I enjoy making and eating this soup. The "three pearls" are the chicken, peas and tomato. Three contrasting colors, textures and flavors. You can use ham instead of the tomato. The original recipe used 1/2 teaspoon of monosodium glutamate and 1-teaspoon chicken fat, to be added with the rice wine. I have never done that and it seems fine, but decide for yourself. This is an elegant starter for a Chinese dinner. Reheats well.