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Apr 27, 2013 03:36 AM

Sick of Being Sick and Need Soup

As yet another beautiful weekend arrives, I will be spending it indoors. Last weekend I either got a stomach bug or inadvertently gave myself food poisoning; this weekend I am exploding into a coughing fit every 5 minutes.

My throat is sore, my head is congested, and I am really grieving the long-ago closure of Arlington's Viet's Cafe. I have to venture out soon for cough medicine and library books; does anyone have recommendations for soup near Arlington that will magically make me feel better about spending a second weekend in a row in my dark apartment?

Note: I'm lactose intolerant and can't handle spice.

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  1. The home style egg drop soup at Shangrila in Belmont is my gold standard for get-well soup. Hope you feel better soon!

    1. Does anyone know of Szechuan's Dumpling or some other nearby Chinese eatery serves congee (aka jook)? That is my go-to feel better Chinese food. It is mild and soothing and meets the requirements for no spice or dairy.

      It is also very easy to make at home if you have short grain rice and enough energy to set rice and water (or chicken broth) cooking slowly over a period of hours.

      2 Replies
      1. re: PinchOfSalt

        Yes, they have several types of congee (seafood, fish fillet, and vegetable). Oddly, I only find it under the "Noodle Soup" section of their menu, instead of the soup section. This secton asks you to choose a type of noodle to add to your soup. I'm not sure if adding noodles is standard to congee (I've just had straight congee before, from a place near where I used to live on Comm. Ave.).

        I haven't tried the congee, but I can vouch for everything I've had there before, minus the Gen. Gau's I got delivered earlier this week. Oddly, not doing a good americanized dish makes me think even more highly of them...

        1. re: vengefultacos

          I have never heard of noodles in congee even though I have had it in a fair number of restaurants (usually as part of a dim sum outing) and used a number of recipes to make it at home. Maybe it is a regional thing or perhaps the menu is being over general.

          Straying just slightly off-topic, I had my first Szechuan's Dumpling meal just last weekend and came away quite happy, especially when I realized often that part of Arlington lies along my late-afternoon route home...

      2. Pho n' Rice in Somerville used to have decent pho and they deliver for a small fee. They also have canh chua -- the soup is described as hot and sour, but I've never found any of the versions to be spicy. It's more sweet and sour to me.

        The restaurant is technically Thai and Vietnamese, but I never really dug their Thai items.

        1. I ended up making congee! Called my friend, got his recipe, and now I have about a week's worth of congee. Ooops. Better halve that recipe next time...

          Thanks for the suggestions!!

          5 Replies
          1. re: taterjane

            wow, you're sick and you have the energy to make congee?! I'm imPRESSED! hope it does the trick. fwiw, Sweet Chili has a coconut broth seafood soup (choose rice or noodles) that we love.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Congee can be very easy if you have a rice cooker. Toss in rice and water or perhaps chicken stock and hit the start button for the simplest congee. If you toss in some pre-soaked dried black mushrooms and perhaps a few chicken wings it is even better but still oh so simple. When it is ready you can garnish a bowl with some sliced scallions or perhaps a few cilantro leaves. Definitely a high-return for little work kind of dish.

              1. re: PinchOfSalt

                hmmmm, good to know. And I'm STILL impressed by tjane!

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  I don't have that kind of rice cooker (or maybe I do and I'm just too afraid to use it that way?). Otherwise, Pinch of Salt's ingredients were basically what I did with a bit of variation. It took me a long, long time to make it, though, and I will admit that had I known how much effort it would take, I would not have attempted it.

                  I had to take a break halfway through cooking for a snack, but on the plus side, it is 2 days later and I am still eating congee....

                  1. re: taterjane

                    I have a fancy Zojirushi rice cooker with lots of different settings. One of them is porridge, which is congee. There are even markings on the removable container for congee (as opposed to regular rice or brown rice). So toss in the ingredients, crawl back into bed... or even put everything in the night before, wake to congee. Great technology, makes congee no work at all.