Sichuan Hot and Sour Soup

Suan La Tang – Hot and sour soup is a staple of Chinese restaurants around the world. There are many versions of this popular soup in China, especially the northern Chinese version called Hu La Tang which uses beef or lamb stock and the Sichuan version called Suan La Tang which uses the lighter Chicken or pork broths. Both versions are fairly similar and share many of the same flavors and textures. The also share the same purpose, to warm poor people up in cold weather with a hot soup that uses many healthy ingredients while being inexpensive.

Suan LA Tang – Sichuan Hot and Sour Soup

This soup is a serious upgrade over what is served in restaurants. First of all, it is made fresh and served immediately rather than a vat of it waiting to be served. Because it was created to keep folks warm in winter, it includes a lot of dried ingredients. The "La"in the name means spicy and comes from white pepper, which can be adjusted to control how much la is desired.
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Course: Lunch, Soup
Cuisine: Chinese, Peking, Sichuan, Western China
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Soaking: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Soup pot
  • Several bowls
  • Saucepan


  • 4 whole Dried shitake mushroom
  • 2 whole Dried wood ear
  • ¼ lb Pork loin, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 oz Canned sliced bamboo shoots, cut into matchsticks
  • whole Carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • piece Ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • ¼ lb Firm tofu, cut into matchsticks
  • 3 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Ground white pepper
  • 5 cups Unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 large Egg, beaten
  • 4 tsp Sesame oil
  • 2 stalks Each: scallion and cilantro (optional), chopped
  • 3 tbsp Cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp water

Pork Marinade

  • 2 tsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Rice wine
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch
  • ½ tsp Sesame oil


  • Prep – Add pork shreds to the bowl with the pork marinade, mix thoroughly, and set aside. Place dried mushrooms and wood ears in 2 seperate. Boil water and cover both with boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain then shred and add to soup pot.
  • Make Soup – Add chicken broth to soup pot with mushroom and wood ear shreds. Turn to high heat and add shredded carrot, bamboo, and ginger. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Add soy sauces, sugar, and salt. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add pork shreds to pot and stir to seperate. Add tofu sticks and bring back to a boil. Stir cornstarch mixture into the soup to thicken. While stirring, drizzle egg in to get strands. Season with white pepper and vinegar then turn off the heat.
  • Serve Soup – Divide soup between bowls and top with chopped scallion and cilantro. Drizzle some sesame oil on top and serve hot.


  • The amount of heat in the dish can be increased or decreased with the amount of white pepper used.
  • The cilantro garnish can be skipped although it does brighten up things a bit.


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 1944mg | Potassium: 501mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 151IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg

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