Wonton soup is one of the most enduring and popular dishes in Chinese cuisine. It now has widespread acclaim as a staple dish wherever you might be in the world. It has travelled through history and throughout the world, resulting in many different versions both within and outside of China.
What are wontons?
Wontons are characterized by a thin flour wrapping that is stuffed with prawn, pork, shallots, and ginger. After cooking, it often takes on a translucent shade. These are often served in a piping hot bowl of broth with wonton noodles.
They are served with the soup spoon at the bottom, the wontons next, garnishings such as chopped green onions, and then noodles. After this has been stacked, an aromatic, decadent broth is poured over it. Some restaurants also place the wontons and noodles on the side of the bowl of soup so that you can eat them separately if you prefer.
A wonton is essentially a type of dumpling, but the main difference between wontons and other dumplings is the thin wrap. The majority of dumplings out there are served with thicker wraps. The word “wonton” roughly translates to clouds in Cantonese, so named for the appearance the floating wontons take in the broth.
The history of Wontons
Wontons date back as far as the Qing Dynasty in 1644, during which wonton soup was enjoyed by the rich families of nobles and merchants. That was the case until the end of World War II, which is when it became more and more popular.
As China saw improvements to its own economy, the dish became more and more popular and was even brought to Hong Kong where many stalls opened up to serve the dish to the working class. The dish slowly adapted, with medicinal ingredients often incorporated into it.
Chinese immigrants to Canada and the West brought along the dish, opening up restaurants that finally introduced it. To adjust it for Western tongues, however, the dish evolved. Wonton wrappers were now used to wrap anything from poke to caviar.
Wonton soup in the West
A lot of versions of this dish in the west now incorporate other ingredients, such as broccoli, carrot, and mushroom. Egg noodles are also commonly used in Western versions of this dish.
It is also not unheard of for fusions of this dish with other Asian ingredients and techniques to come up. Thai spices might end up in use in a dish that contains Chinese wontons, and so on. There is no end to the variations you can come up with, though many purists might argue about the authenticity of fusion cuisine.
Food has always been an interesting artifact of cultural exchange. More often than not, it is the best way to get to know other people’s cultures and exchange ideas. After all, eating is a social endeavour. You sit across from other people while enjoying good food and talking about things.
Food is more than just the things we put in our mouths to give us energy. It is the product of centuries of history and heritage, made with the loving hands of people who understand the importance of good food.
If you’re looking for authentic wonton soup in Edmonton, give us at Rice Bowl Deluxe a call. We have a fantastic menu of authentically-made dishes from all over Asia, brought right here to Canada.