6 Local-Style Soup Recipes to Make at Home

From old-school oxtail to a cheesy spoonful with bacon on top, here are some of the HONOLULU’s team’s favorite homemade soups to help stave off the coldest month of the year.


My husband is about to ban me from making soup. I can’t blame him. The moment the weather starts to feel the least bit chilly or we experience a single downpour on a grey day, I have three or four pots happily simmering on the stovetop. This past weekend, I actually ran out of pots and had to make my slate of soups in two rounds. And this was just after we had finally polished off the batch from the weekend before.


There is nothing more comforting than curling up with a steaming bowl of something homemade, holding a spoon in one hand, a book in the other, knowing I don’t have to step outside that day (yes, even after 11 months of semi-isolation). Most of my favorites elicit small-kid time memories with every scoop. My grandma’s giant pot of Portuguese bean soup with, oddly enough, garbanzo beans floating on top. Bowls of jook in the first minutes of New Year’s Day at my Popo’s house in Liliha. Pulling tender bites of beef from chunks of oxtail with sticky, collagen-coated fingers at the dinner table. Others are new discoveries that have become family staples: a tomato bisque recipe Café Kaila gave us for a HONOLULU Family article; potato leek with my first ever order of leeks in my Farmlink Hawai‘i box; chicken and the thick, handcut noodles called slicks conjured up from the pages of the Cook’s Country magazine that my mom started sending me the first year after my wedding.


So on homemade soup day, we’ve gathered up some family recipes for our next cold snap. You can find them all on honolulufamily.com.


SEE ALSO: HONOLULU Staff Favorites: The 8 Best Noodle Soups on O‘ahu for Rainy Days

Oxtail Soup

Oxtail Soup Christi Young Top Down

I always serve my oxtail with grated ginger and shoyu. Photo: Christi Young


I’ve never gotten into the debate of which restaurant’s version is the best. To me, the one handed down to us from my grandma is the true original.


SEE ALSO: You Voted: Here’s Your Top 5 Oxtail Soups on O‘ahu


Portuguese Bean Soup

Portuguese Bean Soup Christi Young

Photo: Christi Young


I prefer my Portuguese Bean Soup thick, almost like a stew. It was only this winter that I tried combining two of my family recipes and discovered a quick and still tasty bowl of this local classic.



Wonton Soup

Wun Tun Soup Christi Young

Photo: Christi Young


The wontons I make for my daughters are more straightforward in flavor than the ones we pick up in Chinese restaurants. Still, the act of folding these simple bundles is just as restful for me as scooping it up, with a few strands of saimin noodles, and slurping them down.


SEE ALSO: Find 12 Vietnamese Noodle Soups on Piggy Smalls’ New Menu



Seasons Eatings Jook Karen Db

Photo: Karen DB Photography


Many call it congee. My popo and gung gung called it jook. The four-ingredient soup is still something I crave when I have a cold.



Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup 1200 Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images


Managing editor Katrina Valcourt spotted this free recipe in a grocery store. The cheesy, creamy soup is still one of her favorites years later.


SEE ALSO: Hawai‘i Comfort Food: Ribollita Soup Recipe


Tom-Yum Style Soup

Tom Yum Martha Chen1200

Photo: Martha Cheng


When Food and Dining Editor Martha Cheng says she cooks something, we know its good. Her fast version of a Thailand broth is less intimidating and still flavorful.