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Jan 2, 2011 11:51 AM

Fave Chinatown soups

Do you have a recommendation of soups that you have enjoyed in Chinatown. Haven't had one in years and was wondering if there was anything worth checking out.

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  1. Recently tried Q on Washington (sister of the Arlington location of Lil Q) and enjoyed it very much. We had the beef short ribs and also lamb, the lamb being my favorite. Also a platter of mushrooms in addition to the regular basket of veggies that come with a combo. Had the mala broth and the black chicken broth, both flavorful and very potent by the end of the cooking. It's the perfect weather for hotpot, and I'd highly recommend you add it to your roster.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yumyum

      I had the lamb hotpot with the spicy mala broth recently for lunch. Yes, it was fab. Took home the extra broth home and had more enjoyment!

    2. pho dac biet at pho pasteur
      mi vit tiem at xinh xinh
      beef brisket and beef tendon noodle soup at vinh sun
      beef brisket and beef tendon noodle soup at great taste restaurant and bakery
      wonton noodle soup with roast pork or roast duck at hong kong eatery
      wonton noodle soup with roast pork or roast duck at vinh sun
      roast duck noodle soup at chau chow city and east ocean city

      1. I realize that these aren't in Chinatown, but here are some other nice Chinese soups.

        The Roast Beef Noodle Soup at Wang's in Somerville (first picture) and at Golden Garden in Belmont (second picture) are both excellent. The former involves thin sliced soy marinated beef, and the second involves red-braised beef chunks. Indeed, the hotpot (not exactly soup) at Q in Chinatown and the sister restaurant, Little Q, in Arlington, are excellent, especially the Mala broth. I also like the West Lake Beef Chowder at Zoe's in Somerville. It's a little corn startchy, but one of the most satisfying thick soups I've had from a Chinese restaurant. Fuloon in Malden doesn't normally have this on the menu, but has made a terrific egg, tomato, cilantro (and more) soup (third picture).

        Finally, Joyful Garden in Allston has a very large selection of thick soups (tang1 geng1) and noodle soups (tang1 fen3 mian4) on their Chinese language only menu. Here's a transcription, transliteration, and translation of those sections of their Chinese language menu:

        百花海皇羹 bai3 hua1 hai3 huang2 geng1 Cantonese Seafood Soup
        蟹肉鱼肚羹 xie4 rou4 yu2 du3 geng1 Crab Meat and Fish Maw Soup
        雞茸粟米羹 ji1 rong2 su4 mi3 geng1 Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup
        西湖牛肉羹 xi1 hu2 niu2 rou4 geng1 West Lake Beef Soup
        海鲜豆腐羹 hai3 xian1 dou4 fu geng1 Seafood and Tofu Soup
        瑶柱三絲羹 yao2 zhu4 san1 si1 geng1 Dried Scallop and Three Threads Soup
        西菜魚片湯 xi1 cai4 yu2 pian4 tang1 Sliced Fish Soup
        西菜肉片湯 xi1 cai4 rou4 pian4 tang1 Sliced Meat Soup
        蟹肉大生翅 xie4 rou4 da4 sheng1 chi4 Crab and Shark's Fin Soup
        紅燒雞絲翅 hong2 shao1 ji1 si1 chi4 Braised Chicken Wing Soup

        鴻圖窩麵 hong2 tu2 wo1 mian4 Crab Meat and Egg Noodle Soup
        雪菜肉絲窩麵 xue3 cai4 rou4 si1 wo1 mian4 Shredded Pork and Pickled Mustard Greens Noodle Soup
        雪菜三絲窩麵 xue3 cai4 san1 si1 wo1 mian4 Pickled Mustard Greens and Three Threads Noodle Soup
        雪菜鴨絲窩米 xue3 cai4 ya1 si1 wo1 mi3 Shredded Duck and Pickled Mustard Greens Noodle Soup
        香茜牛菘窩米 xiang1 qian4 niu2 son1 wo1 mi3 Cilantro and Turnip Beef Noodle Soup
        香茜鴨絲窩米 xiang1 qian4 ya1 si1 wo1 mi3 Shredded Duck and Cilantro Noodle Soup

        Joyful Garden
        1234 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02135

        Golden Garden
        63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

        3 Replies
        1. re: lipoff

          That soup from Wangs looks so good! Thanks for the picture!

