Fish Maw Soup Recipe

Hook, Line & Sinker Fish Maw Soup Recipe

Fish Maw soup is a dense and nutritious meal normally presented for days of celebration. Its silky and thick texture creates a luxurious atmosphere, perfect for a wedding celebration or New Year banquets.

If you want a meal that feels magical and joyous, you will have found it in the Fish Maw Soup.

When the winter months start rolling in, my mind goes straight to this dish. It’s warmth hugs your soul, and the flavors ignite your spirit.

What Is Fish Maw Soup?

Now, don’t let this put you off, but “Fish Maw” means “Fish Bladder.” I can feel you cringing as you read this, but there is so much good that comes from Fish Maw!

For one, this part of the fish , which is often cast out in western food culture, is cherished and seen as a delicacy in Chinese and Vietnamese food culture. But this soup is also known to give you young and beautiful skin.

You might be thinking that sounds like an old folk tale, but looking at the science behind the bladder, there is a strangely high amount of collagen in the ingredient.

Collagen is the bread and butter of all skincare products, strengthening the elastic nature of the organ and keeping it hydrated. These are the main two factors that make our skin look young and healthy!

If you want to learn more about this amazing celebration soup (our delicious Chinese Fish Soup Recipe is another you need to taste), scroll down to the “Culture Of” section of this page!

Fish Maw Soup Recipe

The ingredient you might find hard to find is the Fish Maw itself. I suggest heading to a local Asian supermarket instead of a standard western one because although they probably have a “World Food” aisle, I doubt they stock this overlooked ingredient.

Serving SizeServes 8
Total Cooking Time4 Hours 40 Minutes

Before I start, you should know that this is an overnight recipe! Most of you will have read the method before beginning the cooking process, but some of you will wing it on the day. I’m looking at you, last-minute cooks! This is your warning!


  • Fried Fish Maw – 3.5 oz or 100 g 
  • Chicken Stock – 3 Litres
  • Crab Meat – 17.6 oz or 500 g
  • Salt – ¾ Tbsp
  • Chicken Bouillon Powder – 1 ½ Tbsp
  • Potato Starch – 5 Tbsp
  • Water – ¾ Cup
  • Eggs – 3


  1. Before the cooking begins, you need to soften the Fish Maw – Soak the Fish Maw in cool water, put a lid over it to push it down into the water, and leave it overnight.

You can change the water once or twice in the night if you want to get rid of the lingering fish smell, but the more often you remove the water, the less flavor the maw will have.

  1. In the morning, you can drain the water and cut the Fish Maw into smaller pieces. Keep them refrigerated until you are ready to cook that day.
  2. Pour the Chicken Stock into a large pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the Fish Maw and the Crab Meat to the pot.
  4. Add the Salt and Chicken Bouillon Powder to the pot.
  5. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
  6. While you are waiting, mix the Potato Starch and Water together to make a slurry. Mix until there are no lumps.
  7. Reduce the pot to a low heat and gently pour in the slurry. Stir continuously. 

If you want the soup to be thicker, make more slurry at the same ratio and pour it in bit by bit. The slurry will make the soup thicker fast, so give it a minute to combine.

  1. Beat the eggs until thoroughly combined
  2. Slowly pour the beaten eggs into the pot. Create large rings around the surface instead of dropping it in. This will create a nice texture and will stop the egg from forming one clump.
  3. Let it sit for 30 seconds, then stir the eggs into the soup.
  4. Serve and Enjoy! (you might want to have a taste of our hong kong chicken recipe).

The Culture Of Fish Maw

Despite the Fish Maw’s origins, you won’t find a fishy taste in this soup. Instead, the Maw absorbs the flavors it has been mixed with. This is why some recipes will suggest adding bamboo shoots (check out our delicious bamboo shoots recipe), mushrooms, and ginger to the soup, creating a more varied range of flavors.

If you want to add these ingredients, I recommend doing so before adding the maw to the pot. This is because the maw won’t take long to cook, and if you leave it to boil for too long, it will become chewy.

I didn’t add these extra ingredients because I wanted to stay true to the original recipe. The Fish Maw soup has existed in China since 206 BCE, which was during the Han Dynasty.

This dish was presented to emperors in grand banquets for times of celebration. It was a dish for important visitors and royal occasions. The reason for this high honor was due to the Maw’s health properties. 

Maw is rich in protein, and as a bladder, it boosts the stamina of your kidneys. From the high collagen count, it is excellent at keeping your skin healthy and blood circulation strong. All of these signs lead to a healthy lifestyle.

Back in this time, and still active today, is the idea that “health is wealth.” This is why Fish Maw Soup brings fortune and is used for an immense celebration.

Even today, this traditional delicacy is presented in China’s state dinners when world leaders come to visit.

The average person from China will also enjoy this treasured dish. You will most likely find Fish Maw Soup at weddings, birthdays, and on the Chinese New Year. Basically, any time that calls for a celebration!

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