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Egg Drop Soup with Clams

Egg Drop Soup
Egg Drop Soup pictures (1 of 8)

I used to dread egg drop soup (蛋花汤); I had countless bad, sticky, gooey egg drop soup made popular by American Chinese restaurants here in the US. When I was a poor and starving graduate student in the Midwest, I ate too much crappy Chinese buffets or lunch specials with endless supply of MSG-loaded egg drop soup. I was not a big fan of it.

But it all changed recently when I was in Shanghai, when I dined at Jesse, a famous local gem that serves exquisite Shanghainese fare. Their egg drop soup was superior with light and refreshing broth (no starch added!) saturated with the natural sweetness of clams. My co-worker and I slurped the big serving of egg drop soup dry; it was satisfying.

I have been making egg drop soup with clams since I came back. I try to replicate the taste and perfect the recipe, and I think I am getting there.

Try my egg drop soup recipe and say goodbye to the runny, tasteless, plain, boring egg drop soup you get from your Chinese joints. Say hello to a refreshing, comforting, and home-made egg drop soup that you will need to beat the summer heat. If you don’t like clams, you can add tofu and it works fine, too.


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57 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Oh! I actually kind of like the sticky egg drop soup (or maybe it was just the last one I had in new york?). But I’ve no doubt this is definitely much more delicious and elegant! :)

      • Lee M.

        I used to work in a Chinese restaurant with a Taiwanese chef. Some of the best food I ever ate was made in the kitchen for us workers. Lots of the stuff served customers we referred to as American junk food. (Chow mein particularly.)

        I usually just use a little chicken broth, some shrimp and fresh veggies and add a little egg mixed with sesame oil, then top with a little more sesame oil and some scallion. My favorite soup!

        This is a lot like it, so I’ll definitely try it–I love clams~!

  2. Perfect. Gonna be eating this one. You know I have a love of clams, and this soup looks like a perfect showcase for them. Lovely photo too.

  3. Valerie

    Hi Bee,

    Thanks for this simple, easy to prepare soup. Eggs and clams are really good for me now. I will go get some clams and make it for tonight’s dinner

  4. NYMY

    I have to give it to you, RM. Your obsession with seafood and shell fish has no boundaries. I had similar version but without the shell. I think the clams are smaller, too. Yours definitely look fresh and ready to savor.

    • I’m totally with you on American Chinese restaurant eggdrop soup. Given the choice of MSG water with hocky pucks (wonton soup), salty wallpaper paste with sponges (egg drop soup) and hot and sour soup, I always opted for the hot and sour soup if for no other reason than the anti bacterial properties of the vinegar.

      I could see how a soup like this would change anyones mind and erase all those bad experiences.

      • Marc – tell me about it. I wish Chinese restaurants in the US are like Japanese restaurants. I just don’t understand how they can make a great tasting cuisine into something totally unrecognizable and plain bad. The Chinese food in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Malaysia/Singapore are soooo great. Unbelievable!

  5. Oooh, I love egg drop soup. And the eggs look so fluffy in this soup. Amazing. I admit I don’t do it ‘right’ either. My eggs don’t look like this at all…..:(

  6. I do not like sticky egg drop soup (due to the cornflour added to thicken the soup) but I do enjoy the “silky, smooth” version. Usually, I will turn off the heat, then stir in the whisked egg and make sure the egg is just cooked and not overdone.

  7. Mr RebeL

    Thanks for the recipe. I also hate the ‘artificially’ thickened soups around here.

    I’ve been following your blog for some time and like the challenge of trying to make it vegetarian. I would gladly eat your version but my wife is vege.

    • Peter Kong

      Cut some old ginger into thin strips and add to the soup to boil for more flavorful veg taste. And/or soak tofu skins and cut into smaller pieces to add into the soup for something to eat instead of just drinking soup.

      For variety you can put some tom yam paste (or cubes) to make tom yam egg drop soup.

      Actually you also can add cabbages or any other type of veg suitable for soups. Improvise and experiment.

      • susan


        We are talking about EGG drop soup, something clear, light and easy. It is perfectly OK to replace clams with tofu or more leaf vegetables as some people may not eat meat. When you change the soup base to Tom Yum, it is totally a different dish. What about curry or Chinese herbs?

  8. Shooi

    blog hopped here from another blog. Your recipes and photos are making me hungry. But they all look easy enough for me to try one of these weekends. I have already bookmarked a few to try it out soon. THanks for sharing. :)

    • Simon

      If you have time, you can boil your own stock for hourse on whole chicken, scallions, rice wine, ginger and whatever vegetables you like. After simmering for several hours you can let the stock cool down, skim of excessive fat and remove chicken and vegetables. I sometimes make “ice cubes” of out of stock and store in freezer.

  9. Ruby

    What can i replace with on the chinese rice wine and sesame oil? Can i exclude the both of this ingredients?

  10. Simon

    Hi Bee,

    Had same type of soup with chicken instead of clams in Hong Kong. This was a completely different experience. MSG is very hard to avoid completely, but the best broth is definitely homemade. Sometimes I have to cheat by using Knorr haha as my work schedule is tight. But whenever there is time and leftover chicken parts, I cook broth. I cook mine with rice wine, chicken meat and bones, spring onions, ginger and various greens.

    Good to see that you also use white pepper powder. It adds a excellent little “kick” to sauces and soups. I found sugar and white pepper to nearly do the same trick as MSG.

    But as you mentioned MSG; have you tried anything named Mushroom seasoning or anything like that? It’s supposedly a thing they sell instead of MSG now. I received this tip from a chinese guy.

  11. Rachel

    Love the broth, but I really like a soup loaded with a bunch of things so instead of getting clams, which can be pricey here, I just fill it with chinese veggies and tofu, plus extra eggs.

  12. Ali

    Just made this and it was absolutely amazing. First recipe I’ve tried from your site and I can’t wait to see what else I can try to make. :D

  13. Jennfer

    Will surely try some of your recipes. Great to find this site. I am very weak in estimation when cooking is concern. Would be helpful if you can indicate how many persons each recipe is for :)

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