Canadian Navy’s 10 o’clock soup tradition


Sailor First Class Marianne Mojica displays her Chicken Tinola soup.

“Please, sir, I want some more… soup

S1 Marianne Mojica,  
HMCS Regina

Savouring hot soup at 10 a.m. on a ship is something that every sailor is familiar with in the Royal Canadian Navy.

While researching the 10 o’clock soup tradition, I found some archival photos, such as the one from HMCS Restigouche, the lead ship of the Restigouche-class destroyers, commissioned in 1958. In it, a cook is standing in a hatch and serving soup straight out of the pot to some hungry sailors.

That is not the only ‘archival’ instance of soup-sampling: in the mid-1970s, Osbourne Head Gunnery Range in Dartmouth, N.S., started to serve soup at ‘stand easy’ (break).

“That makes sense; any of us that have been there know the wind never stops, and even in summer can be chilly; soup at stand easy – perfect,” tweeted Christopher Richardson, a veteran CAF Cook.

By the early 1980s, many East Coast ships followed suit and soup at stand easy started to gain traction. By the mid-1980s, it was almost universal in the East Coast fleet. By the mid-1990s, the tradition spilled into the West Coast as well.

The soup is served on workdays during the stand easy. The meal is thought to improve the morale and welfare of the ship’s company in a few ways, including bringing people together, keeping sailors hydrated and full, and giving the immune system a nice boost, especially during the colder months. Soup is also a cost-effective way to use any leftover ingredients on the ship. Sometimes, if sailors are lucky, the cooks give them a chance to share recipes for the whole crew to enjoy.

In that spirit, I’m happy to share my recipe for one of my favourite soups: Chicken Tinola.

Chicken Tinola is authentic Filipino comfort food. It is a ginger, onion, and garlic-based soup with chicken as the main ingredient along with bok choy, chayote, and chilli pepper leaves, traditionally served with rice.

This is my favourite soup because my mother has passed it down to me from her culture. I consider cooking to be an art, and it is as much of a pleasure preparing food as it is eating it. It conjures comforting memories of times I had been feeling sick or just wanted a feel-good meal to cheer me up. This is a simple recipe I like to make my own way, and here I present to you the directions, should you want to try it out for yourselves!


S1 Mojica’s Chicken Tinola Recipe

Serves four people
Total cooking time:
Approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes


8 Chicken Legs

1½ Yellow Onion (Diced)

1 Garlic Clove (Minced)

2 Chayote Squash (Diced)

5 Bok Choy Bunches (Slice bunch ends and separate leaves)

2 Chilli Pepper Leaf  Bunches

2 Cups of Chicken Broth

2½ Cups of Water

3 Thumbs of Ginger (Peeled and sliced)

3 Tablespoons of Salt 

3 Tablespoons of Pepper

1 Tablespoon of Sugar

3 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

3½ Cups of Jasmine Rice

Ingredients preparation time: 10-20 minutes



Using an 8-quart stock pot, set the burner to medium-high heat, and add vegetable oil, diced onion, minced garlic, ginger coins and chicken legs. Fry until reduced and golden brown
(about 15-minutes).

Add chicken broth, water, diced chayote, bok choy leaves, chilli pepper leaves, salt, pepper, and sugar. Boil for 1 hour on medium heat and stir periodically every 10 minutes. (Taste test at the 30-minute mark and 1-hour mark of the boiling time where the chicken and vegetables should be mostly cooked. Add salt and pepper to your liking).

Cook Jasmine Rice in a rice cooker (or whatever method works for you).

Transfer into soup and rice bowls, serve hot, share and enjoy!


10 o'clock soup

Crew members of HMCS Restigouche sample soup.

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