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Top 5 Asian Soups You Must Try!

Soup is a staple element of cuisines all across Asia. From Myanmar to Vietnam,

soups are eaten for breakfast, with lunch and are accompanied by almost all

main meal. They run through the scale from spicy and intense to fragrant and

mild. This amazing dish is filled with almost everything, from long rice noodles

to generous chunks of beef. They can be pure vegetarian or meat heavy with

almost all kind of edible flesh. Asian soups are traditionally prepared and served

in the many cultures of Asia.

In Asian cuisine, soups are usually based solely on broths and lacks dairy

products such as milk or cream. They consist of starches from corns or sweet

potatoes as thickening agents. Since there are an endless variety, trying for a

precise classification is meaningless. But, based on the elementary tastes, soups

can be categorized as sour or sweet. The quality of a savory soup is determined

by its fragrance and umami or “Xian” flavor, while sweet soups are enjoyed for

their aroma, mouth feel and after taste. Many Asian soups are eaten and drunk

as much for their flavor as for their health benefits and are touted for their

refreshing effects. Here we introduce five such amazing Asian soups which

guaranty an elegant experience for your taste buds.

Tom Yum

Tom yum also pronounced as Tom Yam is a hot and sour Thai soup, which is

usually cooked with shrimp as the main ingredient. The name “Tom Yum” refers to

two similar soups originated from Lao and Thailand and is also widely consumed

in neighboring countries such as Cambodia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and


The Royal Lao versions of Tom yum contain a pinch of rice in the soup, whereas

other typical Laotian and Thai version doesn’t include rice as an ingredient. This

classic Thai soup is popular for its unique hot and sour flavors. The broth is rich

with fragrant spices and fresh herbs. Basic ingredients of the broth are stock,

fresh herbs such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, chili

peppers and fish sauce.

Tom yum soup is also made using many other meat varieties other than shrimp.

The Tom yum soup which uses shrimp is called Tom yum goong or Tom yum

Kung, soup using chicken is Tom yum kai, fish – Tom yum pla and soup with

mixed seafood are called Tom yum thale. The veg version of Tom yum uses

the mushroom (straw mushrooms or oyster mushrooms) as a staple ingredient. Soup

is often topped with generous amount of chopped coriander leaves which

provides a rather refreshing edge for the dish.


Originated in the northern China, wonton is considered as an important part of

traditional Chinese cuisine. This is a clear and tasty soup which contains

dumpling as staple ingredients and broth enriched with fresh herbs and spices.

The soup is a beautiful combination of many flavors. Each region of China has its

own variations of wonton. Beijing, Sichuan, Hubei, jiangnan are some examples.

Dumplings are the staple element of wonton soups. These are fillings wrapped in

a thin sheet of dough. Fillings consist of thinly chopped meat (pork, chicken,

beef, fish or any combination of these) along with other fresh ingredients like

chopped ginger, green onion, salt, chicken essence etc. The fillings wrap is then

cooked in water and is later added to the broth. Dumplings of different size and

shape are used in wonton soups; the most versatile shape is a simple right

triangle. Broth include ingredients like chopped green onion, sesame oil, dried

shrimps, chicken essence and also salt for seasoning.


Laksa is a popular spicy noodle which has its origin in Malaysia. This soup

belongs to the Peranakan cuisine, which was developed from the early Chinese

migrants who settled south east regions of Asia such as Penang, Malacca,

Singapore Malaysia and Indonesia. Laksa contain noodles or vermicelli with

chicken, prawn or fish, served in a spicy hot broth. The soup is little thick,

fragrant, fishy and a bit spicy, the richness of coconut milk topped with ever

classic Laksa toppings make this dish a must – try at least once in your life.

Rice noodles or vermicelli is the staple ingredient of Laksa. The broth consists of

coconut milk as base and is enriched by ingredients like chicken stock, dried

shrimp, and lemon juice. Fresh lemon grass, chilies, shallots, galanga, turmeric

and spices are grinded and added and cooked to make the broth. This together

with coconut milk gives the broth a thick consistency. There are three basic types

of laksa – Curry laksa, Asam laksa and other variant that can be identified as

either curry or asam laksa.

In Indonesia and other South East Asian countries, Laska is one of the traditional

comfort foods. The spicy warm coconut noodle soup is much enjoyed during

cold rainy days.


Pho is a noodle soup of Vietnamese origin. The soup consists of rich noodles

called banh pho, broth, some herbs and meat, primarily made with beef or

chicken. This is a popular street food in Vietnam. Originated from the Northern

Vietnam, Pho was later popularized to the rest of the Asia by refugees of the

Vietnam War.

The soup is usually served in a bowl with a specific cut of white rice noodles in a

clear beef broth, with thin cuts of beef. Chicken pho is made using the same

spices as beef pho, but the broth is made using chicken bones and meat. Also

some internal organs of the chicken such as heart, gizzard and undeveloped eggs

are added in the broth for extra flavors. Spices like Saigon cinnamon, star anise,

roasted ginger, roasted onion, black cardamom, coriander seed, fennel seed etc.

are cooked along with the meat to make the broth. Vietnamese dishes are often

served along with lot of herbs and vegetables, and Pho is not an exception. The

spicy hot soup is garnished with ingredients such as green onions, white onions,

basils, bean sprouts and cilantro.


Bakso (also pronounced as baso ) is a delicious Indonesian meatball soup, which

has meatball as the staple ingredient of the dish. The origin of the dish is

believed to be in Indonesia, while the meatball is inspired from the Chinese

cuisine. Bakso can be found all across Indonesia; from the street vendors to the

star hotels, the dish is one of the most wanted meal in the country.

The meat ball is commonly made from grounded beef along with small quantity

of tapioca flour and salt. Other meat varieties such as chicken, pork, fish and

shrimp are also used. A consistent firm, dense, homogeneous texture due to the

polymerization of myosin makes Bakso distinct from other meatball based


Bakso is usually served in a bowl of beef broth along with yellow noodles, bihun

(rice vermicelli), salted vegies, tofu, egg, Chinese green cabbage, bean sprout,

siomay (Steamed meat dumpling) and crisp wonton. The bowl is then sprinkled

with fried shallots and celery.

The Asian soups mentioned above are five of the most popular dishes originated

and thrived in the vast Asian continent. They are rich in every aspect and will be

a rather amazing experience for your taste buds. So next time you browse

through an Asian menu, look for these five amazing soups.

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