West lake beef soup is a humble starter soup popular among Chinese folks as it calls quite common ingredients: tofu, beef, shiitake mushroom, starch and coriander.

west lake beef soup

This soup is so yummy but so mischievous. It is quite hard to photo. The pictures make it seem quite normal but in fact it is super delicious.

west lake beef soup

Honestly, I am quite confused by the name too. There is one saying about the appearance (the thick egg white soup looks just like the lake). When taking the pictures, I find the reflection makes the soup much similar to the lake surface. Traditionally, the soup use egg white and then we only get white egg drops. But it is ok if you want to use whisked whole egg. Following is my customized version using whisked egg liquid and chopped Bok Choy.

west lake beef soup

To make a successful west lake beef soup, one of the most important step is to separate the minced beef. So minced beef should be cooked in boiling water for 1 minute to remove the odd taste after marinating. After that, break the minced beef into small particles with a scoop.

West Lake Beef Soup

One of the most popular Chinese humble soup--west lake beef soup
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Beef
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 309kcal
Author: Elaine


Beef treatment

  • 1 cup minced beef
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cooking wine

Other ingredients

  • 1 egg white , well whisked
  • 1 thumb ginger , minced
  • 2 shitake mushrooms , chopped
  • 5 cups beef broth , unsalted
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch+ 5 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 box tender tofu , around 100g
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 small bunch of coriander , minced for garnishing


  • Marinate minced beef with salt and cooking wine. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  • Bring water to boil in a pot and cook the minced beef for 2-3 minutes over high fire (this helps to remove any odd taste of the beef), transfer beef out and separated them by pressing with a scoop.
  • In a small bowl, mix 5 tablespoons of cornstarch and 5 tablespoons of water to make water starch. Do not add cornstarch directly in the soup, otherwise you will end up with transparent cornstarch chunks instead of thick soup
  • Load another large pot with beef broth; add beef, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and minced ginger. Bring to boil and simmer for around 10 minutes.
  • Pour water starch in and cook for another 1 minute. Turn up the fire and drop the egg white slowly using one hand and in the mean time, stir the soup quickly with the other hand.
  • Add ground pepper and serve with chopped coriander. Add chopped coriander and mix well before enjoying.


I do not recommend adding the coriander directly in the large bowl. If the soup is not finished within 10 minutes, you will find the coriander leaves turns dark green and lose the aroma.


Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 3879mg | Potassium: 456mg | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 0.9mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2.6mg


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  1. Hi Elaine,

    Thank you for posting this great recipe! When would I add the bok Choy and how should I slice it?

  2. Hello Elaine?
    I first had West Lake a Beef Soup at a small restaurant in Philaelphia.
    It was a place that made delishous dumplings and Shanghai won ton soup.
    Anyway the West Lake was served with vinegar.
    Do you use vinegar and or have you eaten it in a restaurant?
    Thank you
    Bless us all?

    1. Hello Mary,
      We seldom add vinegar in west lake beef soup in China. But adding some vinegar seems reasonable, learning from the famous hot and sour soup.

  3. i absolutely loved this soup! I followed your recipe exactly. I simply added sichuan peppercorn for a little zing some chopped green onion and baby bok choy. Flat out delicious! I looked at many recipes for this soup and I most enjoy this version.

    1. Thanks for your lovely feedback! It is not a famous soup outside China. But it is really delicious and I am so happy to have readers like you who can find the treasure of real Chinese cooking.

  4. You wrote that you didn’t where the name came from.
    My wife and I just got back from China where we visited the West Lake in Hangzhou. She says this is the source of the soup name. Wikipedia wrote ‘ UNESCO describes it as “has influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries” ‘

    This West Lake is 2.5 Sq mi. One of our guides told us there are 38 West Lakes in China!

    1. Thanks so much for the information. I never know that we have 38 west lakes in China. The one located in Huangzhou is the most well known one in China.