Shanghai Pork Soup with Bamboo and Tofu – Yan Du Xian

April 14, 2023

This winter, I’d want to add a few soup recipes to our collection, and what better way to begin than with this soup, a specialty of my hometown of Shanghai? Yan Du Xian Shanghai Pork Soup with bamboo and tofu is essentially the most prestigious of all Shanghainese soups.

Because of the high cost of its components, it was only offered to the most honored visitors. In my childhood, we only had this soup once a year, celebrating the Chinese New Year. Along with glass noodles and napa cabbage, my grandmother and aunt would also prepare egg dumplings. It tasted amazing!

Without a doubt, the salted pork is the hero element. In place of salted pork, substitute Chinese ham. Salted pork and ham are popular for many households since they combine to give your Yan Du Xian an exceptional earthy flavor.

Chinese ham tends to be fairly salty, although the saltiness of salted pork varies widely. Don’t stress too much; if the soup turns out to be overly salty, just dilute it with some water.

Fresh pork is added to the mix as if the salty pork items weren’t enough. For real, though, this sets Shanghainese yan du xian soup apart. The exquisite, lip-smacking umami flavor is achieved by combining salty pork and fresh pork and letting it simmer until everything is well-combined.

Just wait if you think this is too good to be true. The broth has a bright and transparent appearance, but its flavor is anything but. Try this soup recipe if you’ve never prepared one of our others. Although less widespread than Hot and Sour Soup, this dish is a fan favorite in many homes. If you’re feeling adventurous, try mixing things up by adding glass noodles and/or napa cabbage.

Tofu skin knots are an intriguing traditional component of yan du xian soup. Tofu sheets are wrapped and knotted to add a unique and delicious texture to the soup.

Typically, Asian groceries are located in your local supermarket’s cold and/or frozen aisles. Alternatively, you can use firm tofu slices if you can’t find them.


  • 1 package of tofu skin knots
  • 1 pound of fresh pork belly (cut into 1” x 1” chunks)
  • 1 pound of frozen bamboo shoots (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 pound of salted pork (cut into 1” x 1” chunks)
  • 1 scallion (finely chopped)
  • 4 slices of ginger
  • 14 cups of water
  • Salt (to taste)


  1. Prepare a sizable saucepan of boiling water. You can have the meats washed and sliced up while waiting for the water to boil. Throw the lot of them into a pot of rapidly boiling water for a quick blanch. Retain the liquid, but put the draining water aside.
  2. Place all the blanched meats, ginger, and 14 cups of water in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Once everything has come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Wait 90 minutes before serving the soup.
  3. The bamboo stalks should be added after 90 minutes. The soup should be brought to a boil, then left to simmer for an additional half an hour.
  4. The tofu skin knots should be added now. Bring the entire thing to a boil, then simmer for another 20 minutes. Add salt to taste and garnish with chopped scallions, and it’s ready to serve!
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