Teapot Soup

Mt Zunun



This brief article delves into the culinary treasure known as Teapot Soup, an integral part of the Uyghur gastronomic tradition. Originating in the Uyghur Region, this delicacy offers a taste of tradition in a compact form, bridging the gap between history and modernity. "Cheynek Shorpisi," as it's called in Uyghur, is a testimony to the essence of tradition, warmth, and cherished rituals associated with sharing sustenance. This paper presents a thorough investigation into the cultural and culinary significance of Teapot Soup, its historical roots, and contemporary variations.

Keywords: Teapot Soup, Cheynek Shorpisi, Uyghur gastronomy, culinary heritage, cultural significance, historical roots, modern innovations, traditional preparation, Uyghur culture.



Teapot Soup, known as "Cheynek Shorpisi" in Uyghur, is a revered culinary gem hailing from the heart of the Uyghur Region. This paper embarks on a journey into the intricacies of this cherished dish, exploring its historical background, traditional preparation, and its enduring place in the Uyghur culture.

 Historical Significance:

The traditional Uyghur recipe for Teapot Soup calls for a piece of lamb to be placed into a Cheynek, which translates to "teapot" in Uyghur, along with chopped onions and a dash of salt. This mixture is then placed on a flame, ideally over a charcoal fire, for at least an hour. It is important to note that the recent emerge of the Mug, resembling a teapot, replaces the traditional cooking vessel in this method in 1960s. Both popular nowadays, this cooking technique reflects the deep-rooted traditions of the Uyghur community. Sometimes, guests are served with soup with the teapot, highlighting the cultural significance of this dish.

 Culinary Craftsmanship:

Teapot Soup crafting requires precision. Tender mutton and vibrant carrots, both cut into bite-sized morsels, are meticulously arranged within Teapot. Once cooked to perfection, a sprinkle of salt imparts the finishing touch, elevating the flavours to new heights. In some Uyghur households, porcelain jars, like the Cheynek, were a common presence prior to the 1980s, serving both practical and cultural roles.

 Historical Context of Mug Soup:

The genesis of Mug Soup can be traced back to the 1960s when the Kashgar Pahtekli Commune initiated a water conservation project during the Great Leap Forward. The laborers on this project faced hardships, including meagre sustenance due to logistical challenges. In response, an astute Uyghur cadre introduced the concept of distributing ingredients in enamel mugs to expedite cooking. This solution was innovative, utilizing dry desert firewood and a spark to cook individual portions of succulent meat. Thus, "mug soup" was born, offering a practical solution to a challenging situation.

 Modern Innovations:

While tradition primarily included carrots and onions in this dish, contemporary variations have introduced an array of ingredients such as raisins, red dates, chickpeas, and wolfberries, enriching its flavour profile. In the Uyghur region, the natural excellence of mutton contributes to the exquisite taste of Teapot Soup, free from undesirable aftertastes. Salt remains the primary seasoning, preserving the dish's simplicity and authenticity.

 Preparing Teapot Soup:

The process of preparing Teapot Soup is a study in simplicity. One begins by nestling the meat within the teapot, adding water generously, and including halved carrots and slivers of onion to personal preference. The seasoning is judiciously done with salt. The dish is then left to simmer, allowing the symphony of flavours to unfold in a serene culinary experience.

 Cultural Significance:

Teapot Soup is more than just a meal; it is a testament to the cultural heritage of the Uyghur people. The name "Cheynek Shorpisi" carries the essence of tradition, warmth, and the cherished rituals of sharing sustenance. It is a reminder of centuries-old practices and the importance of simplicity in Uyghur gastronomy.


Teapot Soup, or "Cheynek Shorpisi," transcends the realm of mere cuisine; it is a cultural artifact that embodies the traditions, history, and warmth of the Uyghur community. Its humble origins and enduring popularity are a testament to the power of simplicity and the importance of preserving cultural heritage through culinary practices. Teapot Soup is a reflection of the Uyghur culture, both in its historical roots and its adaptability to contemporary tastes, making it a truly cherished delicacy.

Kashgar Municipal People's Government. (2021, November 3). Kashgar on the tip of the tongue a paradise for foodies. Retrieved December 31, 2021, from http://www.xjks.gov.cn/2021/11/03/fwxc/6603.html. Accessed March 25, 2022.
Zunun, Memet T. (2019) The Encyclopedia of Uyghur Tradition and Social Customs. London: Uyghur Language Study.