Kaoya Luobo Tang (Roast Duck Soup with Radishes)

January 14, 2016
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish, 12 to 14 as a side
Author Notes

This recipe calls for a roasted duck. You can pick up great roast ducks in most Chinese delis (and even many supermarkets now) that are very reasonably priced. They are often so good that I look on these as the Chinese answer to picking up a great roast chicken on the way home from work—an easy, delicious dinner can get pulled together in no time. And with this recipe, even the bones get put to work! —Madame Huang

What You'll Need
  • For the broth:
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced fresh ginger
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • Bones, scraps, and scrawny bits from 1 roasted duck (reserve the meat for topping the soup)
  • 1/2 cup Taiwan Mijiu rice wine or sake
  • 1 quart (1 liter) unsalted chicken stock (preferably free range and organic)
  • 4 quarts (4 liters) boiling water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • For the soup and assembly:
  • 2 small fensi (skeins of cellophane noodles), about 1.3 ounces each, or an equal amount of another Chinese noodle, cooked [Editors' Note: we used lo mein]
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dongcai (pickled napa cabbage) or suancai (Chinese mustard pickles)
  • 1 medium (1 pound or so) Asian radish of some kind (Chinese luobo, Korean mooli, or Japanese daikon)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded roast duck, optional
  • 1 large handful chopped cilantro, optional
  1. For the broth:
  2. A day or two before you plan to serve the soup, place a large 2-gallon (8-liter) stockpot over medium heat and add the sesame oil, ginger, and green onions.
  3. Gently fry the ginger and green onions until they turn into thin brown tangles.
  4. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the duck, and slowly fry it to render the fat to release the flavors. When most of the fat has melted, turn the heat to high,
  5. Pour in the rice wine, and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the chicken stock, 2 quarts of the boiling water, and sugar and continue to cook until it returns to a full boil
  7. Decrease the heat and allow the pot to simmer for about an hour.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  9. Strain the liquid into a clean pan, skim off the fat, and store in the refrigerator.
  1. For the soup and assembly:
  2. If using cellophane noodles, about 20 minutes before serving, place them in a large work bowl and cover with cool tap water to soften them.
  3. When they are silky, use kitchen shears to cut across the soft skeins in the water into 3- to 4-inch lengths and drain into a strainer.
  4. Meanwhile, prep the vegetables: Rinse the pickles in a coarse sieve under running water to remove most of the saltiness, making sure that all sand and grit is removed. If using the mustard pickles, cut crosswise into thin 1/8-inch slices. Prepare the radish by peeling off the skin and any tough webbing under the surface and then cutting into 1/8-inch julienne strips (The pickles and radish can be prepped a day or two ahead of time and refrigerated in closed plastic bags until ready to use.)
  5. Bring the strained stock to a full boil and add the radish and the black pepper.
  6. Add the winter vegetable or mustard pickles to taste, as saltiness will vary due to the duck’s preparation. You can also add more boiling water (the remaining 2 quarts, as needed) if your soup turns out to be on the salty side.
  7. Cook this, uncovered, over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the radishes are tender and sweet, but not mushy.
  8. Add the cellophane noodles, if using, and simmer for no more than another 5 minutes, barely cooking through.
  9. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. If using another type of noodle, ladle the broth into bowls filled with the cooked noodles.
  10. Serve immediately with duck meat and cilantro sprinkled on top, if using.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Madame Huang
    Madame Huang
  • Joe Collins
    Joe Collins
  • ljorlin
Carolyn Phillips is a food writer, scholar, and artist. She is the author of the fully illustrated All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China (McSweeney’s + Ten Speed Press, August 2016) and The Dim Sum Field Guide: A Taxonomy of Dumplings, Buns, Meats, Sweets, and Other Specialties of the Chinese Teahouse (Ten Speed Press, August 2016). Her work has appeared in such places as Best Food Writing 2015, Lucky Peach, Gastronomica, Buzzfeed, Alimentum, Huffington Post, Food52, Zester Daily, and at the 2013 MAD Symposium in Copenhagen. She and her husband were cultural consultants on the third Ghostbusters movie, her weekly blog is Madame Huang's Kitchen (, she Tweets as @madamehuang, and Instagrams as @therealmadamehuang. Carolyn’s art has appeared everywhere from museums and galleries to various magazines and journals to Nickelodeon’s Supah Ninjas series. She worked for over a decade as a professional Mandarin interpreter in the federal and California state courts, lived in Taiwan for eight years, translated countless books and articles, and married into a Chinese family more than 30 years ago.

3 Reviews

Joe C. January 23, 2017
That does not look like cellophane noodles in the Picture?
ljorlin January 29, 2016
where are the direction for roasting the duck that will be used in the soup?
Madame H. January 29, 2016
Seems like a note in this recipe has gone missing. Sorry about that! You can pick up great roast ducks in most Chinese delis and even many supermarkets now that are very reasonably priced. They are often so good that I look on these as the Chinese answer to picking up a great roast chicken on the way home from work - an easy, delicious dinner can get pulled together in no time. And this way, even the bones get put to work!