Where To Find Great Hot & Sour Soup in Manhattan
The secret to great hot and sour soup is to find a place that doesn't sell a lot of it.
A sit down Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side is sure to sell a cup of it to almost every table and take out order. Therefore, they make a big vat of it in the afternoon and then dole it out all night long.
Good, authentic Chinese restaurants are apt to look down upon Hot and Sour Soup and to prepare it with contempt.
Take out places that specialize in Fried Chicken with P.F.R. and General Tso's often make pretty good hot and sour soup from scratch. I'd suggest looking north of 86th Street and east of Lexington Avenue for a small place with the smell of grease in the air, pictures of the food on the wall, etc. If they go straight for the vat of premade stuff, cancel your order and look elsewhere. There's bound to be another place within two blocks.