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Dec 3, 2013 01:44 PM

Best hot & sour soup in Boston?

Way back when, there was a little Chinese restaurant on Kilmarnock Street in the west fens, called Stars Ocean. It had the standard ugly bright yellow sign and looked like nothing much, but it was nothing like the chicken-fingers-and-pork-fried-rice-combo places that blot the landscape nowadays. Everything was really good. Of course it didn't last, and once it was gone, I knew how good I'd had it. I've found adequate replacements for many of my Stars Ocean faves (although not all in one place...sniff)...EXCEPT for hot and sour soup. No one seems to make hot & sour worth a damn. It's bland or it's got too much white pepper or it's gummy, it never has enough vinegar...bleah. Does anyone in Boston make a decent hot and sour soup anymore?

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  1. Both Shangri-La and Golden Garden in Belmont do excellent versions and I am a long time hot and sour lover / critic.

    I'm sure others will chime in because I am pretty certain I've had good versions in Chinatown and elsewhere, I just can't for the life of me remember where.

    2 Replies
    1. re: StriperGuy

      the hot and sour won ton soup at GG is excellent but is not typical so it may not suit the OP.

    2. I really had a good experience with the H & S soup at East Ocean City.

      1. Haven't had it in a few years, but I really like the Hot and Sour Soup at Wang's in Somerville.

        1. The best I've ever had was at Chung King Rick's Cafe in Billerica. Rich, delicious stuff, and a great balance of hot and sour. I told the owner it was great soup and he told me excitedly that it was his family's treasured recipe that takes two days to cook. He then ran to the back and gave me a big takeout container of it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Boston_Otter

            don't know if a variation on a theme will do but the best hot and sour soup I know of is Hot and Sour Fish Soup from Shanghai Gate, followed by Hot and Sour Seafood Soup from Jo Jo Taipei. Wonderful, gingery, brothy and not thickened with filler.

            1. re: teezeetoo

              Second the Shanghai Gate rec. It came with pieces of fish fillet (not the most authentic perhaps, but it worked too) and had thin shreds of ginger in it. Not bland at all. There was quite a bit of white pepper, but I like spicy food and didn't find it overwhelming. Can't wait to go back for more!

              1. re: teezeetoo

                I love the hot and sour fish soup at Dumpling Cafe. Definitely different from the "regular" fish soup, it has a nice vinegar tang to it (although they don't use black vinegar.) It has snow peas and some other vegetables in it as well.

                For "regular" hot and sour soup, I like Dumpling Cafe's version as well. Also, I'm a big fan of Peach farm. Peach farm's is a little corn starchy (but I would not say overly so) and has some good heat to it (not just white pepper.) IIRC, the dumpling cafe version doesn't have much corn starch in it so it's a little thing, which may or may not be your thing.

                1. It's been over a year, and I plan on trying it very soon, but have always loved Jae's in the southend for their fresh take on a wonderful asian soup.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Bellachefa

                    Hah, I like Jae's, totally non traditional, 15 years since I had it.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      striper, do i remember that you really like a tea smoked duck at Shangri la? I'd like to try that hot n sour soup and get something else but i'm staying away from soy sauce(salt) as much as possible right now. Recs? thx.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        That tea smoke duck is one of my fav dishes in Boston period.

                    2. re: Bellachefa

                      Wow, I thought Jae's closed YEARS ago. It's still there?? ***90s FLASHBACK***

                      1. re: Alcachofa

                        I think all the Jae's but the original location have closed. He has at least one other location in the Berkshires.

                      2. re: Bellachefa

                        Well on this chilly night I stopped by Jae's and picked up a large hot and sour soup to go. Although a little lite on the shrooms and chicken, it still holds honors as one of my all-time favorite hot and sour soups. Also, I usually play with those baby corns and leave them on the plate, but Jae's slices them thin and it is a perfect textural counter point in the soup!