Turtle soup
Turtle soup is soup or stew
A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables , meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used...

s made from the flesh of the turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

. The dish exists in many cultures and is viewed as a luxury or delicacy.

The green turtle was commonly used for turtle soup in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Soup made from the snapping turtle was found mainly in the United States. Chinese and other East Asian cuisines use primarily soft-shelled turtles for turtle soup.


In countries such as Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 with large Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 populations, turtle soup is a Chinese delicacy known for its rich herbal taste. The meat, skin and innards of the turtle are used in the soup. Soft-shelled turtles
Trionychidae is a taxonomic family which comprises a number of turtle genera commonly known as softshells. They are also sometimes called pancake turtles. Softshells consist of some of the world's largest fresh water turtles, though many can adapt to living in highly brackish areas. Members of this...

 (鱉) such as Pelodiscus sinensis are commonly consumed in this manner in Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

, while consumption of hard-shelled turtles (龜) is often avoided due to their mythical connotations. However, the hard shells of certain turtles are used in the preparation of so-called "turtle jelly", or Guilinggao
Guīlínggāo, also known as Tortoise Jelly or Turtle Jelly, is a jelly-like Chinese medicine, also sold as a dessert...


United States

19th-century American cookbooks advised homemakers that for the best turtle soup one should choose a turtle about 10 pounds in weight, as a smaller one would not have enough fat, and a bigger one would have too strong a flavor.

The snapping turtle was also used in the US, in which case it is commonly referred to as
snapper turtle soup, or simply snapper soup (not to be confused with red snapper soup, which is made from the fish called a red snapper
Red snapper (fish)
The red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus, is a fish found in the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States and, much less commonly, northward as far as Massachusetts. In Latin American Spanish it is known as huachinango or pargo...


In many jurisdictions, turtle soup is illegal because many species of turtle are considered threatened or endangered, and cannot legally be captured and killed. Generally speaking, turtle populations cannot quickly recover from the loss of a breeding adult, thus, killing these turtles to make soup can depress populations below sustainable levels.

In the Delaware Valley
Delaware Valley
The Delaware Valley is a term used to refer to the valley where the Delaware River flows, along with the surrounding communities. This includes the metropolitan area centered on the city of Philadelphia. Such educational institutions as Delaware Valley Regional High School in Alexandria Township...

, snapper soup is fairly popular and available at many area diners. It is a heavy, brown soup that tastes a little like thick gravy. The famous Philadelphia restaurant Old Original Bookbinder's
Old Original Bookbinder's
Old Original Bookbinder's is the oldest seafood restaurant in Philadelphia. The family owned restaurant is known for its lobsters and celebrity clientele.- History :...

 is known for their Snapper Soup, which can also be purchased in cans at supermarkets.

Turtle soup, also known as Caouane among Creole communities is popular in New Orleans as well, where it is a specialty of several neighborhood and classic Creole restaurants such as Commander's Palace
Commander's Palace
-History:It was built in 1880. It is located in the Garden District of Uptown New Orleans , and is owned by the Brennan family. It has long been one of the best regarded upscale restaurants in the city. Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse are two of its most famous alumni who have worked in its...

, Brennan's
Brennan's is a creole restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. It is known for its lavish breakfast and for the creation of Bananas Foster.-History:...

, and Galatoire's
Galatoire's is a restaurant at 209 Bourbon St. in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA .Galatoire's Restaurant was founded in 1897 by Jean Galatoire, an immigrant from a small village near Pau, France in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. The restaurant is still run by his fourth...


Turtle soup was U.S. President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States...

's favorite food. He brought a special chef into the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

for the specific purpose of preparing this dish.

External links

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