HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Best Hot and Sour Soup????

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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

      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

        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.

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

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: Everythingtarian

          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. 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

            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. 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

              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

                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

                  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. New Sky's Hot and Sour is great.

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

              1. 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. 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

                    I enjoy Lin Garden's hot and sour soup.

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

                  2. 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. 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. 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

                          The basement unit under "Cozy Cafe"?

                          1. re: 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

                              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. 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

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

                                1. re: piccola

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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.

                              2. 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.....

                                369 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2G3, CA

                                1. 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.