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Best Hot and Sour Soup????

g
Gormlaith Oct 27, 2009 08:28 AM

I used to hit a restaurant just south of College on the east side of Spadina...I think it was called The Shanghai Restaurant. The hot and sour soup there was unmatched! I also believe they were voted the best in the city in a Star reader's poll. They disappeared a few years back and I have yet to find any H/S soup that can hold a candle to this one. Again, as with most things I have posted here lately, I am pregnant and the baby REQUIRES a HUGE bowl of this soup. It was hot and sour, yes, but it also had a small hint of sweetness that I have yet to find anywhere else. I even emailed the food columnist at the Star, but she couldn't help.

So, I leave it in your capable hands. Please find me the BEST hot and sour soup....or one that is close to the Shanghia Restaurant. Does anyone else remember this place?

  1. o
    OnfiyA Jun 11, 2011 12:50 PM

    In regards to the restaurant Gormlaith was referring to, Shanghai Lily, the famous hot & sour soup is now available at Pho Ngon located at 643 Bloor Street W. My grandma, the one who made the recipe still visits every Friday to help out. If anyone can get a hold of the thread starter it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    1. k
      KitchenVoodoo May 30, 2011 04:52 PM

      I recently had what I thought was a great Hot & Sour soup at E-Pan on Spadina (east side, between College and Dundas) - it had shrimps, pork, and other bits and pieces and I found the flavour very good, but perhaps not hot enough for some, but that can be easily remedied by adding some hot sauce. Most of my experiences have been very disappointing - too glutinous, too much pepper, weird bright red colour, nothing but tofu.....

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      E-Pan
      369 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2G3, CA

      1. atomeyes Feb 21, 2011 05:08 AM

        We stopped off at Sun's Kitchen in Pacific Mall. You know, the place that hand-makes their noodles.
        The wife ordered their hot and sour soup and I ordered the Dan Dan soup.
        I give their hot and sour soup a 9 out of 10. the broth is very very good, but not mind blowing. its the noodles that makes it amazing. the texture of the hand-made noodles turns it from being a soup to being a delicious Chinese eating experience. the broth is nominally spicy but not making-me-choke spicy.

        I'm actually surprised that I couldn't find any reviews on Sun's Kitchen, even though its a well known Toronto restaurant.

        5 Replies
        1. re: atomeyes
          p
          piccola Feb 21, 2011 06:16 AM

          Huh. I didn't think there were normally noodles in hot-and-sour soup. But that does sound delicious.

          1. re: piccola
            atomeyes Feb 21, 2011 10:36 AM

            It really is. Its a red broth and very thick. more of a noodle stew, if you may. and $5 for it, which includes a cup of sweetened soy milk.

            if you have not been to Sun Kitchen, I suggest you go there asap (but not on a weekend. Pacific Mall has zero parking!). That and their green onion pancakes is delish!

            1. re: atomeyes
              p
              piccola Feb 21, 2011 04:24 PM

              For the most part, I can't have hot-and-sour soup from restaurants because I'm vegetarian. I've yet to find somewhere that does a vegetarian version (that's actually veg, as in no meat stock or anything). But I'm sure everyone else in this thread can use the tip! :)

              1. re: piccola
                mrsleny Feb 21, 2011 04:40 PM

                I quite like the vegetarian version at Graceful Vegetarian in Market Village. Give it a try. I was a big fan of Shanghai Restaurant's version back in my pre-veg days.

                1. re: mrsleny
                  p
                  piccola Feb 22, 2011 08:50 AM

                  Thanks, I will!

        2. s
          Sadistick Feb 16, 2011 09:58 AM

          For whatever reason I forget the name, but recently a new Chinese restaurant opened right across the street from me, at the South West corner of Yonge & Avondale Ave (just north of the 401).

          They make each hot and sour soup to order!

          It is fantastic! Without a doubt in my top 3, if not at the #1 spot.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sadistick
            t
            trane Feb 17, 2011 07:58 AM

            The basement unit under "Cozy Cafe"?

            1. re: Sadistick
              s
              setofdueces Feb 20, 2011 09:18 PM

              Sadistick,

              Just wondering what else you ordered and how was the food? I live pretty close and may frequent this place if its good. thanks :)

              1. re: Sadistick
                s
                Sadistick Feb 22, 2011 08:57 AM

                Yes - it is under the Cozy Cafe, in the 'basement'.

                The food is generally quite good. It is run by a British/Chinese couple (very sweet lady) from England - husband does all the cooking and the wife runs the front.

                Typical dishes we order:

                Salt & Pepper Shrimp
                Crispy shredded Beef (i get it extra crispy)
                Veg Chow Mein w Crispy Noodles
                H&S Soup

                Occasionally we will get the General's Chicken.

                All super fresh and well executed for the most part.

              2. d
                david.mulligan Feb 16, 2011 09:33 AM

                Shanghai Garden had the best hot and sour soup ever. I have never found a replacement for it. I am now looking for a recipe for the dish or at least ideas on what made that version so different from everything else available.

                Is there a name for the brown style? An ingredient that is different from the others?

                1. mrsleny Nov 5, 2009 12:34 PM

                  I remember Shanghai! The hot and sour at Shanghai was truly the best. I used to come downtown just for it. I don't think I've ever had a hot and sour that came close. It was really rich and flavourful with that hint of sweetness you mentioned. It was a "brown" version as opposed to "pink-red".

                  Mr Leny quite likes the one at Yenching in Bayview Village but personally I don't think it's as good.

