West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹


Chinese Name: 西湖牛肉羹

English Name: West Lake Beef Soup

Category: Zhejiang cuisine浙菜

Main Ingredients: Tofu; Beef

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹
West Lake Beef soup

West Lake Beef Soup西湖牛肉羹 is a traditional famous dish in Hangzhou杭州, Zhejiang Province浙江省. It originated from the spicy soup in the Central Plains when the Song Dynasty imperial families crossed south. It belongs to the Zhejiang cuisine. This dish is usually served in advance as a soup for throat moistening and appetizing and has been loved by ordinary people for 800 years.

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹
West Lake beef soup being poured into the basin

In the Southern Song Dynasty南宋, Hangzhou residents from the north used only a little minced meat, eggs, and mushrooms to make a cheap and high-quality soup, which became a substitute for the spicy soup胡辣汤 in the north in memory. Therefore, West Lake beef soup is a very common household dish in the folk.

The establishment of Hangzhou as the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty further promoted the innovation and development of southern cuisine centering on Hangzhou. In this great migration, a large number of celebrities, dignitaries, and working people from the north moved south. They lived in Zhejiang and brought the Kyoto cooking culture of the north to Zhejiang, making the cooking skills of the north and the south widely exchanged, the catering industry prosperous, the cooking technology constantly improved, and the famous dishes and dishes emerged at the historic moment.

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹
Tempting soup

Wu Zimu吴自牧’s Dream of Liang Lu梦梁录, the West Lake Old Man西湖老人’s Prosperity Record西湖老人繁胜录, and the Thorough Wulin Old Stories武林旧事 all record the prosperity of Hangzhou’s catering market. According to the record in Volume 16 “Tea Hotel分茶酒店” of the “Dream of Liang Lu”, there were more than 280 kinds of dishes in Hangzhou at that time and more than 15 kinds of cooking techniques. There were many exquisite and luxurious restaurants. Ordinary food stores “can be found everywhere in the streets and alleys遍布街巷,触目皆是”. The cooking flavor is available from north to south, which is a prosperous scene.

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹
Delicious West Lake Beef Soup

According to expert research, the earliest ancestors of West Lake beef soup should be hot and sour soup and porridge. According to the “Prescription for Peace Benefiting the People太平惠民和剂局方”, which was widely spread in the Song Dynasty宋代, adding spicy medicine to food is beneficial to replenish qi and blood, so spicy food is very popular. On this basis, it is improved into Hu Hot Soup.

After the Song Dynasty crossed to the south, common spices in the north, such as pepper, anise, and cinnamon, were simplified in Hangzhou, while some local fresh products in the south, such as mushrooms, and spring bamboo shoots, were also added to the spicy soup. The great difference in vinegar tastes between the north and south also accelerated the change in soup taste. The main taste is sour and hot Hu hot soup, which gradually evolved into fresh sour and tasty West Lake beef soup.

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹
A delicious soup

It is recorded in the notes of the Song Dynasty that at the beginning of the Southern Song Dynasty, the restaurants in the capital still sold some authentic Central Plains food made with heavy money. The taste that you could taste with a little money on the streets of Bianjing in the past has become a luxury in Hangzhou, Lin’an. Originally served as a street breakfast in the Central Plains, the spicy soup experienced the evolution of nobleness and peace in Hangzhou, and finally became a soup that was served in advance to moisten the throat and appetizer.

“West Lake Beef Soup” is a name that was improved under the influence of modern catering in modern times. There are even Cantonese, Fujian, and Shandong versions. There is no uniform name for traditional Hangzhou beef soup, or even without beef. Now beef is probably added to meet the tastes of more people. The traditional beef soup is divided into meat and vegetable. In addition to eggs, mushrooms, tender tofu, and other necessities, there are various ingredients according to the products throughout the year.

How to make West Lake Beef Soup?


  • 100g beef
  • 2 mushrooms
  • 1 Small handful of coriander
  • 2 egg whites
  • A spoonful of salt
  • A spoonful of pepper
  • A spoonful of raw flour
  • A spoonful of cooking wine
West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹
Attractive West Lake Beef Soup


  • Step 1, Chop the beef finely, then put it in the pot with cold water, take it out after the water changes color, and rinse the beef with hot water.
  • Step 2, Chop the mushrooms and coriander, leaving only the egg white for later use.
  • Step 3, Boil water in a pot, add diced beef and mushroom and boil for 3 minutes.
  • Step 4, Add water to make the sauce, add salt and white pepper, wait for the soup to thicken, add egg white, then gently stir with chopsticks, the egg liquid turns into catkins, and finally sprinkle with chopped coriander.
West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹
Beautiful West Lake Beef Soup

Video Guide

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