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Name and locate that chinese soup - wintermelon soup!

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I'm looking for two kinds of chinese soup that I used to eat growing up. I don't even know if I have the name/description right, so please bear with me. Do you know where I can find this soup in the bay area (preferably in SF proper or peninsula)?

Soup 1: Steamed soup with pork broth served in a wintermelon (or some other kind of savory melon). The broth is clear, watery, and not super rich. Overall taste is light and refreshing.

Soup 2: Steamed soup with pork/chicken broth also served in wintermelon or some other large soup or a claypot. I remember that it had a distinct apple flavor. The broth is light/dark brown in color and rich tasting though no special "mouthfeel". Smooth and watery - like how i like my chinese soup.

Neither soup has herbal flavors and neither soup tastes salty (unlike some won ton soup you can find here with too much salt - the soups i mentioned used to give me this fresh clean but satisfying feeling). Would appreciate all tips for finding this. I remember this being a common dish growing up but haven't been able to find them in menus. Thank you!

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  1. I never thought it was steamed soup, but the 1st sounds like the wintermelon soup that is served in the melon at less formal banquets instead of shark's fin or bird's nest.. Still a nice dish. The 2nd doesn't ring any bells and I have been eating Chinese soups my whole life.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chocolatetartguy

      Thanks! Do you know where i can get the wintermelon soup in SF/peninsula?

      I'm not sure if both types of soup are steamed but they have that delicate, refreshing, lightness of steamed soup.

      1. re: chocomel

        The last banquet I attended was at Silver Dragon in Oakland Ctown and I recall having that soup. But they have since closed. Possibly any restaurant big enough to host banquets, would have soup #1.

        1. re: chocolatetartguy

          Wintermelon soup served in the whole melon is usually an advance-ordered order item (the carved melon can be very elaborate and beautiful). So as CTG says above, just call ahead to your favorite "banquet" restaurant to check cost and if winter melon is still in season (May may be getting to be a bit late).

    2. The first soup sounds like a quick soup: freshly made broth with the melon simmered in it for 30 mins or so. Usually when the soup is steamed within the melon, it's also served in it too. Perhaps you can tell us which is the case and then it will narrow down the possibilities.

      The second soup sounds like it could be made the "low fire" method, simmered for hours, resulting in the darker color. Even though it's still a brothy soup, "apple-y" and "refreshing" are not how I think of this soup since it's supposed to be a tonic.

      Do you recall which ingredients are in each bowl with the melon? That may help to pinpoint what you're after.

      1. Thanks all for the responses. I will need to run to a banquet restaurant and get that soup....

        rubadubgdub, I haven't had these types of soup for years and actually stopped going to chinese restaurants except for dim sum (a lot of my friends are not big fans of chinese banquet style food). My chinese food cravings are primarily satisfied by my own (less than stellar) cooking.

        On the apple soup, I remember there being fish bone or scallops but definitely no tonic taste which I hated as a kid. I remember that we don't eat the inside, just the broth. I know the wintermelon either has chicken or pork.

        Thanks a bunch!