          1. re: yumyum

            As you may be able to tell from the picture, the beef in Wang's soup is soft and lucscious. Many places do a five-spice beef (五香牛肉) like that, but it can get a little dry. The Wang's beef is a soy-marined beef (卤牛肉), whether ordered in the soup or as a cold dish by itself. The flavor is different (and a little less intense than the more common five-spice marinade) but I find it stays more moist, and has a texture that's really excellent in a noodle soup.

          2. re: lipoff

            Thanks for this! Any of these you've had and would recommend?

          3. I get serious cravings for the canh chua ca at Pho Pasteur.

            Pho Pasteur Restaurant
            682 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

            2 Replies
            1. re: Kirs

              i love the can chua at sunrise cafe in dorchester and any soup from Shanghai Gate, particularly the tofu custard and the winter melon.

              Shanghai Gate
              204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

              1. re: teezeetoo

                i love the canh chua at sunrise too

            2. The Hot and Sour soup at Peach Farm is my favorite version of this dish by far.

              Peach Farm
              4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

              8 Replies
              1. re: mwk

                I'll have to try the PF version. Lately I've been all about the hot & sour at Great Taste.

                1. re: mwk

                  Replying to this two months late but I've really enjoyed the hot and sour at Dumpling Cafe. Just more savory than the others with bamboo shoots and enoki mushrooms that have more snap to them, as well as some pretty tender slivers of pork that have their own tender springiness and distinct flavor. This is completely opposed to most hot and sour soups where every element is indistinguishable and tastes the same.

                  I don't know if hot and sour soup is really traditional in any sense, but I love the stuff. I hate when it's too sour. I hate when it's not sour enough. Dumpling Cafe is a tinge not sour enough for me, but texturally and with the distinct savoriness of the individual ingredients and the broth is heads above many places I have tried all around town.

                  1. re: Mike5966

                    Is the hot and sour soup at Dumpling Cafe black as usual or red?

                    The reason I ask, is because my lady is obsessed with the hot and sour Fish soup from Dumpling Cafe. It's red/orange, I assume due to using Red Rice vinegar as opposed to black. But you're right, something else tastes different than regular hot and sour soup. The hot is more mild, and the sour is less sour, but somehow lingers more. I am trying to narrow down their recipe, but I may have to just ask them next time. It also has snow peas and tomatoes.

                    1. re: tysonmcneely

                      It is most definitely a rich brown color like most normal hot and sour. It is listed as "Taiwan-Style Hot and Sour Soup." I agree that the hot is also less hot, but I think they do not add any red chili heat, just a lot of white pepper which does come through distinctly. I saw the fish version on the menu and was intrigued. By your description it sounds like a fundamentally different soup.

                      I was sick with some kind of sinus congestion last week and between this soup, the twin lobster, and the pork with bamboo shoots, it had all the salty goodness necessary to get my sick body to retain all the water it desperately needed.

                      1. re: Mike5966

                        I'm on 3 weeks of a nasty cold so I have some experience in this.

                        I lean towards chicken based stocks and have devoured them at my 3 faves, XinjhXinh, Pho Pateuer and I have a fondness for Dong Kahn.

                        I also love hot and sour (Dumpling House has been my recent fave)and keep vinegar in the house to doc it up. It's amazing what a little vinegar and hot sauce can do to a soup.

                        The bean sprouts,bird peppers and basil make it a 1 bowl meal.

                        The particuluar places I picked are geographically good for me so they makemy list.

                        Special mention to Bun Xinh Xinh

                        Other than h&S, I usually just tell them what I want so can't give names. I'm rarely disappointed. Chicken broth, chicken, won tons,lots of veggies and the bag of bean sprouts. I don't aways get what I thought I wanted; but never disappointed.

                        Maybe this cold will disappear by June..:)

                    2. re: Mike5966

                      I'll second DC's hot&sour soup! The pork does indeed have that distinct springiness. You get a ton of it, too. Nice complement to a steamer of xiao long bao.

                      1. re: Prav

                        It feels so great when someone also notices something really subtle but excellent about a rather commonplace dish like this. Cheers to you and to tender springy pork slivers in hot and sour soup.

                        1. re: Mike5966

                          I just tried the H&S from Dumpling Cafe, and its really good - satisfied my crazy pregnancy craving. I took home a giant tub of the stuff. I can't compare it to other Chinatown spots, though. Also, anybody have any insight on the red versus brown soups - I recently got a red one, in an attempt to satisfy the craving, and was really disappointed. I'm not sure if it was the red thing, or that it came from a mediocre place in the 'burbs.