Unlike many cities, Dongguan’s temperature tends to fluctuate, and the winter season is somewhat short-lived. Nevertheless, February is the perfect time to take advantage of local restaurants, bars and shops nearby that serve a steaming, appetizing bowl of soup.
Besides warming up your body temperature, sipping hot soups come with a list of benefits. Firstly, soups can easily boost the immune system, since it is filled with an abundance of nutrients and vegetables. The soup’s hot liquid serves as the perfect cure for a sore throat, fever or the flu. Most soups are also low in fat and contain lean meat, which is especially important for those who want to lose weight. A bowl of soup can satisfy your hunger instantly without increasing your calorie count.
This month, the HERE! team decided to try out a variety of soups locally. In the end, we settled upon a unique and diverse selection of 10 soups.
Tom yum goong is the go-to spice factor for any soup list. To begin with, the range of seafood is quite impressive, including squid, octopus, Malaysian shrimps and Chilean blue mussels. The soup itself leaves a “Thai” impression with its hot and sour taste. Although the art of soup-making seems simple, the complex ingredients in tom yum goong contrast against the surprisingly smooth texture: Thai lemongrass, lime, chili paste, southern ginger, lemon leaves, spicy pepper and more. For 69 RMB, it is quite a generous price for a four-person portion.
The Japanese chicken thick soup at Yu Yi Japanese Restaurant was certainly a pleasant surprise. At first glance, the chicken thick soup with seafood was mysterious and intriguing, especially since it was placed in a plastic bag and heated over a slow fire. After waiting three minutes for the soup to heat up, the plastic bag was cut open, and the soup was poured into small bowls. An array of fresh seafood (scampi, abalone, clam and fish fillet) and vegetables (okra, radish and scallion) balanced out the rich flavor of the thick soup. With the sizable portion, this chicken thick soup can be shared with a group of four.
Full of fresh ingredients and a touch of sweet flavors, Irene’s tomato soup can be a lifesaver on a cold, rainy day. This trusty soup could please the fussiest eater due to its simple and wholesome taste. The tomatoes provide a soothing and somewhat simplistic taste on their own, but with a pinch of salt, garlic purée, black pepper and toasted garlic bread, it becomes more exciting. Additionally, this vegan tomato soup definitely takes its spin on classic tomato soups with its homemade style.
Instead of having a big meal at the traditional Chinese restaurant, it is now easier to visit smaller snack shops for a bowl of Chinese soup. At this particular snack shop, Li Dong Dessert, they serve over 10 different soups. For the chicken with Chinese herb soup, the ingredients were placed inside a small ceramic bowl, and the soup was steamed for hours. Like most Chinese soups, this one was very transparent with chicken pieces and different Chinese herbs inside. Considering the one-person portion and low price, this Chinese herb soup is the perfect solution to a quick and delicious meal.
For a romantic two-person dinner date, order Hostaria’s seafood soup, which was composed of squid, octopus, mussels, clams and langoustines. Once dipped into the soup, the crunchy toasted bread provided a savory flavor—something that is a bit Italian. Furthermore, the robustness of the spices made it authentic without being overwhelming. Yet, the main attraction of the dish remained the seafood. Supported by four jumbo shrimps (langoustines), this felt like a 150 RMB dish and above. On the contrary, Hostaria blessed us with an incredible price of 118 RMB!
At Martin’s, the highlight of the potato soup was the creamy texture: light but dense at the same time. From the first spoonful of soup, the taste immediately reminded me of my grandmother’s cooking. Furthermore, the warmth of this potato soup complemented Martin’s welcoming atmosphere. However, an intriguing ingredient made us wonder why this soup was so good: a touch of bacon. The portion is more than generous—55 RMB for at least four people!
At first, pork soup at a chicken-themed Korean restaurant didn’t sound promising. Nevertheless, I was quickly proven wrong. The soup was packed with various vegetables, such as potatoes, cabbage, onion and sesame leaves. Still, the main ingredient was the pork backbones with tender meat, served with extra wasabibased sauce on the side. These pork backbones are cooked for 16 hours before being added to the soup. Due to a special Korean spice, the broth was flavorful and just a tad spicy.
This classic Mexican soup was just added to the menu at our only Mexican joint in town. Like most of Al Chile’s menu, the tortilla soup was entirely made from scratch. This tomato-based soup was creamy in texture and slightly sweet and sour in flavors. The main attraction of the dish was the homemade strips of tortilla that begged the diner to eat quickly for maximum crunch effect. With the soup’s combination of a creamy texture and tortilla crunch, every bite was absolutely delightful. Two kinds of specially sourced Mexican peppers completed the ingredients list, making it one of a kind.
At the street corner of multiple Western restaurants, there is a cozy Italian restaurant called Maccheroni. The restaurant is run by Salvatore, who passionately shares his love for Italian cuisine with every guest. When I first saw the fish and seafood plate at Maccheroni, I was not just surprised—I did a doubletake. It was a massive plate of seafood: shrimps, salmon, mussels, squid and more. As you eat your way through the seafood, you arrive at the soup with stewed tomatoes at the bottom of the dish. After finishing the seafood, Salvatore recommended some traditional Italian pasta to dip into the soup. Overall, this dish was an inviting glance at Maccheroni’s exceptional Italian food.
Are you looking for real, traditional Mediterranean food? Being an elegant and charming restaurant, Pauly’s Kitchen owns an unmistakable appearance. With the unique wine cellar and wooden interior, Pauly’s Kitchen caught my attention at once and underlined my first impression of the mushroom soup. Its creamy-textured mushroom puree was astonishingly light, topped with truffle flakes and fresh parsley. The dish is accompanied by a crunchy garlic toast that supplements the mushroom soup. Do yourself a favor and visit Pauly’s Kitchen—a place filled with classic dishes with a twist.