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Best Hot And Sour Soup 2013

There's already a hot'n'sour thread but it fizzled out in 08. Time to update.

My personal favourite is the seafood hot and sour from The Friendly Thai (223 Roncesvalles).

What's yours?

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  1. In general or is it specific to Thai hot and sour soup? as other cuisines have their own versions....

    2 Replies
    1. re: plug

      If it's hot, and sour, and soup, it's fine by me!

      1. re: plasticanimal

        I personally like the hot and sour soup at "A LA KITCHEN" in markham


    2. I have to say that the hot and sour soup at Peking Express on Parliament is insanely good. You wouldn't think it would be, but then it is!

      1. Chung King at Pacific Mall (formerly College and Spadina). Nothing else compares for me: it's spicy and sour and the perfect amount of tofu and bamboo shoots. I swear that stuff cures colds.

        8 Replies
        1. re: slradcli

          As the OP has noted somewhat, there've been a number of threads investigating this eternal subject. Which may explain why there've been so few responses to this ever-popular debate: where to get a good hot and sour. The hot and sour cognoscenti may have a sense of deja vu about this same-old same-old age-old query. Still, the OP deserves more up-to-date answers. My own favourite - now that Thai Plate is out of action, having decamped for Orillia with its marvellous hot and sour recipe - is dispensed at Congee Queen, on Lawrence Ave. E., across the street from The Shops at Don Mills, where all ingredients are nicely balanced. A so-called "small" bowl of the stuff ($6.75) will feed three or four. But then, there are lots of good hot and sours around. Even the mid-level chain of Asian Legends puts out a respectable version. A more interesting question would be: who makes a lousy hot and sour. In my mind, any joint that can't put out a good hot and sour, which isn't all that hard to do, will probably louse up everything else on the menu as well. I'd be interested to know about such places so I can stay away from them.

          1. re: juno

            A really good point from juno about how easy it should be for a restaurant to do a passable hot and sour. There are some very strong flavours at play and the trick would seem to be how to balance them. Same thing goes for the textures and getting a good combo of meat, bamboo and tofu and whatever else that can be added to create a mouth-feel.

            I've had the H&S at both Peter's Chung King on Colleg and at Congee Queen and to me they both meet a good standard.

            1. re: juno

              My tastes are 'often' similar to Juno - but not sure I agree here (but will certainly try Congee Queen).
              I find Asian Legends saturated with MSG - so that's totally off-limits for me.

              In my mind, I separate out the 'pepper' versions from the 'chili' versions - usually preferring chili (except where fresh peppercorns are used - typically in the Thai version).
              I also avoid the corn starch thickened versions which have a texture I have difficulty with.
              And currently I'm without a 'go to' version - so any help is appreciated.

              And I was under the impression that the Pacific Mall 'Chung King' had absolutely no connection to the Spadina/College version - can anyone add any info to help decide this?

            2. re: slradcli

              The REAL Chung King!?

              If so, I must see if their crispy shredded beef is the same of old.

              My fav H&S would by LWH's old seafood variation, and Thai Princess has a very good thai version.

                1. re: plasticanimal

                  LWH as in Lai Wah Heen is on chestnut street in the metropolitan hotel.

                2. re: Sadistick

                  The Chung King at Pacific Mall is indeed the REAL Chung King. I was skeptical at first but after I saw the same menu with the same typos and I tasted the food, I knew it was the same place. Same spring rolls, same nose-clearing hot and sour soup, "Spices Chicken" and all the old favourites are still there. Worth the drive to Markham.

                  1. re: slradcli

                    Thank you. Seems worth a drive.
                    However, the menu (even the numbered specials) has been duplicated many times. Even the various Chung Kings in the Spadina vicinity were an exact copy of Paul's Deep Sea Shantung (on Dundas). You used to be able to go into dozens of 'Szechuan' places in Toronto, order 'Special #27' and get the same dish in each place!

              1. Its still Chung Moi on Kennedy and Eglinton for me....

                3 Replies
                1. re: warlock

                  It has been a few years since I was there last, but I recall Chung Moi's version being a first-rate balancing act between hot and sour. But because it's such a bother for me to drive there, I pretty much stick to the easier-to-get-to Congee Queen. If I lived in the far east end of Toronto, though, Chung Moi would be my choice as well. Crummy parking lot, if I remember.

                  1. re: juno

                    Juno,agreed...its way too east for downtowners and west enders....but if you are in the area,the hot and sour soup definitely soothes you on a cold wintery day....

                  2. re: warlock

                    Does Chung Moi deliver? Do they have a website? (Stop laughin', it's possible.) Is their food overall really good or is it one of the many Hakka's that have built their reputation on large portions and small prices?

                  3. Hands down, Swatow has the most amazing hot and sour soup

                    1. Cynthia's Chinese restaurant in Newmarket

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Naidee

                        What did you like about it? What style is it? Texture? Contents?

                        1. re: estufarian

                          Great question Estufarian!!

                          For me, authentic 'Szechuan' style Hot & Sour soup is all to do with 'mouth feel and texture', not just taste alone.

                          To achieve these, the real McCoy should use Dried Lily Bulbs, Wood Ear Fungus, Shitake Mushrooms, Winter Bamboo Shoot, Hard textured Tofu...in addition to the meat ( pork & chicken ) and egg drops. The hot and spicy components should come from real white and black peppercorns and chilies and NOT the short cut approach adopted by most restaurants nowadays by adding commercial chili oil!! Sour components should come from both rice vinegar as well as the dark Chinkiang vinegar. The savoury and umami components from minced ginger, Xiao Shing wine, good chicken broth and ' dark' soya sauce.
                          Since achieving the goal of a great soup can be pretty labor intensive, a lot of restaurants are becoming complacent and making short cuts left, right and center!!
                          Sad to say, but better tasting Hot and Sour Soup are now found in New York/New Jersey rather than Toronto.

                          In Toronto, I would stick with the more traditional Northern and Shanghainese restaurants like A La Kitchen or Golden Shanghai. Surprisingly, O Mei also makes a decent version?!!!!

                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            Agree with you completely Charles about the ideal ingredients - would you consider BBQ pork and shrimp inauthentic?
                            Where in New York would I find the best hot & sour soup? I'm going there soon.

                            1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                              Considering 'Hot and Sour' soup originated from Sichuan, which is a land bound province. The addition of shrimp automatically eliminates the authenticity! As for BBQ pork.. That too is a Cantonese dish. So once again, its addition renders the soup unauthentic. However, I myself do like this modified version. I found their addition adds more level of texture and flavor to the soup! Its almost like people adding shellfish to the supposedly 'fish only' Bouillabaisse. IMO, kick it up a notch!

                              I had one of the best 'North American' H&S in Flushing, NY! Don't remember the name of the place since my friend took me there. I also remembered the tofu dish smothered with 'crab roe ragu' and the crabmeat and roe filled XLB!! Sooo good and 'cheap'!!!

                      2. Not sure about the "best", but the hot and sour soup at Asian Legend at Commerce Gate Hwy 7 is pretty good.

                        1. I have always enjoyed the one from Chung Moi's version. It always warms me up on a chilly day.