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Wor (or War) Wonton Soup ... what does the "Wor" mean to you?

When someone says they want to get a big bowl of Wor (or War) Wonton Soup, what does the Wor refer to?

Is it a reference to the ingredients -- i.e., that the soup has a bunch of ingredients (or "all ingredients") like chicken, veggies, mushrooms, etc. in addition to wontons?

Or is it a reference to the dishes' origination -- i.e., that it was introduced to Hong Kong after WWII?

In other words, what's the difference between Wor Wonton Soup and Wonton Soup?

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  1. from answers.com:

    WOR WONTON SOUP Recipe | Recipezaar

    "WOR" in Chinese means "everything", so Wor Wonton Soup means a wonton soup that has everything in it. ...

    www.recipezaar.com/77805

    So whilst a basic wonton soup is a broth with wontons in, wor wonton also might contain vegetables, mushrooms, egg

    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_th...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Stephanie Wong

      That's not always true, however. And I think the answers in wiki are a bit too glib.

      I've seen many places offer up "Wonton Soup" with the kitchen sink, e.g. mushrooms, baby carrots, bok choy, chicken, pork, beef, fish balls and of course wontons and noodles.

      Maybe it's just a regional thing, and one of differing nomenclature usage.

    2. I have no idea what the differences are with regards to Chinese American / Canadian Chinese versions.

      When looking up "wor won ton", a site like wikipedia says that wonton soup and wor wonton are Canadian Chinese in origin, and the broth is made with chicken.

      Yet when you look up the Chinese name in Chinese 窩雲吞, there is no mention or a specific listing of it. However during the 70s and early 80s in Hong Kong, at dim sum seafood restaurants, instead of fried noodles or rice, one could order a big bowl of noodle soup to share, and it was referred to as a "wor" or 窩 (a unit). The word 窩, well is a nest or den. I have no idea how that came about to mean "everything" or "lots of ingredients" in Chinese American terms.

      However, all related word searches turn up an item: 砂窩雲吞雞, which is a ceramic pot chicken soup with won tons (and in more upscale preps, Chinese Jing Hua ham and mature whole chicken). This claypot chicken won ton soup is quite prevalent in Hong Kong and in many parts of China. In HK, you can easily find this at some nicer Cantonese restaurants, but more easily in Sichuan, Shanghai, Beijing, Hanzhou restaurants, and many other non Cantonese Chinese places (it is said that this claypot soup has become so pedestrian now you can find ones w/o shark's fin at Hong Kong cafes/cha chaan teng's). Superb to have during the winter with such essence of goodness. Perhaps HK cafe renditions use some boney range chicken, a less labor intensive soup (and thus less flavor), wontons thrown in, and called a day.

      Cantonese won ton broth, whatever they use these days vary, but if we are talking about old time tradition, and the places that put won ton noodles on the map (for HK) like Mak's, it contains dried tilefish, shrimp roe, rock sugar, and pork bones. Back in those days, you would either order won ton noodles (broth, soup, wontons) or "plain wontons" (loose translation) which were just a bowl of wontons in broth....it was never referred to in Chinese as wonton soup or the "soup of wonton".

      11 Replies
      1. re: K K

        Yet when you look up the Chinese name in Chinese 窩雲吞, there is no mention or a specific listing of it. However during the 70s and early 80s in Hong Kong, at dim sum seafood restaurants, instead of fried noodles or rice, one could order a big bowl of noodle soup to share, and it was referred to as a "wor" or 窩 (a unit). The word 窩, well is a nest or den. I have no idea how that came about to mean "everything" or "lots of ingredients" in Chinese American terms.
        ________________

        Bingo. That's where my confusion comes from.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Perhaps 窩sounds like Wor which sounds like "Cor", as in "Cor Blimey" in British slang from the 70s/80s, maybe a reaction to the chop suey-esque variety in this Chinese American wonton noodle soup rendition. Not to be confused with "waaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

        2. re: K K

          Here's my old post from 2002,
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1900...

          I had asked my dad and he said "wor" referred to a big pot and would have an assortment of whatever the cook was preparing at the moment at that wok station. That might go back to San Francisco Chinatown circa 1940's.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            All these words are pronounced as "wor" in chinese :

            窩, 鍋, 渦, 倭, 萵, 踒, 蝸

            They all have different meaning. 窩 as in "Wor Wonton" has the meaning you and KK talking about. However according to yfunk3, there is any version of "Wor Wonton", the word 窩 has a different meaning which it refers to 窩蛋. 鍋 in AdamD's post refers to 鍋巴 which is something else.

            1. re: skylineR33

              Ahh yes 窩蛋 with minced beef over rice...classic comfort food. But the egg is in the center, virtually raw, surrounded by hot minced beef, almost like a nest. Does 窩蛋 have a different meaning otherwise?

              1. re: K K

                Does 窩蛋 have a different meaning otherwise?
                ____________________

                Not that I know of, although it is used for other culinary terms. As an aside, I don't even need minced meat. Just the nest egg, some rice, and maybe a good dusting of Chinese pork floss, which is really the poor man's version of minced meat, no?

                1. re: K K

                  窩蛋, as in 窩蛋湯. You add egg into boiling water or add boiling water onto the egg.

                  1. re: skylineR33

                    I see, thanks. Not to be confused with the drink 滾水蛋 at some old time HK cafe's (that drink I will never understand or want to have.)

                    1. re: K K

                      How is 滾水蛋 really all that different from the original Rocky training diet regime?

                      We used to joke that 滾水蛋 was really a Hong Kong take on the American Egg Cream, taken literally, too literally.

              2. re: Melanie Wong

                That's it. Wor (or war, which does not mean war as in world war) 窩 simply means a big pot. Wor Won Ton simply has a base of won ton soup, won ton, and usually slices of BBQ pork and veggies.

                1. re: PeterL

                  Have you ever seen 窩 used on a menu to denote Wor Wonton Soup?

                  It probably is used, but I seriously cannot recall such an instance.

                  I do recall, however, seeing 花 used for Wor Wonton Soup, but don't ask me where ... just don't remember. Wish I did.

            2. Here in Honolulu it is roughly translated as 'deluxe' or 'loaded', like a hamburger deluxe or a loaded baked potato. As Stephanie said, with everything. Wor Won Ton or Wor Won Ton Min (the latter being with noodles.) In most cases the Wor includes vegetables (carrots, bokchoi, maybe sprouts... maybe some (extra) charsiu or even egg. Everyplace has its own variation.

              1. I'm positive there's regional variations in both ingredients and name of this. The region I grew up (NY-NJ), it was mainly a mix of regular wonton soup with egg drop soup. So instead of the brothy soup with the wontons, you get egg drop with wontons (usually with roast pork and fresh scallions in both cases).

                1. My first exposure to it was a combination American/Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto, back when rents downtown were still cheap. Wor wonton was maybe 50¢ more for a bowl, but it was both a bigger bowl and a fuller one, with a bunch more ingredients. We referred to it as the Heavy Duty Four-Wheel Drive Wonton, and it was easily the the best meal you could get anywhere for under three bucks. It was the most astonishing bowl of soup I encountered until pho.