Chinese Hot and Sour Soup – Vegetarian Style | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup – Vegetarian Style

Hot and Sour Soup

The original style of Hot and Sour Soup (in Chinese 酸辣湯) is usually assembled with close to a dozen of ingredients like sea cucumber, roasted duck meat, pig’s blood, pork, cloud ear, bamboo shoot, tofu, carrot, mushroom, all of which are shredded. Although I like doing slicing a lot, vegetable types in particular, I have not been loyal to the original version than this meatless, simplified, and make-me-feel-more-easy style.

Yet I have not shortened the list of seasonings. I include two types of vinegar. Black vinegar is more for the aroma while, white vinegar, more for the sourness. And, ever since I have started adding chili bean paste in the soup, it has become one of the indispensible ingredients for me to prepare this recipe despite of what kind of variation I have.

Hot and Sour Soup

  • Ingredients
  • 6 pcs dried black mushrooms
  • 3 pcs dried cloud ear, rehydrated
  • 1/2 pc bamboo shoot, ~25g
  • 1/4 pc carrot
  • 1/4 pc soft tofu, ~25g
  • 2-3 slices of ginger
  • 1 tsp finely chopped coriander, optional
  • Soup
  • 3 cups mushroom stock
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp black vinegar (Chekiang type)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili bean sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 of a large egg or 1 small egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • corn starch paste for thickening (corn starch : water = 1 tsp : 2 tsp)

  • Ingredients for Hot and Sour Soup
    Ingredients for Hot and Sour Soup


To prepare the mushrooms stock, first rinse 6 pieces of dried black mushrooms, then soak them in 3 cups of water overnight. Squeeze water from mushrooms and reserve water from soaking. Remove and discard stems (retain 3 mushrooms for this soup and reserve the remaining for other uses, like making noodles or stir fries). Since no meat stock is used, I have soaked more mushrooms (6 pieces) for making the soup. But if you are adding in some pork or beef slices, probably you would only need 3 mushrooms.

Ingredients for Hot and Sour Soup

Julienne ginger, carrot and bamboo shoot, thinly slice mushrooms, tofu, and cloud ear. It would be harder to cut a cloud ear into slivers if it is laid flat as a sheet. Yet, when it is curled into a roll, slicing will be easier, even into very thin shreds. Admittedly, I love every ingredient to be shredded as thin as possible.

As all ingredients are julienned, heat pot over medium heat with a tea spoon of oil. Sauté ginger until fragrant. Toss in mushrooms, carrot, bamboo shoot, and cloud ears. Stir them for a while, 1 to 2 minutes, then pour in stock. Bring it to a boil, then gently lay in tofu, Season with vinegar, salt, soy sauce, chili bean paste, white pepper, and thicken with corn starch paste. Stir to avoid any lumps.

As soon as the liquid thickened to your liking, turn heat to the lowest, use a spatula spoon to lay a thin layer of beaten egg over the soup. Doing such than pouring in the egg is to avoid it sinking to the bottom and forming lumps. Then, quickly stir the egg juice in swirls so as to create feather-like patterns. Sprinkle in sesame oil; garnish with coriander. Serve hot.

My amounts of seasonings are more on the lighter side, so do adjust it to taste. Should you found the soup too sour, try balance it with some sugar. Enjoy!

Hot and Sour Soup in Pot

Hot and Sour Soup
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  1. Pepy @Indonesia Eats

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I always wonder how to make the vegetarian version of Chinese hot and sour soup.

  2. MaryMoh

    Mmm…one of my favourite soups…very nutritious and healthy. I would even love to pour that over noodles. If I have to cook this dish, I think my vegetables will be in bigger pieces…no patience for fine cutting 😛

  3. Amy @ cookbookmaniac

    Fantastic recipe and pics. I’ve always wondered how they make this yummy soup!

  4. TasteHongKong

    Hi There, I’m packing for my short trip but will soon return tomorrow evening. Talk to you later : )

  5. tigerfish

    I love this soup. The last time I made this, I use chili bean paste too. Will definitely make this again.

    Enjoy your trip.

  6. food-4tots

    Love this vegetarian soup! Looks very appetizing!

  7. Alexx E

    This looks amazing! I would love to try this but where can I find cloud ear? and could a different mushroom be substituted? Thanks!

  8. Trudy (veggie num num)

    Looks soooo good!! I love trying new recipes for vegetarian asian style soups and this one looks fantastic Yum!!

  9. deetha

    hmmmm…. looks so yummy…
    hot & sour soup is my fave…
    mamma miaaa…..

  10. Little Inbox

    Vegetarian style? Hmm…it looks really appetizing. 🙂

  11. KennyT

    Veggie version! Cool! Where do you live? Im on my way to take some!

  12. Juliana

    Yummie, love this soup the more sour and the more hot the better 🙂

  13. TasteHongKong

    Hi Everyone, Am back here again.

    @Alexx E, You shall be able to locate cloud ears in grocery stores selling Chinese foods, dried foods and dried seafoods in particular. Clouds ears are very common here in H.K. and is fairly inexpensive (~HK$25/100g). I usually stock 50-100g for several months’ consumption. Cloud ears are chewy in texture, so in case it is not available, try replace it with bean threads with which you may attain similar chewiness if briefly cooked (though their nutritional values are very different). I have just included a link above (or here) where you may find some more details on it.

    @Kenny T, Negative for you, because I know the one make by Kenny’s mom should be no less delicious than this : ).

  14. the lacquer spoon

    Wow, your hot and sour soup is adorable! I know this hot-but-tangy taste is good for our body and heart in summer to come. While “sweet and sour” is fine, “hot and sour” is heaven 🙂

  15. Heavenly Housewife

    Im not much of a soup eater, but I love the look of this. Everything looks so pretty, including your cut up vegetables LOL 🙂

  16. Thankful from Colorado

    I am so happy to find this recipe. This is my “childhood” soup and now I can try making this, relive the memories. Thank you so much for posting this.

  17. noobcook

    I lurrrvveeee hot and sour soup! usually made version with chicken and ham. I love your vegetarian style.

  18. Sharon

    I was so happy to find this when searching your site. Always wanted to learn how to make hot and sour soup. Especially when it’s winter and blizzarding right now.

  19. Kristy

    The Soup is delicious. I make it weekly. Thank you

  20. TasteHongKong

    You make this more frequent than I : ).
    For variations, perhaps you may try to have this as a broth for noodles or wontons.

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  22. Elsie Hui

    I love your version – it’s quite “traditional” I love a hot and sour soup on a cold winter day! Thanks for the post!

  23. Tina

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made it twice! Delicious. I added a bit more vinegar, white pepper, and chili bean sauce to make the soup bit more sour and peppery.

  24. TasteHongKong

    Great to know you find this delicious, and thanks for sharing your way.

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  26. MADDY


  27. TasteHongKong

    Thanks and noted.
    Meanwhile, you may take a look at some noodle recipes here, enjoy!

  28. Khou

    This sounds like a great recipe, but Is there an alternative for black vinegar? i dont have access to any. =/

  29. TasteHongKong

    I remember I’d tried adding some balsamic before. Although the soup seemed to have lost part of the Chinese character, it was delicious too. Still, I hope you could have access to Chekiang black vinegar one day as it is best for making this soup.

  30. mohan limboo

    i like it…

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