The Chinese hot and sour soup is a thick soup with robust flavors that come from chili, soy sauce, ginger and black vinegar. It includes mushrooms, meat, vegetables and tofu.

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

This recipe supersedes the old one published in 2009. Trust me, I got it right this time.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8
Author Connie Veneracion


  • 250 grams pork shoulder (with a generous amount of fat!)
  • 6 to 8 large fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 wood ear mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 two-inch knob ginger
  • 1 to 2 bird's eye chilies
  • 1 small carrot
  • 150 grams soft tofu
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 8 cups bone broth divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • salt (if your bone broth is under-salted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch (use more for a thicker soup)
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
  • sliced scallions to garnish (optional)


  • Cut the pork into thin slices; cut each slice into slivers about 1/4 inch wide.
  • Pull off and discard the stems of the shiitake mushrooms. Thinly slice the caps.
  • Cut off and discard the tough sections of the wood ear mushrooms. Thinly slice the wood ears.
  • Peel and mince the garlic.
  • Peel and grate the ginger.
  • Chop the chili.
  • Peel and julienne the carrot (note that bamboo shoot is the traditional vegetable for hot and sour soup, but I like carrot better).
  • Cut the soft tofu into half-inch cubes.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a pot.
  • Saute the ginger, garlic and chili with the five-spice powder in the hot oil until lightly browned.
  • Add the pork to the pot and cook until lightly browned.
  • Add the shiitake to the pork.
  • Pour in 7 cups of broth and soy sauce. Stir in the sugar. Bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Disperse the corn starch in the remaining broth and pour into the pot. Stir until the broth is thick and clear.
  • Add the tofu cubes, wood ears and julienned carrot to the soup. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the black vinegar. Taste. Add more salt if necessary (adding more soy sauce will make the soup too dark).
  • Garnish the hot and sour soup with scallions and serve at once.