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What was U.S. President William Howard Taft's favorite food? Turtle Soup!!!

  • Mar 30, 2011
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Turtle Soup
I find myself a bit of a hypocrite sometimes when it comes to food. Always thinking that I would never eat anything that could also be a pet, I gave in and ate some turtle soup last month at the Chinese restaurant inside of Le Meridian Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan.
It was a good friend’s birthday banquet and she especially ordered this turtle dish that took many hours for the kitchen to prepare as a special treat to share with good friends.  At first I resisted eating it because I explained I have 3 turtles in my pond at home, at which time my friends asked me if I weren’t going to eat fish either because I also have fish in my pond? Okay, point taken, so I went ahead and ate my turtle soup and it was quite delicious.
Turtle is popular in Chinese cuisine as a delicacy that is also believed to be good for your health and beauty.  Only soft shell turtles (鱉or 甲魚) are consumed in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China while hard shell turtles (龜) are reverend for their legendary longevity and power. They are usually cooked chopped up in large pieces (with skin and meat still attached to the bone) in a clear soup with Chinese medicine and herbs. I think the meat has the texture of frog legs while the skin is gelatinous, the taste is subtle like chicken white meat, not at all fishy as I originally assumed it would be.
Incidentally, I learned from going to school in the USA that Americans also eat turtle soup as well. I spent years in Philadelphia going to the University of Pennsylvania and I was quite surprised to discover that most diners in the Delaware Valley serve something called the Snapper Soup which is a creamy, brownish soup made with snapping turtles, hence the name, Snapper Soup.  This soup seems to be quite popular locally since every time I would go to a diner with friends from school, someone in our group would get this soup. I tasted it a little once and it was like eating a hearty beef gravy, with finely chopped meat that had the texture of chicken, and the taste was indiscriminate since the soup was so heavy. 
Menu from the banquet, 3rd dish from top is Turtle Clear Soft Shell Turtle Soup, chunks of turtle I also ate the fish dish at the banquet Fish and turtle in my pond, I will not eat them!!

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June 04, 2012
Looks appetizing!
April 09, 2011
A good friend of mine in Pennsylvania was a life-long turtle hunter. I have helped him hunt and butcher snapping turtles. The snapper is actually a vicious carnivore that most farmers would like to rid from their ponds. It is impossible to keep fish or ducks in a farm pond if you have snappers. His wonderful soup was like a Cajun gumbo, but with barley instead of okra.
April 06, 2011
Whoa, random fact in your review title! I've had some pretty exotic foods before, but I'm not sure if I've ever tried turtle soup... My dad says that it taste like chicken though, too :P And I didn't know that a variation was served in the states as well. I can see why they serve it at weddings though -- long life!  I feel the same way about eating frogs, because I have a frog, and my friends said the same thing to me about fish!  Thanks for sharing this, Landy :)
April 06, 2011
I've had turtle soup in Indonesia. It was pretty good. I also had cobra soup O.o.....
April 01, 2011
Hmmmmm. I've never had Turtle Soup ... maybe I should give this a try ... thanks for sharing!
April 03, 2011
Snapper soup is pretty good, definitely worth trying!! :-)
April 01, 2011
One of my favorites. I must admit that my love for food is more than my love for the animals ;p Ooops...
April 03, 2011
hahaha, you are so funny Sharrie!! :-)
March 30, 2011
Landy, you are making me too hungry. I'll have to send you my food bill... ;)
March 30, 2011
look in your fish tank for food!!!
More Turtle Soup reviews
Quick Tip by . January 16, 2010
Highly popular in Singapore & many other Asian cultures, Turtle Soup is considered a delicacy & is cooked with herbs.
About the reviewer
Landy ()
I love traveling around the world, and think of myself as a little adventurist. I have visited more than 60 countries, with multiple trips to certain destinations. I enjoy writing and analysing things … more
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About this food


Turtle soup is soup or stews made from the flesh of the turtle. The dish is existent in many cultures and is viewed as a luxury or delicacy.
The green turtle was commonly used for turtle soup in the United States and United Kingdom. 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 with large Chinese 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 (鱉) such as Pelodiscus sinensis is commonly consumed in this manner in Chinese cuisine, while consumption of hard-shelled turtles (龜) are often avoided due to mythical connotations associated with the latter. However, the hard shells of certain turtles is used in the preparation of the so-called "turtle jelly", or Guilinggao.
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Food, Chinese Cuisine, Soups, Philadelphia, Turtle, Snapping Turtle, Delaware Valley, President William Taft


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