The World Runs On Chicken Soup

There are few universal truths out there, but one that reaches beyond cultural boundaries is the belief in the healing properties of chicken soup.

There are few universal truths out there. But one that reaches beyond cultural boundaries is the belief in the healing properties of chicken soup. Scientists have even discovered that the broth from chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that may help speed recovery.


It was a cure-all as a kid.

The combination of savory broth, tender chicken, and hearty veggies all work together miraculously to cure runny noses, scratchy throats, and other sickly symptoms.

It’s no wonder there are unique chicken soup recipes found all over the world. Here are the five most popular.

1. American (Chicken Noodle Soup)


If it inspired Warhol, it should inspire you. Photo: Robert Couse Baker / Flickr

It’s important to distinguish chicken soup from chicken noodle soup. The ancient Greeks are credited with the invention of plain chicken soup, having used its broth as a go-to remedy for illness. American chicken noodle soup, on the other hand, was more or less created in the ‘40s by Campbell’s – everyone’s favorite canned soup brand.

The classic Campbell’s recipe contains chicken broth, meat, and noodles. However, most Americans lend their personal style when making it from scratch, adding hearty vegetables like carrots, celery, and potatoes, as well as various spices.

When it comes to pasta, thick or twisty egg noodles are preferred by some, while others substitute them entirely with rice or dumplings.

2. Vietnamese (Pho)


Its origins are unknown, but it is certainly yummy! Photo: Ducson Nguyen / Flickr

While American chicken noodle soup is more soup than noodle, this traditional Vietnamese dish is more noodle than soup. The history of pho is somewhat of a mystery. It is believed to have debuted in Northern Vietnam during the late 19th century, around the beginning of the French-Vietnamese colonization.

A typical bowl of pho will contain banh pho noodles, thinly sliced chicken or beef, onions, ginger, and broth that’s been simmering for hours.

The bowl is finished off with a garnish of basil, bean sprouts, scallions, cilantro, and sauces. While many Vietnamese dishes appear similar to pho, true pho must have beef or chicken in addition to the pho noodles.

3. Filipino (Arroz Caldo)


Among many variations of the soup. Photo: Matthew Mendoza / Flickr

Arroz caldo — the Filipino chicken soup for the soul! Known as congee, conjee, and lugaw in Tagalog, it means “rice broth” or “porridge.” This type of chicken soup is surprisingly common throughout Asia.

Sometimes seasoned with safflower and pepper instead of traditional ginger and scallions, Filipino arroz caldo does have a bit of Spanish influence as a result of colonization during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The soup contains rice, onions, oil, garlic, ginger, chicken, and fish sauce, that when blended, creates a delicious aroma. Top it off with scallion, more crispy fried garlic shavings, and maybe some calamansi juice (a small citrus fruit similar to lime).

4. Jewish (Matzo Ball Soup)


Whether you prefer them soft or hard, it’s a win either way! Photo: TheCulinaryGeek / Flickr

Goldene yoich with knaidlach, aka matzo ball soup or chicken soup with matzo balls, is a delicious chicken soup often served at Passover. During a traditional Seder, matzos represent the unleavened bread the Jews ate while fleeing Egypt.

The soup has also been called “Jewish penicillin” as a result of its strangely effective healing powers.

The magic’s definitely in the matzah balls – these chicken dumplings are tenderly made using eggs, water, oil, kosher chicken stock, almond meal, and, of course, matzo meal. Depending on the skill of the matzah-maker, the finished balls will either be classified as a “floater or sinker” based on their density.

5. Peruvian (Aguadito de Pollo)


You think this can really wake the dead? Photo: Media Cookery / Flickr

This soup has something of a macabre nickname. Intended to be consumed in the morning, this Peruvian chicken soup is known as levanta muertos or soup that “raises the dead.”

Made with cilantro, aji amarillo peppers, peas, corn, carrots, and potatoes this filling soup will warm you up from the inside out.