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Shark’s Fin Melon Soup


Shark's Fin Melon Soup
Shark’s Fin Melon Soup 鱼翅瓜汤

Shark's Fin Melon Soup I am cooking shark’s fin melon soup! NOT shark’s fin + melon soup, but soup made from shark’s fin melon … so don’t worry, no sharks were killed in the making of this soup. As you may have guessed, shark’s fin melon got its name from its resemblance to shark’s fin, a popular and really expensive Chinese delicacy. When cooked (right photo), the strands of the melon separate a little, which really look like shark’s fin, and hence the name of its melon. Shark’s fin melon is really cheap – I bought a piece of the melon for only S$1.50. I was told that real shark’s fin on its own has no nutrition value and no taste, and the overall taste of the shark’s fin soup comes from its earthy broth of chicken, crab and other ingredients. This melon, on the other hand, is packed with lots of taste and nutrients, even my mum swears by the health benefits of this soup. If I am selling this soup, my sales pitch will be that “this soup is more nutritional and much, much cheaper than real sharks fin soup”. If you like this kind version of shark fin soup, do check out my imitation shark fin soup recipe where the fake fins are made with gelatin.

In Singapore, this melon is labeled as ‘Shark’s Fin Melon’ (鱼翅瓜). The flesh resembles winter melon but the green skin covering looks entirely different. According to Wiki, in other countries especially in the west, the other names of this melon are spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo), vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, Spaghetti Marrow (in the UK) , squaghetti or Sharkfin Melon (鱼翅瓜). However, spaghetti squash and the other names may not be a 100% accurate translation, though it gives a good start. According to readers comments, the spaghetti squash in the west is sort of yellow/orange outside and inside. There may be a slight variation of breed from location to location.

(Serves two)

Ingredients for making Shark's Fin Melon Soup

- 1200ml water
- a small piece of shark’s fin melon (about 500-700g before skin & seeds removed)
- 200g pork ribs (or half chicken, skin removed and cut to small pieces)
- 2 honey red dates
- 6 red dates
- 1 tbsp wolfberries
- 1 tsp bitter almonds (optional)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 sweet corn, cut to chunks

Shark's Fin Melon
Shark’s Fin Melon (L: removing seeds with a spoon, R: cut into chunks)

1. Cut away the skin from the shark’s fin melon, scoop out the seeds using a spoon and cut the melon to big chunks (see photo above)
2. Blanch the pork ribs in a pot of water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. Place the blanched pork ribs, cut melon chunks and the rest of the ingredients (except wolfberries) into a pot with the water. Bring to a boil, continue boiling over high heat for 10 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to a lower flame and simmer for at least another 30-40 minutes (and longer if you can). Add wolfberries at the last 15 minutes of cooking. You can also slow cook, or use a thermal pot (or whatever you have) to prolong the cooking to bring out the tastes.

Cooking Notes
1. The key ingredients are pork ribs, melon, wolfberries and red dates. The rest are additional ingredients to improve the taste so you can omit them if you do not have the ingredients.
2. Honey red dates make the soup very sweet. I added both red dates and honey red dates because I have both. You can add either one.

Who’s Also Cooking it

For an alternative way of cooking this soup, check out wokkingmum’s version, whereby she added cornflour solution to make it more starchy and this way of cooking bears even more resemblance to shark’s fin soup. Very interesting and creative!

I’m submitting this soup to Weekend Herb Blogging, a weekly food event started by Kalyn’s Kitchen and hosted this round by We Are Never Full.

On a different note, turns one! Actually, it turned one on 6 Oct, though I just realised it yesterday. Thank you for visiting my food blog :)


Leave a Comment

47 Responses to “Shark’s Fin Melon Soup”

  1. My Wok Life — October 22, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

    You have becoming the professional recipe writer here!

    Nice photos, explicit information and instructions and interesting set up of the overall post.



  2. Nilmandra — October 24, 2008 @ 12:11 am

    I loooove sharksfin melon soup and now I know to look and ask for spaghetti squash! Thanks for the tip :) Although looking at the above comments, I must remember to look for the white flesh and not yellow flesh type. And congrats on turning one!


  3. wiffy — October 26, 2008 @ 8:36 am

    MWL: Thanks, you flatter me :) :|

    Nilmandra: Thanks!! Yes it is white and the yellow is slightly subtle… hope you find it in Canada ;)


  4. Marcela — October 26, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

    This soup looks really great!
    The squash from your picture is Cucurbita ficifolia, it’s different from Spaghetti Squash.
    Here in Argentina we call it “cayote”. In this map there are some uses for this fruit, in different countries.


  5. wiffy — October 29, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

    Hi Marcela, thanks for your info about Spaghetti Squash in Argentina… useful info and I appreciate it ^_^


  6. noobietoo! — October 31, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

    Many thanks for ALL your recipes. I’ve tried many of them and i can see why u LOVE to add red dates. soup is soooo sweet!! and almost ALL your recipes have red dates. any other alternatives??


    • Kenny replied: — May 15th, 2014 @ 8:11 pm

      You could try dried figs.


  7. wiffy — November 4, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

    Hey noobietoo, thanks for your reply… glad u like the soup recipes :) Hmm you can always omit the red dates for any recipe. Hmm to make it sweet u can also try adding soya beans… just soak for two hours, discard water and add to the rest of the soup ingredients to boil ;p


  8. Lance — April 10, 2009 @ 8:33 am

    Nice blog about shark fin melon. I live in New Zealand and have shark fin melon vines growing in my backyard. The vines really spread out and have to be moved to stop them climbing over my clothes line! I get about 2-3 crops per year of melons; the vines flower in spring and autumn and I can get anything from 3-5 melons per crop. They can grow quite large; up to the size of a basketball, sometimes bigger! I cook the melon with pork bones and dried scallops; my mum adds red dates for sweetness when she cooks the melons.


  9. wiffy — April 10, 2009 @ 10:30 am

    Thanks for sharing Lance, I’m quite envious of your flourishing melon garden =)


  10. Deborah — September 25, 2010 @ 7:23 pm


    I really love your recipes, especially the chinese soups. I cant read chinese so it is hard for me to find and learn chinese soup recipes.

    Do you also have recipe for ‘bo jai farn’?.. the rice cooked in a ceramic pot, sometimes with chinese sausage ‘larp cherng’ and chicken/pork. Would love to learn from your blog!!

    Keep up the great work!!