Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup

A very simple Vietnamese hot and sour soup is perfect for cold winter nights! This soup is made with chicken stock, bamboo shoots and cubes of tofu, then finished with shredded chicken and spring onions. This glossy and velvety soup will be a crowd pleaser.

This week has been a very eventful one for our family. My little girl brought home a pretty picture she drew at daycare which now hangs on the fridge. She also brought home a virus and conjunctivitis. I am sorry to say it’s been over a week and we are all still suffering!

So, we have been having a lot of soups lately to help soothe our sore throats. This Vietnamese hot and sour soup is a bit different to the ones served at Chinese restaurants. We have replaced the soy sauce with fish sauce to give it a Vietnamese flair, and also to keep the soup yellow and clear – something Vietnamese pride themselves on! (According to my mum.)

Traditionally, most of the spice from the dish comes from the pepper but I make this for my little girl so I don’t add very much. I prefer to serve it with chopped chillies so that anyone who likes it hot can tailor it to their taste.

What Goes In Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup

  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Canned bamboo shoots
  • Chicken stock – liquid stock is better than powdered. Cheap and expensive versions are both fine.
  • Chicken breast – the highest welfare you can afford.
  • Tofu – regular tofu.
  • Egg – beaten, added in egg-drop style.
  • Seasoning/aromatics – ginger, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper
  • Thickener – cornstarch + water. Can be omitted if you are trying to reduce your carb intake.
  • Garnishes – spring onion, coriander, fresh chillies
Regular Tofu

How to Make Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup

Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup Instructions (Summary)

  1. Soak the mushrooms and bamboo shoots.
  2. Put chicken stock, water, shiitake mushrooms and ginger into a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add chicken, boil until cooked.
  4. Remove chicken, shred.
  5. Add bamboo, tofu and seasoning.
  6. Egg drop.
  7. Thicken.

Soaking the Bamboo Shoots

Canned bamboo shoots come with a strongly pickle-flavoured liquid that you wouldn’t want overpowering your soup. Soaking the bamboo shoots in boiling water will help tone down this flavour prior to adding to the soup pot.

Soaking Shiitake Mushrooms – the Quick Version!

The shiitake mushrooms should ideally be soaked for 20 minutes. If however you forget, or are short on time, try this hack:

  1. Cut the stems off.
  2. Cut the cups in half.
  3. Soak for 5-10 minutes.

They should be soft enough to handle at this point.

Removing the Chicken

The chicken should be removed as soon as it’s done to avoid overcooking. Place it into a bowl or a container and cover it to prevent it from drying out. Shred the chicken once it’s cool enough to handle, then return it to the pot at the very end of the cooking time.

Bamboo Shoots and Shiitake Mushrooms

Recipe Costing (AUD)

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t included optional ingredients or small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

4 entree or 2 mains servings

Chicken Stock1 L$1.901 L$1.90
Shiitake Mushroom50 gm packet$3.70 12 gm (6) $0.89
Ginger1 at $25/kg$3.605 gm$0.15
Chicken Breast1 at $9.50/kg$2.501/2$1.42
Bamboo Shoots1 tin (225 gm)$1.10125 gm$0.39
Firm tofu500 gm pack$3.45250 gm$1.72
Fish Sauce300 ml bottle$2.002 tbsp$0.10
White vinegar2L bottle$1.201 tbsp$0.01
Eggs12 pack (700 gm)$3.001$0.25
Spring Onions1 bunch $2.001 stalk$0.10
Total $24.45 $6.93

Other Similar Recipes You Might Enjoy

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Clear Hot and Sour Soup

Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup

This soup is made with chicken stock, bamboo shoots and cubes of tofu. Finished with shredded chicken and spring onions, this glossy and velvety soup will be a crowd pleaser.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Soak Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Lunch
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 4 people
Calories 184 kcal


  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 100 gm bamboo shoots (canned), julienned or cut into thin strips
  • 1 L low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 slices of ginger
  • 1/2 chicken breast
  • 250 gm regular tofu, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2.5 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp cold water


  • 2 spring onions / scallions, chopped
  • coriander, chopped (optional)
  • chilli, sliced (optional)


  • Soak the shiitake mushrooms for 20 minutes in just-boiled water, then cut into thin slices.
  • Wash the bamboo shoots with water then soak in just-boiled water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Prep all your other ingredients.
  • Add the chicken stock, water, shiitake mushrooms and ginger to a pot on medium high and bring to the boil.
  • Once the water is boiling, add the chicken and cook with the lid partially on for 4 - 6 minutes or until cooked. If the water is boiling too vigorously turn it down to medium - low.
  • Once the chicken is done, take it out and let it cool in a covered bowl (Note 1). Then shred the chicken in to small pieces.
  • Add the bamboo, tofu, salt, pepper, sugar, white vinegar and fish sauce. Cook with the lid partially on for another 5 minutes on medium low.
  • Add the beaten egg slowly to the pot while gently stirring it with a spoon.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cold water. Then add it to the pot and stir it into the soup.
  • Add the chicken back into the soup and let it come to the boil.
  • Check the seasoning, sourness and consistency of your soup (Note 2)
  • Garnish and serve.


  1. Covering the chicken in a bowl will stop the steam from escaping, preventing the chicken from drying out.
  2. To add more flavour and seasoning, use fish sauce. Otherwise use salt. If you need more sourness, add more vinegar. Only add small amounts at a time!!!


Calories: 184kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 19gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 1162mgPotassium: 427mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 119IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 103mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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