17 Winter Soups From Around the World

Photo of Remy Millar
23 January 2017

Even the most hopeless chefs can blend their way to a warming, nourishing meal. Culture Trip has scoured the globe for exciting soup recipes from the classic to the unusual, guaranteed to tantalize those hibernating taste buds.

1. French onion soup

Classic French onion soup | © Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock 2

Dating back to the Roman times, the classic French onion soup as we know it today originated in Paris in the 18th century. Usually served with meat stock and topped off with a hunk of bread topped with cheese, this historic offering is the ultimate comfort soup.

2. Polish zurek

Polish zurek, which translates to sour ‘sour rye soup’ | © Bartosz Luczak / Shutterstock

Translating as ‘sour rye soup’, this Polish warmer is traditionally served in a hollowed-out bread. Although the recipe varies from region to region – for example, poured over mashed potatoes in Silesia, or with hard-boiled eggs in the Podlaskie region – their common ingredient is the sour rye flour that thickens the soup and pork, which is added in the form of sausage, bacon or ham.

3. Mexican sopa Azteca

Tortilla soup | © Nataliya Arzamasova / Shutterstock

Though the name of this soup implies it is from the Aztec region, it in fact means ‘tortilla soup’. Mexico’s comfort food is made from a base of vitamin C-packed tomato and protein-rich beans, and is topped with every millennial’s favourite superfood, the avocado. Add tortillas to garnish, and the rest is up to you.

4. Hungarian goulash

A warming, meat-filled goulash | © AS Food Studio/Shutterstock

Originating from the mediaeval kingdom of Hungary, goulash is a stew made with meat, vegetables and Hungary’s signature spice, paprika.

5. Tuscan bean soup

Tuscan bean soup | © Leonori / Shutterstock

Named after the Italian region of Tuscany, this hearty vegetarian soup is packed full of protein. Try chickpeas, kidney beans and flageolet beans, and add a cabbage of your choice (kale or savoy are popular) to vegetable stock.

6. Japanese ramen

Ramen soup | © Lisovskaya Natalia / Shutterstock

A fairly recent invention from the east, the concept of ramen was recorded in the early 20th century in Japan, although some argue that its origin is Chinese. All you need to make a ramen is a broth and noodles; the rest is up to you.

7. Greek avgolemono

Avgolemono literally means ‘egg lemon’ soup | © Liliya Kandrashevich / Shutterstock

The clue is in the name for this Mediterranean soup. It literally translates as ‘egg lemon’, revealing two of the key ingredients. Add cream, broth and chicken, and some kissing noises as you whisk – it’s the magic trick to keep the egg from curdling.

8. Korean yukgaejang

This hearty Korean soup is made from shredded beef simmered with vegetables | © BonNontawat / Shutterstock

Yukgaejang is a spicy, thick, Korean soup made from shredded beef with scallions simmered together for a long time. The slow-cooked dish is generally served with rice, making a filling and nutritious meal.

9. Chinese wonton soup

All you need are the chopsticks | © Genky / Shutterstock

Wonton soup takes it’s name from the Cantonese meaning ‘swallow cloud’, because of the way the dumplings float in the broth.

10. Russian rassolnik

This Russian soup has been around since the 15th century | © Minadezhda / Shutterstock

Dating as far back as the 15th century, the Russian rassolnik is traditionally made from pickled cucumbers, pearl barely and pork or beef kidneys. It is often used as a hangover cure.

11. Spanish cocido Madrileño

This soup is one of Span’s national dishes | © Bochkarev Photography / Shutterstock

Considered one of Spain’s national dishes, this soup is traditionally cooked in a huge cauldron, and simmers away for hours, particularly during the winter months. A salt meat, a fresh meat, and a sausage are key ingredients, along with chickpeas soaked overnight.

12. Ukrainian sorrel soup

Ukraine’s version of sorrel soup | © Minadezhda / Shutterstock

Attributed to a number of Eastern European countries, this version is from Ukraine. Sorrel grows wild throughout Eastern Europe, making it a plentiful ingredient rich in vitamin C. Enjoy the soup hot or cold!

13. Haitian joumou

Haitian pumpkin soup | © Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

This pumpkin soup native to Haiti is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day. It dates back to January 1, 1804, when Haitian slave and revolutionary leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti’s independence from its French colonisers.

14. New England clam chowder

The New England classic | © Svariophoto / Shutterstock

This American classic arrived via French, Nova Scotian, and British settlers in the 18th century. Key ingredients are clams and broth, and potatoes, celery and onions are usually included. For a lighter option, try the Rhode Island clear broth version, or Manhattan’s tomato based version.

15. Indian dal shorba

This tasty lentil soup is an Indian staple | © Anna_Pustynnikova / Shutterstock

This deliciously simple and nutritious lentil soup is a staple of the Indian diet. Made with cubes of boiled egg, it’s the perfect winter meal packed with protein.

16. Louisiana gumbo

Gumbo features a ‘Holy Trinity’of vegetables | © Lucky_elephant / Shutterstock

This 18th-century soup is made with a strongly flavoured meat or fish broth, thickened with flour and Louisiana’s ‘Holy Trinity’ of vegetables: celery, bell peppers and onions. Shell fish and spices are added to finish.

17. Thailand’s Tom Yum soup with spicy prawns

Wake up your palate with this spicy soup | © Mirtmirt / Shutterstock

Hot and sour, nourishing and spicy, this offering from Thailand is the perfect flavour to wake up a hibernating palate.

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