Watercress Soup (Sai Yeung Choy Tong)

My first and perhaps only experience with watercress has always been in the form of soup. But the interesting thing is, in Cantonese (sai yeung choy), this veggie literally means “Western vegetable”. Meaning, this must be one of those imported and localized sort of ingredient.

Truth be told, I have no idea how to cook it the Western way. How do you use this? In salad? I saw Jamie Oliver use this in salad though his watercress looked more like sprouts and young and tender.

In this soup though, we use fully grown watercress. I rarely see this in markets but when I do, it goes into this soup! Because watercress is so strong in fragrant and flavourful, I decided to go the lighter chicken broth route instead of the heavier pork bone broth.

So for this particular one, I used blanched chicken carcass, watercress, honey dates, red dates, dried scallops, dried oysters, goji berries, water & salt.
Watercress Soup (Sai Yeung Choy Tong) 1

Soups like these are just a matter of chucking everything in the pot.
Watercress Soup (Sai Yeung Choy Tong) 2

I figured it’s about time to introduce my friendly sous chef to you all. Meet Ms Magic Saver. She’s sweet. And warm. I cannot tell you how much gas & energy I’ve saved using this thermal pot! Bring everything to a boil then snap the cover shut. It stays in that boiling heat for HOURS! Invest in one. It’s totally worth it.
Watercress Soup (Sai Yeung Choy Tong) 3

The veggies get super soft.
Watercress Soup (Sai Yeung Choy Tong) 4

This soup is super savoury and also sweet.
Watercress Soup (Sai Yeung Choy Tong) 5

I read that watercress promotes cooling properties so if you’re feeling a little feverish, this is good.
Watercress Soup (Sai Yeung Choy Tong) 6

When I make this soup, I just toss some rice into my bowl and call it a meal.
Watercress Soup (Sai Yeung Choy Tong) 7

How do you use watercress where you are? I need to be schooled.


“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

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Watercress Soup (Sai Yeung Choy Tong)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 8
  • 1 bunch (about 300gms/ 8-9oz) Watercress (sai yeung choy), washed thoroughly
  • 2 Chicken Carcass, blanched
  • 3 Honey Dates
  • 6 Red Dates
  • 1 tbsp dried Scallops
  • 1 tbsp dried Oysters
  • 1 tbsp Goji Berries
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 6-7 cups Water
  1. Place all the ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to simmer and leave to bubble for 1 hr.
  3. If using thermos pot like me, bring ingredients to a boil in the inner pot. Replace it into the thermal casing and leave at least 1 hour or until ready to consume.
  4. Enjoy!

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