Growing up, I didn’t realize this soup was a thing. I always ate this soup when I had a cold and it was something easy and soothing, not too hard on a sore throat, just to get some fluids in when nothing sounded good to me. My mom made it with chicken broth, peas and carrots, cubes of spam, and macaroni noodles, only seasoned with some salt and few dashes of pepper (white or black).
Then after I grew up, and went out to NYC’s Chinatown for breakfast, I saw HK style macaroni soup everywhere. It’s not as common as congee, but then again, maybe I wasn’t look for it hence why I never saw it until then.
When I grew even older, and I had my own kids, I’d make this for them. And sometimes they’d even request it when they’re not sick because it’s their quintessential comfort food. One day, I can’t wait to take them to Hong Kong, because I feel like it would be their (and my) food heaven. HK macaroni noodle soup, congee, fried crullers and warm soy milk every morning for breakfast, followed by endless amounts of dim sum, an array of street foods, and all the banquets we can afford. And desserts with mango in between each meal.
Getting off track here daydreaming about food vacations, need to focus on soup!
I didn’t take any pictures of the process, because I wasn’t planning on posting it. But since it’s so popular in our house now, with one person getting sick, then another, then another, I might as well offer my version of this soup. It is flu season, after all.
I love using spam, but all I had were ham slices that I julienned today. You can use whichever form of ham you’d like. Also, salt to taste, because when you have a sore throat, you don’t want it too salty. Since spam has a lot of salt already, I don’t add a lot of extra salt to the soup. I also don’t have a quantity for each ingredient in my recipe, because I add handfuls of whatever we feel like that day. Handful of carrots. Handful of peas. A little more ham than necessary because the kids love it. Omit what you don’t like.
Another tip is to cook the macaroni in a separate pot, then ladle the noodles into your bowl and pour the soup over them. That way your noodles don’t soak up all the soup like a sponge in the pot, leaving you with very little broth.
HK Style Macaroni Soup
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- carrots, diced into small pieces
- 2 cups macaroni, cooked in a separate pot, drained and set aside
- garlic powder to taste
- onion powder to taste
- salt to taste
- white or black pepper to taste
- julienned ham or spam
- Step 1 Cook macaroni in a pot according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Step 2 In another pot, add chicken broth, carrots and peas. Bring to a boil, then simmer until carrots are tender. Add salt to taste. Then add garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper to taste.
- Step 3 Add ham or spam and simmer for another two minutes. Turn off heat. Ladle some noodles into each bowl, then ladle in soup. Serve.