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Borscht Soup with Garlic Bread Recipe

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Borscht (or Borshch) is a hearty beetroot vegetable soup considered to originate from Ukraine or Eastern Russia. Can’t you believe it? It’s very popular in Hong Kong, yet with a tweak of adding more flavours. It's wonderfully tasty indeed.

You’ll easily find Borscht in the set lunch/dinner menu of cafés run by Hong Kong people. They often use beef soup and add some tenderized beef chunks going with all kind of vegetables.

You might think it’s not that kind of original Borscht, but many Hong Kong people like having some meat or bones to cook soup. My family also likes to have a piece of toasted garlic bread to go with this soup. We just feel that we don’t need anything else, totally satisfied.

Borscht Soup with Garlic Bread Recipe

(Printable recipe)

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time:
Cook time:
Yield: 2 to 3 serves

Borscht Soup02

  • 4 strips beef brisket (or beef bones for soup)
  • 2 to 3 stalks celery
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • ¼ cabbage
  • 2 garlic, crushed
  • 10 to 15 white peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 lemon, grated juice, to taste
  • salt, sugar, white pepper to taste
  • 2 cups (500ml) beef or vegetable stock
  • 2½ L boiling water

  1. Blanch beef brisket (beef bones) for 3 minutes to remove blood. Trim any fat away from the meat.
  2. Add beef brisket (beef bones) into a large pot of boiling water, together with beef stock. Cook for 90 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
  3. Rinse and cut all vegetables into bite-size pieces.
  4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic until aromatic. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add celery and cook for a while. Then add other vegetables and sauté until softens.
  5. Toss all vegetables into the stock. Add tomato paste, white peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
  6. When all the ingredients become tender and you’re satisfied. Season well with salt, sugar, white pepper and lemon juice to taste, along the way you have to taste it by yourself. When satisfied, remove from heat. Serve hot in a bowl. Garnish with parsley if desired. (This time I used Chinese celery as picture shown, adding a touch of oriental flavour. Hehe…) Serve with garlic bread.
  • You may use chicken stock instead, or vegetable stock to make a vegan soup.


  1. Hi Christine, Thank you for translating the recipe into English. I really enjoy the Hong Kong Style Cafe food, do you have any other recipes like Cream soup or macaroni & ham soup?

  2. To Anonymous:
    I'm a fan of Hong Kong Style Cafe foods as well.
    I didn't post macaroni & ham soup on blog yet. But I have got this Chicken and Corn Soup, a popular soup on HK Cafe menu  posted on this blog before. I've added much more chicken meat and flavour in the soup. What do you think?

  3. where do you get Beef Brisket? do they sell it at a local supermarket?

  4. To Anonymous,
    If you can't find any beef brisket at supermarket, try some local butcher shops. Ask for their help. I bought brisket at a local butcher shop ran by Chinese.

  5. Thanks!! I've been looking everywhere for the Chinese version of Borscht recipe.

  6. I moved away from all those Hong Kong Cafes long ago. I've really missed the food, especially the borscht that comes with every meal. Now with this recipe I can make it at home! Thank You Very Much! :)

  7. Hi - I am certainly happy to find this. great job!

  8. yum!
    this soup looks like Krasnodar (south russia) version of borscht :)

  9. Adding 1-2 aniseed for a whole pot seems to do the trick!

  10. Can I substitute to Pork? If so, which part.


  11. @Anonymous:
    Although I haven't tried this recipe with pork, I guess it'd work too.
    I always use pork bones or pork shin for making soups. You might try experimenting with these cuts.

  12. Is the white peppercorn a must have? Can it be replace with something else?

    1. The white peppercorns are to produce a hot flavor and aroma.
      If you don't have any, you can skip it.

  13. Hi Christine,

    I LOVE trying out ur recipes! I was wondering whether of u could use a instantpot to instead of making the beef broth on the stove?

    1. Although I haven't used my Instant Pot to make this soup yet, I'm sure it can help make beef broth in significantly shorter cooking time. Instant Pot is good for making any soup.

  14. Is the 1 hour cook time for veggie (step 5) on top of the 90 minutes (step 2) on cooking the brisket? Total 2hr? Or after 15 mins of boiling the brisket, add veggie? Total 90 mins?

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for asking.
      You need over 2 hrs to finish cooking this yummy soup.

      Firstly, cook the brisket for 90 minutes until it becomes soft. Then add all other veggies to cook further 1 hour.
      This recipe is quite forgiving. Adjust the cooking time according to your stove power.

      Happy cooking !

  15. Hi Christine, may I know how many kg would be for 4 strips of beef brisket? Thank you

  16. Hearty, delicious and very satisfying...definitely a great meal to share with the family!

  17. Christine, I love your blog and use a lot of your recipes, but your Borscht soup has really nothing in common with the original "Borscht" soup. "Borscht Soup" is primarily made with red beets, and a dabble of sour cream on top. An excellent dish. I am sure your recipe for this Asian soup is very good as well, but absolutely nothing to do with "Borscht Soup" except that they are both soups??? Cheers!

  18. Hi Frank,
    Thanks for your feedback. I know it looks weird to western people too, lol. But it really tastes good. Trust me.
    This is the Hong Kong style version that was offered in many Hong Kong restaurants (cha chan tan). I've enjoyed it from my childhood. I have no idea why they called it "Borscht Soup" in the first place. :D

  19. How many grams roughly beef used in the ingredients to make this please Christine??

  20. Hi Joanne,
    I didn't weight it at that time. Probably 500 to 600 grams of beef will be good enough.

  21. We have always used oxtail and added some Worcestershire sauce to the soup too. Delicious.

  22. Hi there,
    Sounds yummy ! Thanks for your input.