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What Is Sour Soup?

Troy Holmes
Troy Holmes

Sour soup is a dish with roots in a variety of world cuisines. Some of the most popular soup dishes are Chinese hot and sour soup and German sweet and sour soup. Each sour soup includes special spices and vegetables that add a tangy taste to the dish without adding unnecessary calories.

A sour soup is typically made with vinegar and or lemon juice. This gives the soup a tart flavor that is normally offset with other spicy or sweet ingredients. Sour soups are often low in protein, but can be high in fat, depending on the ingredients.

A lemon, which is sometimes used to make sour soup.
A lemon, which is sometimes used to make sour soup.

Hot and sour soup is a Chinese soup that includes both spicy and sour flavors. This soup is made from red or white peppers with vinegar, which gives it a hot and sour taste. The soup typically includes tofu or pork as the primary meat and may contain red cabbage.

Sweet and sour soup is a cabbage-based soup made with sweet fruits. It traditionally includes either pineapple or golden delicious apples, which gives it a sweet underlying flavor. Sweet and sour soups use apple vinegar as the primary sour ingredient. These soups are often served with the main course of red meats or poultry dishes.

Lemon rasam is another example of a hot and sour soup. This Indian dish is made from hot spicy green chilies with sour lemon juice. Lemon rasam is a well-known dish in most Indian restaurants that has a slight spicy kick with a refreshing sour tang.

Bamboo shoots are an ingredient in meatless varieties of sour soup.
Bamboo shoots are an ingredient in meatless varieties of sour soup.

Tom yum soup is a hot soup that was derived from Thai cuisine. This soup is made from red chili peppers, lemon grass, and limes. It is one of the spicier versions of hot and sour soup and should be sipped slowly to ensure it doesn’t burn the tongue.

Most of these soups are available as vegetarian dishes. Meatless variations on these recipes often include mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and small amounts of tofu. Soups are great for diet-conscious people because they are low in fat and high in flavor. The spices in the soup also curb the appetite.

Chinese sweet and sour is another example of a sour soup dish. It is made with soy sauce, mushrooms, chicken, vinegar, and lemon. This soup doesn’t have the same spicy kick as hot soup, but is a tangy appetizer that can be enjoyed with most meals.

Discussion Comments


In the second to last paragraph, I really like how the article mentions that sour soup is also available as a Chinese vegetarian dish. Being a vegetarian myself, I find that more than often, when it comes to soup, the people who serve them at restaurants don't think about others too much. However, whether it's directly or indirectly, the article does a good job at shedding some light on the issue that some vegetarians tend to have with soups.

On another note, the best thing about vegetarian soup though, is that it can appeal to just about anyone, especially in this case. For vegetarians (such as myself), it appeals in the sense that it fits our dietary needs. However, for those who aren't vegetarians, it appeals because of the taste. Also, just because some people eat meat, that doesn't mean they shouldn't like vegetables. After all, not only do they taste great when cooked and prepared properly (also seen in this article), but even more so, they are full of nutrients.


I have been to many Chinese restaurants in the past, yet haven't tried this soup. I have always wondered how it was made, and this article does a great job at discussing that. It seems like there are quite a few variations, and unlike some other dishes, which have a "set" recipe, this isn't the case here.

From lemons, to vinegar, and bamboo shoots, the soup seems to have a lot of variety, and it seems like something that can be made from home, although you'd have to buy the proper ingredients, which might be a bit of trouble.

On another note, one thing I really like about this soup is that it seems a lot more simple than others. However, this may be because it's a traditional Chinese soup, and not American. I'm not generalizing (because I'm from America as well), but for the most part, a lot of us (myself included) seem to enjoy soups that are very rich and hearty.

While some of those brands can have a great taste, sometimes, it's the simplest soups that are the best. Not only is Chinese sour soup a great dish that can be made at home, but because of all the variety that's available, the instructions don't have to be followed to a T.

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    • A lemon, which is sometimes used to make sour soup.
      By: .AGA.
      A lemon, which is sometimes used to make sour soup.
    • Bamboo shoots are an ingredient in meatless varieties of sour soup.
      By: Bert Folsom
      Bamboo shoots are an ingredient in meatless varieties of sour soup.