Since debuting on the hotpot menus of restaurants such as Beauty In The Pot, collagen soup has remained a sought-after dining-out experience.
It is a primal memory for many, including Bella Koh, #HerWorldTribe member and the wellness practitioner behind Slowhouse (theslowhouse.co). She recently started selling fresh-cooked soups (prices start from $25 for a bowl of fish maw soup), with recipes inspired by those her grandmother made for the family.
“She would cook a Peranakan-style fish maw and pork intestines soup that we savoured every festive season,” Bella recalls. “In Hong Kong, for instance, Cantonese soup is a daily ritual, but it isn’t so here. Nothing much comes to mind when you talk about iconic soups in Singapore.”
Bella’s version is tweaked for a healthier lifestyle. Based on a clear-style dashi instead of pork, it includes plenty of fish maw, tofu and vegetables. Its popularity took her by surprise, with fans clamouring for more than what she could produce from her own kitchen.
She is already planning to introduce frozen, ready-to-eat soups to cater to the demand. “I see it more as a craving for authentic food that offers nourishment and comfort. Many customers ordered it for themselves after their vaccination, or to send to friends and family,” she says.
Fish maw – animal bone or skin – is known to be high in collagen, and is loved as an ingredient in soups. Unlike bone broth, which is mainly made by simmering bones, ligaments and tendons, collagen is extracted from more parts of the whole animal, such as feet and skin.
Meanwhile, for those who prefer staying in, collagen soup comes in convenient frozen packs too. Simply defrost, then boil the soup for five minutes or less, throw in your favourite ingredients, and you get a complete meal.
Here, we put three frozen collagen soup brands to the taste test. Find out how they fared.