                  Good luck!

                  1. c
                    chachi88 Nov 5, 2009 11:43 AM

                    My favorite is Spadina Garden on Dundas, her City Hall. They have an amazing Hot and Sour Noodle soup for a lunch special. It is well priced and a whole meal in a bowl. It is the only place I've ever been to that has a hot and sour NOODLE soup.
                    Definitely worth a try.

                    -----
                    Spadina Garden
                    116 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON , CA

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chachi88
                      c
                      callitasicit Nov 5, 2009 12:08 PM

                      I enjoy Lin Garden's hot and sour soup.

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                      Lin Garden
                      1806 Pharmacy Ave, Toronto, ON M1T1H6, CA

                    2. s
                      Sadistick Oct 28, 2009 09:21 AM

                      It used to be Peter's Chung King ages ago - but they fell off the map long since.

                      I would suggest 3 places - top 2 without doubt would be LWH (very refined, delicate H&S) and second Thai Princess (king & spadina) make a wicked H&S - very spicy though.

                      Last, and closes to me is Lime - they are sometimes hit and miss, but when they hit, it's quite a good bowl.

                      1. JonasBrand Oct 28, 2009 05:46 AM

                        New Sky's Hot and Sour is great.

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                        New Sky
                        353 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2G3, CA

                        1. f
                          FresserGuy Oct 27, 2009 08:11 PM

                          My favorite is at Hua Sang on Baldwin - not traditional: has pork, shrimp, all kinds of stuff, but I find it delicious - kind of a meal in a bowl.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: FresserGuy
                            e
                            ebay3392 Nov 5, 2009 04:57 PM

                            I agree...I love their H & S soup...better than anything I have had and I worked in Markham for 7 years so I have been to a few places.

                            1. re: ebay3392
                              c
                              Chitlin May 29, 2011 05:34 PM

                              No, Hua Sang's hot & sour is average at best, and hardly worth the price ($12 small bowl). Served tepid by an angry waiter, the broth was OK in flavour but not at all hot OR sour. Only thing good about it was the varity of veggies and shrimp morsels.

                              -----
                              Hua Sang
                              41 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T1L1, CA

                              1. re: Chitlin
                                a
                                applesolutely May 29, 2011 06:12 PM

                                Their Hot and Sour was totaly bland in my opinion. I went with Chitlin ...and we were shocked when the 12.00 bowl arrived and was smaller thanany of the $5-$7 bowls we have ordered in many other places. I am a spice woose...really sensitive...and even I found this to be devoid of flavour or spice. No tanginess/sour though there were good sized chunks of tofu etc. I think this is the place to go for lobster though. Great deals.
                                Service...it takes some serious effort to be this rude.

                          2. Ediblethoughts Oct 27, 2009 05:31 PM

                            I remember that place. I don't think I ever had H & S soup there but I thought it was a good restaurant.

                            I think it depends on what you like in your H & S soup. I tend to be (what I think is probably) a purist: I like fungus, bamboo shoots, tofu and maybe a little egg. I don't like much if any meat or seafood in it and I think it should have a little bit of fresh scallions to finish it. I used to really like the H & S soup (even though it has chicken in it) at Asian Legend but last time I tried it, it just seemed wrong. Not unpleasant but too pale and just the wrong depth of flavour. I try H & S soup at pretty much any asian place I visit and many are very forgettable. But the classic type I've found most memorably at Spadina Gardens and (oddly) C'est Bon. The only issue I have with CB is they need to make it more hot (stove hot, that is). I sometimes ask them to reheat it. They are both very good, reliable H & S soups.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Ediblethoughts
                              TorontoJo Oct 27, 2009 05:37 PM

                              I like the h&s soup at C'est Bon as well. It has a touch too much black pepper, but otherwise, I really enjoy it.

                            2. e
                              Everythingtarian Oct 27, 2009 09:38 AM

                              Kom Jug Yuen hands down. I often ask for extra hot, and add vinegar if it needs it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Everythingtarian
                                a
                                applesolutely May 29, 2011 06:03 PM

                                My all time fave and sooooo cheap considering it has chunks of tofu, shredded bbq pork, and descent sized shrimps...a little on the sweet side but definately hot and sour. The size small is big enough to feed two people if you are having just one other item.
                                The bathrooms though...less than fresh.

                              2. pinkprimp Oct 27, 2009 09:31 AM

                                The one at Graceful Vegetarian also has a sweetness to it. It is one of my favourites in the city!

                                1. TorontoJo Oct 27, 2009 08:56 AM

                                  Try the hot and sour soup at Thai Plate. It is exactly what you describe -- a solid Chinese hot and sour soup but with a sweetness that I suppose makes it Thai. The sweetness is what I don't like about it, but it is otherwise a very good soup.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: TorontoJo
                                    t
                                    tochowchick Oct 27, 2009 03:15 PM

                                    TJ....I'm a big fan of the Hot and Sour at Thai Plate...had it on a cold, windy, snowy night last winter and it lingers in my mind as one of the best ones I've had in recent times.

                                    1. re: tochowchick
                                      TorontoJo Oct 27, 2009 03:21 PM

                                      Yeah, my lunch buddy swears by that soup -- says it's his favourite hot and sour soup of all time. But I can't get over the sweet aspect of it. I just grew up with soup that had no hint of sweetness, so this just tastes wrong to me. It is otherwise a great soup -- right consistency, good ingredients, nice heat. Sigh.

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