"Our soup of the day is Ginseng chicken soup with red dates and lotus root......."
Normally, typical chinese custom is that we tend to automatically order at least a soup among our dishes of fish, veges, meat, etc.
There is nothing wrong with such a diet. In fact, it gives balanced nutrition for us. That, we cannot deny, NUTRIRIONALLY!
However, think of it this way....
When you eat, your stomach juices production and secretion is stimulated and they are meant to digest the SOLID food particle under the appropriate pH condition. What happens when you down a bowl of soup while eating, or perhaps a drink, a cup, just right after swallowing your last mouthful? It would dilute the acid juices inside, making protein and lipid digestion "harder" for trypsin and pepsin works their best at pH 2-3. Now, this would only logically increases gastric juices production and secretion to raise back to the optimum pH level for the enzyme to work optimumly.
Yes, that might not be a big problem for those still young but in the long run, it might be a big problem for your digestive system. For those aged ones, their stomach juices secretion might not be that active anymore and thus, might suffer from dyspepsia aka indigestion and bloating.
So when to drink(liquid consumption) and when not to? It is advised that any liquid intake should be consumed at least about an hour before or after your meal. The MAIN point to remember is to better drink when no digestion of "solid food particles" is underway.