Why Everyone Is Obsessing Over An Age-Old Asian Tradition: Bone Broth

Why Everyone Is Obsessing Over An Age-Old Asian Tradition: Bone Broth


26 February 2018


It has been a chilly winter so far in Hong Kong. With the temperature dropping as low as 8ºC, something warm and hearty is perfect for this weather. One of the most satisfying go-to dishes in this situation that has burst into the health scene in Asia and around the world is the trusty bone broth.

On the surface level, bone broth might seem to be a trend that has been enjoying the spotlight however, bone broth has actually been around since the time we were hunter-gatherers. The bone broth that time was not a trend that came and went. It was a practical solution to make the most out of each part of the animal from each successful hunt.

As the years go by, we become more knowledgeable about the world. Our minds and bodies evolved. Technology evolved. With these evolutions and the maintenance of making bone broth, we began to realise that bone broth is not only practical but nutritious. What about at present day? Why do we still make bone broths? Is it still worth passing on to the generations to come? To find out more, we have invited Hong Kong-based Registered Nutritionist (MSc.) and the founder of Nutrilicious, Michelle Lau, to share her insights, particularly on bone broth's history, role, and future in Hong Kong.

PurelyB: Is bone broth a trend in Hong Kong or something that has always been practised here?

Michelle: While bone broth may be a recent trend for some popular diet-makers, bone broth has long been used in various cultures around the world, Chinese in particular, as part of the everyday meal for the family. Bone broth is part of postpartum recovery regimens in Hong Kong. Elsewhere in the world, chefs use broth as a base for soups, stews, etc. In the health world, bone broth is the cornerstone for many diet protocols such as GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome), SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), and even Paleo.

P: What are the health benefits of bone broth anyway?

M: Bone broth is high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, B vitamins, and many other trace minerals. Bone broth is nourishing and is ideal for building energy and vitality in post-operative patients, pregnant/new mothers, and elderly people. Bone broth also contains a good amount of protein, it is assumed that most of this protein comes in the form of collagen, which is good for joint health. 

P: Why should Hong Kongers, with the kind of lifestyle we have, make and consume bone broth?

M: Bone broth can be stored in the refrigerator for no more than a week but can be frozen for later use. Freeze bone broth in ice cube trays so you will have individually portioned broth at the ready. This is perfect for Hong Kongers who are always on the go and time-poor to make sure they get their meals and nutrition in.

P: What is your go-to recipe as well as tips for making the best bone broth at home?

M: The bone broth will only be as good for the body as what you put in it (after all, you are what you eat!), so always start with the best quality bones you can find: bones from grass-fed cows, pastured chicken, or wild-caught fish. I also use bone broth to braise meats and vegetables as well as in soups, sauces and stews.

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Recipe: Nutrilicious Winter Melon Chicken Feet Soup


  • 1 winter melon
  • 8 chicken feet
  • 200g pork shanks
  • 20g peanuts
  • 20g black-eyed peas
  • Salt and white pepper to taste


  1. Rinse and soak the peanuts and black-eyed peas for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Peel and cut the winter melon into pieces.
  3. In a pot, bring the water to boil. Blanch the chicken feet and pork shanks for 5-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a pot, add the chicken feet, pork shanks, peanuts, black-eyed peas and enough water to cover all the ingredients.
  5. Bring the water to boil for 15 minutes and reduce the heat to medium. Cover the lid and cook for 45 minutes, add the winter melon and cook for another hour.
  6. Season with salt and white pepper and serve!

P: Where is bone broth heading in the future? Will it be replaced by something always or continued to be practised especially in Hong Kong?

M: I think we will be seeing more of it in the future and it will always be practised in the Asian culture, especially in Hong Kong. With more eateries serving bone broth on their menu in the future, I think bone broth will be a quick meal that people could drink on the run or “soup up” the scene in office enclaves, along with bone broth home delivery services and freezer-packs at supermarkets.

With all of these benefits, a new recipe we can try from Michelle, and the convenience of bone broth, it is our cue to head to the kitchen and make a bowl for ourselves and our family. Happy cooking!