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Chinese Lion’s Head Soup

Chinese Lion’s Head Soup

Have you ever had a soup that looks like a lion’s head? No, I’m not talking about a soup made from an actual lion’s head! Chinese Lion’s Head Soup is a popular dish in Chinese cuisine that gets its name from the large meatballs that resemble a lion’s head. This hearty and flavorful soup is a comfort food favorite that will warm your soul on a chilly day.

The Legend Behind the Name

Just like the Chinese love their lion dance during festivals, they also love their lion head-shaped meatballs. These meatballs symbolize good luck, strength, and protection. The legend says that eating Lion’s Head Soup can bring you good fortune, just like the lion dance brings blessings to the community.

The Perfect Meatball

The star of the show in Lion’s Head Soup is undoubtedly the meatball. These meatballs are made from a mixture of ground pork, breadcrumbs, eggs, and various seasonings. The secret to a perfect meatball is a delicate balance of flavors and the right amount of tenderness. When cooked in the soup, the meatballs absorb all the delicious flavors, making them incredibly juicy and flavorful.

Size Matters

When it comes to Lion’s Head Soup, size does matter. The meatballs are traditionally made large, about the size of a lion’s head. The idea is to savor each meatball slowly, allowing the flavors to burst in your mouth with each bite. The generous size also makes the soup more satisfying and filling.

Slow and Steady

Just like the lion’s dance is performed with grace and precision, making Lion’s Head Soup requires patience and attention to detail. The meatballs are first seared to develop a golden crust, then simmered in a flavorful broth until they are tender and succulent. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, creating a rich and hearty soup that is worth the wait.

A Nutritious Delight

Not only is Lion’s Head Soup delicious, but it is also packed with nutrients. The soup is typically made with nutritious ingredients like bok choy, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots, which add a variety of vitamins and minerals to the dish. The lean ground pork used in the meatballs provides a good source of protein, making this soup a well-rounded and satisfying meal.


Q: Can I use other types of meat instead of pork?

A: Absolutely! While pork is the traditional choice for Lion’s Head Soup, you can experiment with other meats like chicken, beef, or even tofu to suit your preference.

Q: Can I make a vegetarian version of Lion’s Head Soup?

A: Yes, you can! Simply substitute the meat with plant-based protein options like tofu or tempeh, and use vegetable broth instead of meat broth.

Q: Can I freeze the leftover soup?

A: Yes, you can freeze the leftover soup for later consumption. Just make sure to cool it down completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container.

Q: How long does it take to make Lion’s Head Soup?

A: The cooking time for Lion’s Head Soup can vary, but it typically takes around 1 to 2 hours to prepare, including the time needed for the meatballs to cook and the flavors to develop.

Q: Can I add other vegetables to the soup?

A: Absolutely! Feel free to add your favorite vegetables to the soup, such as carrots, cabbage, or baby corn, to enhance the flavor and texture.

Q: What is the best way to serve Lion’s Head Soup?

A: Lion’s Head Soup is often served with steamed rice or noodles to make it a complete and satisfying meal. You can also garnish it with chopped green onions for added freshness.

Q: Is Lion’s Head Soup spicy?

A: It can be if you want it to be! You can add spices like chili flakes or Sichuan peppercorns to give the soup a spicy kick. However, the traditional version is not typically spicy.

Q: Can I make Lion’s Head Soup ahead of time?

A: Yes, you can make the soup ahead of time and reheat it when you’re ready to serve. In fact, the flavors tend to develop even more after sitting overnight.

Q: Is Lion’s Head Soup a popular dish in China?

A: Yes, Lion’s Head Soup is a beloved dish in Chinese cuisine, especially in the Jiangsu province. It is often served during special occasions and family gatherings.

In Conclusion

Lion’s Head Soup is more than just a soup with a quirky name. It is a dish that represents tradition, good fortune, and the richness of Chinese culture. The combination of tender meatballs, flavorful broth, and nutritious vegetables makes this soup a true delight for both the eyes and the taste buds. So why not give it a try and experience a taste of Chinese culinary heritage?

Chinese Lions Head Soup compressed image1

Chinese Lion's Head Soup

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Soups
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4


  • Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
  • ¼ tsp monosodium glutamate (MSG) (Optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 green onions , chopped and divided
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 head napa cabbage , cored and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water , or as needed
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil


  • In a bowl, combine ground pork, egg, cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, ginger, monosodium glutamate, salt, and half of the chopped green onions. Mix well using your hands until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the napa cabbage and stir constantly until it starts to wilt, which should take about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, water, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
  • Using a spoon, shape the meat mixture into 1 inch balls and drop them into the boiling soup. Once all the meatballs have been added, cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Taste the soup and adjust the salt if needed. Before serving, garnish with the remaining green onions and drizzle some sesame oil over the top.
Keyword Asian, Cabbage, Ground, Lunar, New, Oil, Pork, Recipes, Seasonal, Sesame, Soup, Vegetable, winter, Year
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Hi, I am April & Welcome to my food blog!

Thank you for visiting my blog. We share delicious recipes to make your meals nourishing and fun. Experimenting in the kitchen and cooking is my joy!


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