Chinese Winter Melon Soup Recipe (冬瓜薏米湯)

Craving mom’s Cantonese soups but don’t know how to make them? Try making this easy 6-ingredient Winter Melon Soup.

Soups are a BIG deal in Cantonese cuisine.

A traditional Cantonese meal consists of at least one soup, one meat dish, and one veggie dish. 

Soup recipes are passed down from generation to generation because they are believed to hold tremendous nutritious benefits and healing properties.

Chinese Winter Melon Soup

Chinese Winter Melon Soup

Winter Melon Soup is an absolute dinner-time staple during the sizzling summers in Hong Kong.

Winter melon is perfect for the summer season because of its cooling properties. Winter melon is said to help clear heat and dampness from the body.

The addition of barley further intensifies the soup’s cooling properties. 

Winter melon can be quite bland on its own, so dried scallops are added to the soup to infuse rich umami flavors into the soup.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chinese Winter Melon Soup

Chinese Winter Melon Soup

What can I serve this dish with?

This soup is best served as a side dish. Serve this soup with other main dishes like Chicken Stir-Fry With Celery and Cashews and Soy Sauce Chicken Wings.

Can I prepare this in advance?

Yes. You can prepare this soup in advance and reheat it on the stove or microwave. You can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Can this dish be frozen?

Yes. This soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. To serve, simply thaw and reheat in the microwave or on the stove.

Chinese Winter Melon Soup

Winter Melon Soup

Elaine Fung
A simple nutritious clear soup for a hot summer's day.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 6 servings
Calories 269 kcal


  • 900 Grams Winter Melon
  • 500 Grams Thick Sliced Lean Pork
  • 1/2 Cup Barley
  • 1/3 Cup Shredded Dried Scallop
  • 3 Slices Ginger
  • 20 Cups Water
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Salt


  • 1. Boil 4 cups of water in a pot and blanch the pork for 2 minutes.
  • 2. Drain and rinse pork in cold water.
  • 3. Remove peel and seeds from the winter melon and cut them into big pieces.
  • 4. Rinse and drain the barley.
  • 5. Add the pork, winter melon, barley, shredded dried scallops, and ginger into a big pot with 12 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • 6. Continue boiling on high heat for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-high and boil for 20 minutes, reduce heat to medium, and continue boiling for 30 minutes. Continue boiling on medium-low heat for 45 minutes.
  • 7. Add salt to taste.


1. Remove the peel of the winter melon by first cutting it into large chunks. Then place the flat side of the flesh on a cutting board and use a sharp heavy knife to cut the peel away from the flesh by keeping the blade firmly against the flesh.
2. Shredding whole or big pieces of dried scallops requires first rinsing them in cold water, placing them in a pot of water, and bringing them to a boil for 5 minutes. Shred the softened dried scallops when the water has cooled. Save the flavorful water for use.
3. Many recipes call for softened shredded dried scallops, but it takes some time to get this done. So a handy way is to prepare them in advance in large batches. Follow the steps above, then store the shredded scallops and the water in several small containers and freeze. Thaw in the fridge and they will be ready for use.
3. Blanching the meat is a basic step for making most Cantonese soup. This procedure removes the scum from the meat to keep the soup clear.

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