Starting the day with this Hong Kong Style Macaroni Soup with Ham (火腿通粉). Light and comforting. Ready in less than 20 minutes.
Macaroni in soup? Yes! That’s right! This is a classic dish in Hong Kong style cafes (Cha Chaan Teng 茶餐廳). It is served during breakfast hours and it usually comes in a meal set with a side of egg, hot dog and toast.
Around the 60’s, there was a huge demands for western style food in Hong Kong, but it was too expensive for most. Many Hong Kong style cafes took the opportunity and created their versions of western style food with common ingredients in affordable prices, which is called “Soy Sauce Western” (豉油西餐). This is how many of the unique dishes started to appear in Hong Kong, like Baked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, and Hong Kong Style Borscht Soup. Today, you can still easily enjoy all these dishes at Hong Kong style cafes.
This macaroni soup is also one that fits Hong Kongers’ palate. Think of it like chicken noodle soup, but it’s lighter and a lot easier to make. The soup is just a combination of chicken broth, cream of chicken canned soup and water. The canned soup gave a good concentrate chicken flavors and a bit of creaminess. Then the chicken broth added extra flavors. I used low-sodium chicken broth, because I don’t want to start off salty. You can always add salt when needed. Whisk the canned soup into chicken broth to dissolve before turning on the heat. Once the soup comes to a boil, taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium while working on the pasta.
For the macaroni, cook them like normal in boiling water until al dente, but no need to salt the water. Drain and then add to the boiling chicken soup you just made. Cook for 2 more minutes, so the pasta can absorb some flavors from the soup. In this dish, I prefer my pasta to be a bit softer than normal, because I feel softer noodles are easier to eat and I don’t like chewing too much. After 2 minutes, remove the pasta with a skimmer and place in serving bowls.
Last is the ham. Just use the most basic uncured ham you can find. Cut into thin strips. Since ham is already cooked, add them to the cooked pasta. Then, top with chicken broth. The ham will warm up in the broth. That’s it!
The portion of macaroni soup is a bit smaller, because I like to serve with a side plate of eggs, hot dogs and toasts. That brings a variety of flavors to the meal and makes it more complete. I highly recommend adding a fried egg to the soup. The runny yolk brought extra creaminess to the noodle soup. It’s my favorite thing.
This macaroni soup is a light flavored dish but very comforting. This is not typically my go-to when I ate at Hong Kong style cafe, but that smells and flavors is the breakfast memory for me. I really enjoyed it! Now, I figured out how easy to make, I’m going to cook this more often. Let me know what you think.
Hong Kong Style Macaroni Soup with Ham 火腿通粉
- 3 ounces sliced uncured ham
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ can cream of chicken soup
- 4 cups water
- 4 ounces macaroni
- Ground black pepper
- Cut the ham into ¼ x 2-inch strips. Set aside.
- In a large pot, add chicken broth. Whisk in ½ can cream of chicken soup until mostly dissolved. Then add water. Turn on the heat to high and bring to a boil, whisk occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce to medium heat.
- In the meantime, bring another large pot of water to a boil over high heat. No need to add salt. Cook the pasta until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta. Add to the chicken broth and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove the pasta with a skimmer and divide into 2 large serving bowls. Top with ham. Pour broth over the pasta. Serve hot with eggs, hot dogs and toasts.
- The cook time of the pasta depends on your pasta. Check the pasta box. Mine recommends 7 – 9 minutes cooking time. I cook the pasta in boiling water for 7 minutes, then 2 more minutes in chicken broth. I prefer my pasta softer than normal, because this is how it’s served in Hong Kong.
- Traditionally, this macaroni soup usually comes in a set meal with a side of fried egg (or scrambled eggs), a hot dog, and a slice of toast. That’s why the pasta portion is a bit smaller. You don’t have to do all of that, but I highly recommend adding a fried egg. The runny yolk adds extra creaminess to the broth.