Speaking as Asians, there’s really nothing quite as healing and comforting as a wholesome bowl of soup.
Even in hot and sweltering Singapore, we have those rainy and grey days when all you want is a comforting bowl of soup for lunch or dinner. Asian-style soups are the best — double boiled, slow-cooked, packed with soulful, nourishing ingredients, and big on flavour. We pick our favourites from the restaurants around town.
1. Sichuan and Cantonese Soups: Shang Social
At this multi-regional Chinese restaurant at Jewel Changi Airport, there are two delicious soups worth the trip over. The menu at Shang Social is designed by Shangri-La’s highly acclaimed Chinese master chefs specialising in Cantonese, Sichuan and Huaiyang cuisine. First up is the dramatic Seafood Broth Rice served in Ironpot ($18). Here, crispy rice, large prawns and hefty chunks of fish are served in an iron clay pot. The soup which is a collagen-rich, concentrated crustacean broth — read: packed with flavour — is poured on top. The iron pot ensures the soup is piping hot throughout and the flavours and textures are comfortingly excellent. The popular Sichuan delicacy, Red Garoupa Fillet Stewed in Pea Mashed Soup with Pickled Peppers and Chinese Cabbage ($78) is tart, mildly fiery and very moreish. The broth is a milky brew of fish stock, Sichuan peppercorns and bean paste, to which ingredients such as sliced garoupa, fresh mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, black fungus and house-cured young ginger and mustard vegetables are added. A medley of piquant flavours make this a perfect rainy day soup.
At #01-219 to 222 Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Boulevard Singapore 819666, tel: 6346 0260. Visit https://shangsocial.com
2. Braised Sea Treasure Soup in Pomegranate Egg White Parcel: Min Jiang
Like its name, this elegant dish at Min Jiang’s new Dempsey digs is a mouthful, but an absolutely delicious one. The base is a collagen-rich superior stock of chicken bones, chicken feet and pork. A variety of nourishing ingredients such as Australian abalone, chopped bamboo pith and dried scallops are encased into an egg-white parcel and submerged in a thick broth of Sri Lankan crabmeat and stock. Served with a crisp-fried prawn spring roll and topped with tobiko, this is a showstopper soup to brighten the dullest of days. Priced at $48 per person.
At 7A &, 7B Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249684, tel: 6774 0122. Visit https://www.goodwoodparkhotel.com/en/dining/min-jiang-dempsey.html
3. Asian-Style Stews: The Soup Spoon
The most obvious spot in town for a hearty, comforting bowl that is healthy and affordable — look no further than one of The Soup Spoon’s many outlets. It always states clearly its soups’ nutritional info, calories and ingredients so you know exactly what is in your nourishing bowl. The Tokyo Chicken Stew is a long-time favourite; both gluten and dairy-free and packed with lotus root, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and more. The Soup Spoon even does meatless versions of its popular soups, like the Sumo-Style Nabe which uses quorn, beancurd, napa cabbage and mushrooms and the broth is laced with soy milk.
At B1-K4/K7 Paragon Shopping Centre, 290 Orchard Road, Singapore 238859, tel: 6738 3860 and 26 other locations. Visit http://www.thesoupspoon.com/
4. Bian Rou Soup: Putien
At the Michelin-approved menu of Putien, one of its simplest dishes is easily among the most popular. Putien’s Bian Rou (wanton) Soup is a Fujianese specialty still prepared the traditional way of the Qin Imperial Dynasty. Each bowl of clear broth comes laden with pork wantons, where the wanton wrappers themselves are made with pork meat and a bit of sun-dried sweet potato flour. This is said to be hand-pounded 12,000 times to achieve a paper-thin consistency within which a savoury pork and spring onion filling is encased. It is served in a delicate, clear vinegar-laced broth flavoured with fried shallots and spring onions. Priced at an affordable $4.90.
At 127 Kitchener Road, Singapore 208514, tel: 6295 6358 and 13 other locations. Visit https://www.putien.com/
5. Bak Kut Teh — Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
Nothing works better or faster to clear up those sinuses than a steaming hot bowl of clear and pepper-laced ‘pork bone tea’. Its simplicity and consistency is what has ensured that Song Fa’s Teochew-style Bak Kut Teh is on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list for three consecutive years. A long-simmered broth of pork, pork bones and nourishing herbs and spices such as pepper, garlic and star anise are what make the backbone of the soup. Ingredients range from pork ribs and tenderloin to liver and premium pork loins. Perfect on its own, but excellent with fried dough fritters. Prices begin at $7.90 for a bowl.
At 11 New Bridge Road, #01-01, Singapore 059383, tel: 6438 2858 and 10 other outlets. Visit https://songfa.com.sg
6. Double Boiled Four Treasure Soup: Madame Fan
Glamorous Chinese restaurant Madame Fan serves reinvented Cantonese classics in a menu designed by famed restaurateur Alan Yau. Its signature soup is the Double Boiled Four Treasure Soup ($28) where complementary sea flavours of sea cucumber, fish maw, dried scallops and crabmeat are brewed together for several hours and served in a young coconut. The coconut itself adds a subtle sweetness and depth of flavour to the comforting broth — make sure to scrape some of the flesh into your soup spoons, it pairs excellently with generous chunks of crab meat.
