent and most natural way to strengthen one’s immune system and overall health. Chinese soups are elixirs for graceful aging as well. I hope you will give my Chinese soup recipes a try, and make cooking Chinese soup a regular tradition in your home.
Who is Sharon?
I am wife to a loving husband living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to making healthy delicious soups, I am passionate about eating healthy in general. This passion (or more appropriately, my quest) for good health brewed in me at a young age through my parents’ teachings about Chinese soups and healthy eating. The big push that got this passion kicked off was when I joined the cross country team in high school. My running coach used to tell us that as athletes, we need to watch what we eat. Our bodies need to be healthy so we can be strong and perform well on the track field. It was then that I became even more cognizant of what I ate.
After graduating from high school, I went on to study Food Science. This is where I learned about nutrition, chemical compositions of food, and food processing techniques. Combined with this educational background is my personal passion in learning and practicing Chinese Food Therapy. And I am so excited to share my Chinese soup passion here with you!
In spite of my education, I should make clear that I am not a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist. You should always seek the advice of a doctor for matters concerning your health, especially if you are pregnant. Not all information about the health benefits of foods are evaluated by the US FDA. The information I share on this site is an accumulation of teachings from my family, from the many generations before me who practiced the Chinese soup tradition, from formal education, personal research, and self enrichment through books, seminars, and other resources.
What Should You Do from Here?
1. Subscribe to the Chinese Soup Pot for automatic updates via RSS. Or, bookmark this site and return often for new recipes and information.
2. Join the soup fan community by Liking the Chinese Soup Pot at: http://www.facebook.com/ChineseSoupPot
3. Pay attention to your health and wellness. Make a decision to make a Chinese soup today for yourself and your family. You can always start with an easy soup recipe and advance up as you gain experience.
4. Get your friends and family to learn more about Chinese soups by emailing them your favorite soup recipe. Simply click on the image below a soup recipe title to share that post. Get them to join you in making different soups regularly. You and your friends can motivate and bounce ideas off of each other.
5. Submit your ideas and thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org if there is something you want to see written about. No guarantee that every suggested idea will get published. I may blend similar suggestions and write articles that have the most demand. But I certainly would like to hear what your ideas are.