November 27, 2016

Pear & Snow Fungus Tonic Soup 雪梨雪耳湯

asian pear, chinese, health, Herbal, Pear, recipe, Snow Fungus, snow pear, Soup, sweet, Tonic, 北杏, 湯 apricot kernel, 雪梨, 雪耳
By Published: 2016-11-27
With the change in the weather in Hong Kong really kicking in this month, the famous humidity of the long, long summer has dropped away, leaving cool and very dry days behind.  My little girl has a 'hot' nature according to Chinese Medicine, with dry skin, hot body and easy perspiration and thus the sudden dryness of the weather has inflamed her 'hot' nature to the point where she has also been getting a lot of nose bleeds.  The Chinese, naturally, have a healing soup for everything and so there are plenty of soups that soothe the heat of the body   I bustled myself down to the wet market today to get the fresh ingredients to make a little pot of the traditional Chinese healing and strengthening soup known as Pear & Snow Fungus Tonic Soup, or 雪梨雪耳湯, that helps to soothe and tonify the body to more easily make the transition into the dryer cooler temperatures of the autumn.  

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Actually at first I was all set to make my usual Chinese Pear Herbal Tonic Soup 川貝雪梨湯, but at the wet market I spied a most interesting object, beautiful and mysterious, seemingly a white fluttering peony like flower blossoming straight out of a brown brick.  It turned out, upon inquiry, to be fresh snow fungus, or 雪耳, growing on a log of soil!  And of course I had to try it and thus decided on making Pear & Snow Fungus Tonic Soup instead.  I love the daily adventure of the wet market!

This fresh snow fungus is something I have never seen before, usually only encountering dried snow fungus at the asian grocery store.  The fresh snow fungus is amazing because it is so very fragrant!  One wouldn't think that something like this had a smell at all really, but it smells wonderfully like a cross between a rose and jasmine flowers!  This fragrance translates into the tonic soup when boiled, imparting a delicate sweet floral note.  The snow fungus, also known as white fungus, silver ear and white wood ear, clears the heat and moistens the lungs and skin according to traditional Chinese medicine.

Pear, Snow Fungus, herbal, Tonic, sweet, chinese, Soup, health,  雪梨, 雪耳, 湯  apricot kernel, asian pear, 北杏, recipe, snow pear

We used the snow pear 雪梨 but any kind of asian pear can be used.  Asian pears are exceptionally crisp and juicy which differs from European pears which are more buttery in texture.  There are thousands of different kinds of Asian pears, let's see, there's the Nachi pear, Japanese Pear, Yali 鴨梨, Korean Pear, Taiwan Pear, Sand Pear, Apple Pear, to name just a few.  These asian pears do not ripen further once picked, so choose carefully.  Look for pears that are round and handsome, quite heavy (juicy) and hard (fresh and super crunchy).  There is usually no blush to these kinds of pears so look for even color without blemishes and bruises.

Pears will moisten and clear heat from the lungs which in turn will clear up the nosebleeds, according to traditional Chinese medicine.

Pear, Snow Fungus, herbal, Tonic, sweet, chinese, Soup, health,  雪梨, 雪耳, 湯  apricot kernel, asian pear, 北杏, recipe, snow pear

And finally I threw in a few of these Apricot Kernels 杏仁, also known as Xing Ren and Apricot Seed, to help with the slight coughs that often come with weather changes.  Just a few of these nutty kernels is all you want, as you want to be careful with these, they have a wee bit of toxicity and so should be limited to say, around 8 kernels a day.  And you must get the kind that have the skin removed already, as per the photo above, as most of toxicity is in the skin.  Look for these at your local Chinese herbal pharmacy or even at the HK wet markets where I got mine.


And then there's the lovely blushing red dates 紅棗, also known as Jujubes or Hong Zao, that I also included in the soup as you can see in the photos, only to be corrected after the fact by my 老公 who reminded absentminded me that red dates are warming and promote blood health, which is not what is wanted for nose bleeds!  Oops...ah well...just quickly scooped them out before serving and, yummy for me, I got to eat all the red dates all by myself!  So sweet and scrummy!


The Pear and Snow Fungus Tonic Soup is a quick little soup: once your dried snow fungus is reconstituted you can have it made in around a half hour.  And how very nice to have a soothing, sweet and tasty little treat for yourself and the family while also fortifying them with health strengthening foods!

What's your favorite Chinese tonic soup?

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Pear & Snow Fungus Tonic Soup Recipe  雪梨雪耳湯  
(makes 6 bowls)  Prep time:    Soaking time: 30 mins  Cook time: 


2-3 asian pears
1 cup snow fungus 雪耳
apricot kernels 北杏 (optional)
rock sugar 冰糖 to taste


Clean and peel pears.  Slice into bite sized chunks, discarding the core.  If using dried snow fungus, soak snow fungus in cool water for 30 mins until completely softened.  Use a scissors to remove the hard slightly darker bottom center of the fungus.  Use fingers to tear fungus into bite sized pieces.

Add all ingredients except sugar into medium sized pot and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch.  Boil over low heat for 15 mins, checking water at intervals and adding more boiling water as needed.  Add rock sugar to taste and simmer over low heat for another 5-10 mins until pears are soft and tender.  Serve hot.  Happy Autumn days!

More Chinese Sweet Soups at The Hong Kong Cookery:

chinese, Dessert Soup, Egg Flower, recipe, sweet, Water Chestnut, 糖水, 菱角, 蛋花, 馬蹄Egg Flower Water Chestnut Dessert Soup 蛋花馬蹄糖水

chinese, classic, Dessert Soup, ginger, recipe, Sweet Potato, sweet soup, traditional, warming, yam, 姜, 番薯, 糖水Chinese Sweet Potato Ginger Dessert Soup 番薯姜糖水

chinese, Herbal, Pear, pear soup, recipe, soothes cough, Soup, Tonic, 川貝, 燉, 糖水, 雪梨Chinese Pear Herbal Tonic Soup 川貝燉雪梨

acv, apple cider vinegar, health benefits, Health Drink, homemade, recipe, Rice Vinegar, vinegar mother, 健康, 米醋, 飲品Homemade Rice Vinegar Health Drink 健康米醋飲品

Cold, di huang, Green Bean, Herbal, itchy, Licorice, Prickly Heat, recipe, Soup, tea, Tonic, 甘草, 生地, 綠豆, 茶, 薏仁Green Bean Licorice Prickly Heat Herbal Tea 生地綠豆甘草茶


  1. I love that you posted this! In winter here in Xi'an, they serve this on the street. It seems they put in goji berries or jujubes in too....even though they said not to? It is so lovely and warm to drink on a cold day! Thank you!

    1. Hi morningside girl - How's the Xi'an winter? I imagine it to be quite cold! Lovely that you can just get this soup at the roadside, I'm jealous! ~ellen


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