At The NCO Club, 32 Beach Road, Singapore 189764, tel: 6818 1921. Visit https://www.madamefan.sg/
7. Vegetarian Dumpling Soup: Real Food Grocer
At Real Food Grocer, all of the food is free of processed or artificial ingredients and is completely free of meat and meat products. Its Dumpling Soup is a healthy nosh-ers favourite with house-made vegetarian dumplings that are packed with at least 10 ingredients (carrots, mushrooms, bean curd, French beans, water chestnuts and more). The broth is a clean-tasting brew of kombu, shiitake mushrooms and root vegetables. It is mildly sweet and the perfect light accompaniment that does not overpower the plump, fresh dumplings. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians and anyone who prefers a healthful, light bowl packed with fibre and nutrients.
At 181 Orchard Road, #02-16 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896, tel: 6737 9516 and two other outlets. Visit https://www.realfoodgrocer.com/
8. Pho Bo Dac Biet: Mrs. Pho
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📍MRS PHO After trying some of the tastiest (and cheapest!) Pho in Vietnam, my standards had skyrocketed. This place was recommended by a friend who said that it’s the “best” in Singapore and is owned by Vietnamese. I knew I had to try it. . The area is quite small and not a place for after-meal chats. You might have to sit at separate tables if the group is too big. . I ordered the Sliced Beef Noodle Soup ($8.90) and Hanoi Meat Balls ($3.90) to share. The portion of the Pho was huge! The taste was above average, compared to the ones I’ve had in Singapore. But I would prefer my soup to be slightly more savoury and noodles to be less soggy. . But their homemade pork balls were amazing! The sweetness reminded me of Taiwan sausage. . For the price and quality of food, I know that I’ll be back for more!
Sore throats begone, if you have a steaming hot bowl of pho in front of you. With this Vietnamese noodle soup. it’s not just the umami-rich, meat broth that hits the spot, it’s also the additional cocktail of fresh herbs. There are several worthy bowls of pho, but at Mrs. Pho, we have never been disappointed with its ample servings. The Pho Bo Dac Biet ($9.90) contains brisket, sliced beef and beef balls in a full-flavoured, mildly-sweet bowl of Hanoi-style pho with a clear broth that comes alive with a squeeze of lime, a dash of fish sauce and, for those who can take the heat — a stir of pounded red chillies. The addition of basil, cilantro and mint is welcome, and adds to both flavour and nutrition-factor.
At 349 Beach Road, Singapore 199570, tel: 6292 0018. Visit http://mrspho.com/
9. Steamed Pot Chicken Soup: Yun Nans
A new-ish concept at Jewel Changi Airport, Yun Nans (云海肴) serves food from China’s Yunnan province, and the Steamed Pot Chicken (S$23.90) is a soup that is its signature dish. Here, the rare breed of black feet chickens are pressure-steamed and boiled for three hours and no water is added. The resultant tender meat and broth are served in a Jianshu claypot, a unique cooking method that retains all the goodness of the meat and results in a clear but rich and robust broth that is not greasy at all. You are meant to separate the chicken meat, drizzle chilli oil over it and take sips of the soup separately. The contrast of flavours is excellent, and the broth is extremely comforting.
At #02-217 Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Boulevard Singapore 819666, tel: 6908 3677. Visit www.facebook.com/yunnanssg
10. Double-Boiled Soup Served in a Pumpkin: Summer Palace
Michelin-approved Summer Palace at the Regent Singapore serves two versions of this ultra-comforting soup, both in a whole, steamed, Malaysian pumpkin. First is one that features on its gluten-free menu ($32 per person). The head, bones and tails from the Soon Hock fish are pan-fried and then boiled with sliced ginger to prepare a light-soup base, after which the fish’s fillet and Chinese cooking wine are added and steamed further within the pumpkin. Another version (on its regular menu, $28 per person) uses prawns, dried and fresh scallops and fresh crab meat that are poached in a superior stock that is low and long-boiled with old mother hens, Yunnan ham and pork bones. The pumpkin’s sweetness makes a great contrast to both savoury, delicate broths and both versions are packed with nutrients.
At 1 Cuscaden Rd, Level 3 Regent Singapore, Singapore 249715, tel: 6725 3288. Visit https://www.regenthotels.com/regent-singapore/dining/summer-palace
11. Buddha Jumps Over The Wall: Yan Ting
A list of Asian-style soups would be incomplete without mentioning this iconic brew that is nourishing and warming. Most Chinese restaurants serve the Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, but we prefer the luxurious Cantonese-style preparation by the chefs at St. Regis’ Yan Ting. The broth itself is rich and indulgent, and packed with nourishing and premium ingredients such as abalone, fish maw, dried scallops, Jinhua ham, pork tendons and mushrooms. Instead of the typically used shark’s fin, Yan Ting’s version features top quality bird’s nest. Cooked for over six hours, the resultant soup is collagen-rich and the ingredients are cooked to tender perfection. Priced at $148++, advance orders are needed and the chefs are open to take special requests if guests prefer their preparation-style and ingredients modified.
At 29 Tanglin Road, The St. Regis Singapore, Level 1U, Singapore 247911, tel: 6506 6887. Visit https://www.yantingrestaurant.com/