bone tea soup mushrooms on a cutting board

Good Food: Herbal Bone Tea Soup

In traditional Chinese culture, food is as much about nourishment as it is flavor. So, when you’re not feeling so hot, there’s a meal for that, says Danielle Chang, Cofounder of The Hao Life. Such is the case with this herbal bone tea soup—known as herbal bak kut teh. Chang says it was one of the recipes her mother turned to the most whenever she or her siblings were under the weather. Now, she makes it for her own children.  

If you take a close look at the ingredients, you’ll understand why it’s so trusty: ginger is a powerful stomach soother, goji berries can provide an energy boost, and angelica root is considered a mood lifter. 

The soy sauces, says Chang, give it a deep hue like black tea. And, as it happens, that’s the best way to serve it—in a teapot. Simply pour it into a teacup, then replenish as needed. 

bone tea soup service




8 dried shiitake mushrooms

¼ cup dried angelica root

1 head garlic, peeled and lightly smashed

1 1-inch piece cinnamon stick

1 star anise pod

5 whole cloves

2 tablespoons dried whole goji berries

1 cup peeled and sliced lotus roots (about 1/2 inch thick)

1 cup cubed daikon radish or carrots

1/2 cup red dates

1/4 cup white lotus seeds

1 2-inch piece of ginger, smashed

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp light soy sauce 

1 tsp salt



1: Rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms by soaking them in a bowl of warm water for 30 minutes until softened.

Place the pork ribs in a deep soup pot and cover with 8 cups of water. 

Bring the water to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, occasionally skimming the surface. 

Add the angelica root, garlic, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, goji berries, and drained shiitake mushrooms. Then, add the soy sauces and salt. 

Cover the pot and simmer for about 1 hour, until the pork is cooked through and tender.

Strain the soup, receiving the pork ribs. 

Place the pork ribs on a cutting board. Cut the meat away from the bone; chop the meat and return it to the soup before serving.

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