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ABC Soup (Pork Ribs, Potato, Carrot, Onion)

Note: First posted in Jul 2009, now updated with new photos and improved recipe.

This Chinese pork ribs soup with vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, celery) is commonly known as “ABC soup” or “luo song tang” 罗宋汤 here. I think every family who cooks Chinese soups in Singapore (and Malaysia) cook some form of ABC soup if you see potatoes, carrots, corn etc in their pot. You know the combination of ingredients is perfect when 10 minutes into simmering, the entire kitchen is filled with a wonderful soup aroma.

Similar Recipe:
Chicken "ABC" Soup Recipe
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I always wonder why it is called ABC soup since there are no pasta letters in it, and the main ingredients (typically potatoes and carrots) do not form the letters A, B and C. Check out the following fun compilation of readers’ comments which explain the origins of the soup name.

ABC Soup

Possible reasons for the name “ABC Soup” from readers’ comments, thanks for sharing!

  • @k (my fave!) “I read from somewhere that it’s called ABC soup because: A-nion, B-otato, C-arrot
  • @Steve Seto – “It’s called “ABC” because it’s popular with American Born Chinese. It’s a name given by native Chinese restaurant workers.
  • @Michelle ChewScientifically and logically, the name ‘ABC’ for this soup arises from the vitamins it provides: Vit A – Carrot, Vit B – Potato (Vit B6 in specific), Vit C – Tomato
  • @andy “A – Ang Mo Kio (Tomato), B – Bah Kut (pork ribs), C – Carrot”
  • My theory (to add on): “Making this soup is as easy as ABC!

80 comments on “ABC Soup (Pork Ribs, Potato, Carrot, Onion)”

  1. I am going to try your ABC soup.I like all the info you are shaering . I thank you .
    I also have a question , I love diem Sum but can’t find a recipe can you help me.

  2. Hi there, love this soup recipe.
    I noticed from the picture that you used Thermal magic pot to cook. I am looking around to buy a suitable one. For the above serving of 4 recipe, what is the best size?
    My parents have one 6 L but it’s too big for me and I remember if too big, it’s not effective in retaining the heat to cook.
    Is 4.5 L suitable or 3L? 3L seems a little bit full if include all the ingredients.


    • Hi, I am using the 4.5litres and it can cook for 2-6 persons. Personally I find 6L too big for my need (the SA told me that for this pot to be effective, it needs to be filled at least 1/2 to 3/4). So personally I chose the in-between option: 4.5L. Hope this helps.

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  4. Hi, tried this recipe for the first time. its really easy! thanks bunch.

  5. Its actually call ABC is because its one of the easiest to make soup I’m already 40+ and i heard this even from my Grannies years so that’s make sense.

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  7. Can i leave out the celery?? NTUC always sell one big bag which i seldom use…..

  8. Can replace pork ribs with chix?

  9. Can I cook this dish using slow cooker? Meaning let it remAin in slow cooker for 8 hours

    • Yes you can. For best results, you can blanch the chicken first to get rid of the scum bits. Also use hot boiling water for the slow cooker so that it will boil faster.

    • thanks! so i don’t have to bring it to a boil in a pot first right? I just dump everything and boiling water into the slow cooker?

    • I pre-boil the chicken for 5 minutes, rinse it to get rid of the scum. Then dump everything and boiling water into slow cooker. At least, that’s how I do it.

  10. Hi! is there a specific reason why the salt isnt added in the beginning? :) thank you!!

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