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Oct 21, 2008 01:49 PM

Soup for when you're sick?

I've got a stubborn Autumn cold and I feel like all I've been craving for the past few days is soup. I had a couple of canned soups I had on hand, then wanted something fresher and more exciting, so today I went to Simpang Asia for lunch and picked up an order of Soto Ayam (which I'd never had) to go. When I got home, I thought they'd made a mistake because there was an extra container in my bag, but when I opened it... Lo and behold, it was full of shredded chicken, sliced hard-boiled egg, sprouts, noodles, lime, a packet of ketjap manis, and a little container full of some kind of hot chili sauce. I gleefully put everything in, and expected to eat about half since my appetite hasn't been great, but after I had beads of sweat on my brow and my nose was running, I ate the entire thing. This is my new favorite soup, even for when I'm not sick (can't wait to bring the hubby back there!). Sooooo good!!

Does anyone have any other suggestions for good places to get soup when you're sick? (So, preferably not cream-based soups or anything too heavy. I've been searching in vain for a Peruvian chicken soup called caldo de gallina, as I read that this is the Peruvian answer to the matzoh ball variety, but with no luck. I would prefer places on the Westside, but would also be willing to travel a bit if the soup is that good, and to-go is better, especially since I don't want to annoy neighboring diners with my sniffling.


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  1. At any good Thai restaurant, have the Tom Yum. Either with chicken (kai) or with shrimp (koong). I always add extra heat from the spice tray. I call it Thai penicilin

    1. Korean Spicy Beef Soup! aka yook gae jahng.

      I stay as far away from the Westside as possible, but I would think almost any Korean restaurant would have it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mlgb

        the yook gae jahng at koba house is quite passable for westside korean.

      2. I do Matzo ball from Canters.....

        9 Replies
        1. re: Adsvino

          That is what I do also.

          Canters Deli -- Open 24/7

          1. re: JeetJet

            3rd Canters. Also, Chicken soup from Rainbow Bar and Grill.

            1. re: rednyellow

              Somebody once sent me to Junior's Deli on Westwood, warning me that, while everything there was absolutely awful, the matzoh ball soup was quite good.

              Indeed, the motzah ball soup is quite good. I like it more than Canters. And also, my friend was right; Everything else I've had there tastes like sawdust, ashes, and death.

              1. re: Thi N.

                There is a place across the street and half a block north of canters that has AMAZING matza ball soup. way better than canters. wish i knew the name, but they always have a sign outside that advertises the faifax HS student special and it's next door from the grocery store.
                also, the Laksa soup at Singapore's Banana Leaf is great when you are sick. So is the fish soup at the Fish Grill.

                1. re: Clyde

                  I'm gonna have to dispute the quality of the laksa at Singapore's Banana Leaf. I could be totally wrong here, or the day I had it, all the chefs were high on PCP, because it was absurdly inedible.

                  1. re: noahbites

                    Don't know if you or they had an off day, but the laksa has always been excellent, and I've had it a number of times over the last few years.

                    1. re: jonplaywright

                      I have to side with noahbites. Like so much that we eat or drink, one has to make their own palate happy. But at the same time, Banana Leaf's laksa bears a ghost's resemblance to what one could expect from hawker joints in Singapore, or even places like Yazmin or Belacan Grill for that matter. I haven't eaten at Banana Leaf in years, only because after trying it a few times, I just didn't feel it was worth my effort from the Westside. In all fairness, maybe I should give them another try, but I will make the effort for the two other places that I mentioned - Yazmin in Alhambra, and Belecan Grill in Redondo Beach.

                  2. re: Clyde

                    I gave this deli a try today. The matzo ball soup was ok, but for me the broth was a bit too oily and bland, same with the ball. It was served with a large slice of carrot. The carrot must have been very large since the slice was very fiberous, like wood. It was by no means a bad bowl of soup, but I prefer Canter's by a hefty margin.

                  3. re: Thi N.

                    Then, right after your cold or flu, let me send you back to Junior's for a breakfast of eggs, marinated steak, fried potatoes, and thick cinnamon toast. This is the absolute worst imitation of sawdust and ashes I've ever had, which is to say, it's very tasty human nutrition. Of course -- to complete your vivid triptych -- it may well contribute to my early death, but you'll be OK if you end the meal with a healthy fruit-filled Danish.

            2. 1. Samnaluaung house special noodle, from Samnualung noodle.
              2. Rod Ded. I normally go for their brutal Thai duck soup, but when I'm feeling sick, their beautiful won ton soup does the trick.
              3. Antiquera de Oaxaquena. Their chicken soup is *gorgeous* - very herby, green, and pure chicken.
              4. Viet Noodle Bar for chicken pho. See the other post I just made earlier this morning.
              5. Han Shul Bat: Korean ox-bone soup place. Basically, nature's gatorade. Will electrolyte you up the wazoo. Also: delicious.
              6. Ma Dang Gook So: My favorite dish here is normally cold fresh soy noodle soup, but their dried fish soup does the trick when I'm sick.
              7. I don't know the name, but it's in Koreatown on 8th street, between Normandie and Vermont, on the south side of the street, and the sign on the front is the same as the Japanese symbol for mountain - yama. It's like a trident, with a longer middle tine. Normally I go for the abalone porridge, but their chicken-stuffed-with-glutinous-rice with herbs soup is about as healing as you could imagine.
              8. Westside, Ramen-ya is pretty good, especially for the sickies. I prefer Chabuya for pure soup quality, Ramen-ya for healing. Also, the pure pork style of ramen at Chabuya is a little heavy for me when I'm sick. Ramen-ya has the Tokyo-style thinner ramen broth.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Thi N.

                Great list, Thi, thank you. Can't wait to start trying some of those places. I almost had ramen today instead of the soto ayam, but wanted to try something I hadn't had before (which is why I didn't have any matzoh ball). And from the way I'm feeling this evening, I can almost guarantee I'll be having soup again tomorrow...

                1. re: beingreen

                  Yer welcome.

                  Oh: La Pupusa Loca, on Santa Monica, has great Salvadorean soups.

                  1. re: beingreen

                    Almost forgot! Sunnin - Lebanese-Armenian place at Westwood and Santa Monica - makes a glorious lentil/split pea soup. Also, glorious everything else, too. Except schwarma and kebab.

                    1. re: Thi N.

                      also, their falafal sandwiches are definitely to be avoided, especially given that good ones can be had by walking across the street to shamshiri grill.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Strongly disagree with this. Shamshiri does many things well, but this is not where I'd go for falafel.

                      2. re: Thi N.

                        I actually enjoy the beef shawarma at Sunin -- I really like the sauce they use. One thing I've soured on at Sunin is the hummus, which is just too...well, sour and lemony for my taste.

                    2. re: Thi N.

                      7. is San (Korean for "mountain") and you're absolutely right about their samgyetang. It is an elixir.

                      Mountain Cafe
                      3064 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                    3. I'm generally of the tradition Chicken [w/ or w/o matzah ball] soup panacea... Nate'n'Al's is great.

                      If you like other soups though...
                      Clementine will do to go pints
                      Mrs. Winston's, those they're on the milder end
                      17th St Cafe if you feel like french onion
                      Mario's Peruvian for a variety of soups...
                      Mi India Bonita for their albondigas
                      Hot'n'Sour at Cheng Du
                      Whole Foods' Split Pea if they've got it, but it may not be what you want at this point
                      Albondigas at Don Antonio

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Emme

                        i second the nate 'n al's recommendation