The most comforting soups are cooked with love, in a humble home.
Unfortunately, due to the progression and development of our nation, working adults are too caught up with their hectic lifestyle and are too busy to step foot into the neglected kitchen –unlike the olden days when men were the sole breadwinners in their families and women await their husbands’ return from a long day at work, to a spread of lovingly-home-cooked meal.
At home, parents meddling with the kitchen tools are a rare sight; we own an electric double boiler and a thermal cooker that we hardly utilise at all.
Soup Guru will be a hit amongst the working bunch in the bustling city, offering a wide selection of soups that will remind one of home.
The budding chain aims to promote the culture of soup drinking by making it more accessible and affordable.
Its flagship restaurant at Food Republic allocates a special sector in the food court solely for Soup Guru customers. Diners’ compulsion to “reserve” tables (with a packet of tissue paper, the Singaporean style) to combat the inevitable crowd is omitted.
Large bones are boiled in a large pot for at least 3 hours in order to extract maximum flavour –forming the stock base, and also the gist of the soup.
Soups continue to boil with constant fire – a traditional Hong Kong way of boiling soup known as “火老” – which results in a full-bodied soup.
Soups at Soup Guru contain absolutely no MSG –a statement which almost every stall that clog the healthy-route boasts but hardly stands true.
Here, not only do you have a treat for your taste buds, but you can also enjoy a vast amount of health benefits from the herbal soups.
Pear and Apple Pork Ribs Soup ($4.50)
Benefits of this soup include dispersing heat and moisturising the throat. It relieves cough, improves appetite, promotes bowel movement, detoxifies the body, clears the heart and enhances beauty.
This soup is light on the palate, boasting well-balanced flavours of sweet and savoury without the sweetness from the fruits predominating the soup. It is a soup that you can consume on a regular basis and not get tired of it.
Lotus Root Pork Ribs Soup ($5)
The Lotus Root Pork Ribs Soup (picture on left) dispels heat, and nourishes the lung and liver. It is also most suitable for diabetics.
Compared to the previous Pear and Apple Pork Ribs Soup, this soup is a more intense in flavour with a darker tint.
Old Cucumber Pork Ribs Soup ($5)
The Old Cucumber Pork Ribs Soup (picture on right) has cooling properties that dispels heat, detoxifies, enhances the complexion, prevents heat stroke and lowers blood pressure.
For those who have little or no self restraint against “fatty” food will be pleased to hear that old cucumber has minerals that will help dissolve and disintegrate fat in the body.
Ginko Pork Tripe Pepper Soup ($5.50)
Benefits: The Ginko Pork Tripe Pepper Soup (picture on left) stimulates the appetite, nourishes the kidney and reduces water retention. Pig stomach contains protein that strengthens the body, spleen and stomach. Ginko nuts are high in protein, vitamins and minerals; cooked ginko nuts stabilises asthma and soothes cough.
The pig stomach is properly cleaned, and is cooked till tender. I find the peppery nuances to be especially enjoyable.
If pig stomach slides pass your list of “bizarre foods”, this soup is highly recommended!
Papaya Pork Ribs with White Fungus Soup ($5)
The Papaya Pork Ribs with White Fungus Soup (picture on right) is a personal favourite; it has a sweet and savoury dimension that I absolutely adore. What I enjoyed most was the papaya that is cooked till soft, melting on the tongue.
Benefits of this soup include strengthening the lungs and stomach. Whitening and moisturising benefits will please the beauty conscious, in addition to other beauty benefits such as keeping skin supple and youthful, preventing premature wrinkles.
Winter Melon Barley Detoxifying Soup ($5)
The Winter Melon Barley Detoxifying Soup (picture on left) will be exceedingly popular with the ladies as well.
Winter melon contains vitamins and essential elements that regulate the body’s metabolic rate. It also contains cooling properties and dispels heat. Barley contains rich Vitamin E that will help improve complexion for glowing skin.
Chinese Yam Wolfberries Pork Ribs Soup ($6.80)
The Chinese Yam Wolfberries Pork Ribs Soup (picture on right) is another personal favourite. I love the soft, comforting yam that juxtaposes the tender pork beautifully.
Chinese yam and wolfberries are key ingredients for nourishing the kidneys, and building up the spleen and lung. The pig’s tail also strengthens the kidney and the back.
This soup is suitable for pregnant women as it strengthens the bones and back. However, people suffering from colds should avoid this soup.
Ten Tonic Ginseng Chicken Soup ($8)
The Ten Tonic Ginseng Chicken Soup contains Ginseng, Codonopsis, Atractylodes, Poria, Baked Licorice, Angelica, Chuanxiong, White peony root, Cinnamon and Astragulus –ten tonics that will help strengthen the body.
The combination of herbs is somewhat akin to the Black Chicken Soup that my parents used to buy for me when I was young; perhaps they felt the need to nourish my body due to my skinny frame.
This nourishing soup will perk you up from a tired and hectic day of work. It will also help overcome blood deficiency and is good for post-menstruation.
People who are “heaty” or hyperactive should avoid this soup.
This soup will not appeal to a wide audience due to its overpowering herbal taste, and a slight bitterness that ends with a lingering aftertaste. I had no problems finishing it though!
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall ($8)
The Buddha Jumps Over the Wall will warrant oohs and aahs. Comprising of top quality ingredients such as abalone, ginseng, sharks’ fins, scallops, dried oysters, mushrooms and chicken, that are boiled together for at least four hours, you know you’re in for a treat.
This soup is well known as a delicacy that is served at lavish restaurants –the classic taste is apparent in Soup Guru’s rendition, at a fraction of the price, made affordable without compromising on quality ingredients.
It is remarkably flavourful with a nice depth, and had everyone slurping down to the last drop.
This highly nutritional soup strengthens the body and nourishes the complexion.
Pair the nutritious soups with fragrant pumpkin, yam or brown rice for a wholesome meal, priced at $1.50 a bowl.
Despite the medicinal effects of the soups, they are absolutely palatable with the clever combination of ingredients.
It is time to banish the ambivalent association of distasteful bitterness to herbal soups.
Make the first step to achieving a healthier lifestyle; opt for the soup.
Pick up a few tips from Madam Saw, co-founder of Soup Guru, and nurse your craving by replicating that well-loved Chinese soup from your very own kitchen. But if time permits, head back down to Soup Guru for hearty Chinese soups.
By the way, all soups can be refilled at no additional cost. *Rubs eyes* did I read it wrongly? No, it’s true! I’m moved by their generosity and love for their patrons.
Thanks Madam Saw and Bang PR for the hospitality. I had so much fun with the foodies as well!
Food Republic @ 313 Somerset (Flagship Restaurant)
Mon – Fri, Sun and Public Holidays: 10am to 10pm
Saturday and Eve of Public Holiday: 10am to 11pm
Food Opera @ ION Orchard
Mon – Thurs, Sun and Public Holidays: 10am to 10 pm
Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holiday: 10am to 11pm