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Best hot & sour soup in Boston?

LilBrownBat Dec 3, 2013 01:44 PM

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. StriperGuy RE: LilBrownBat Dec 3, 2013 01:51 PM

    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
      cambridgedoctpr RE: StriperGuy Dec 3, 2013 02:11 PM

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

      1. re: cambridgedoctpr
        StriperGuy RE: cambridgedoctpr Dec 3, 2013 05:04 PM

        I agree it's not quite typical.

    2. justbeingpolite RE: LilBrownBat Dec 3, 2013 02:19 PM

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

      1. Dave MP RE: LilBrownBat Dec 3, 2013 02:21 PM

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

        1. Boston_Otter RE: LilBrownBat Dec 3, 2013 02:22 PM

          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
            teezeetoo RE: Boston_Otter Dec 3, 2013 02:46 PM

            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
              oli RE: teezeetoo Dec 3, 2013 04:41 PM

              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
                tysonmcneely RE: teezeetoo Dec 4, 2013 09:20 AM

                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.

              2. re: Boston_Otter
                StriperGuy RE: Boston_Otter Dec 3, 2013 05:05 PM

                Nice tip, thanks.

                1. re: Boston_Otter
                  opinionatedchef RE: Boston_Otter Dec 3, 2013 09:40 PM

                  i LOVE stories like that. So sweet!

                2. b
                  Bellachefa RE: LilBrownBat Dec 3, 2013 03:43 PM

                  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. http://jaescafe.com

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Bellachefa
                    StriperGuy RE: Bellachefa Dec 3, 2013 05:06 PM

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

                    1. re: StriperGuy
                      opinionatedchef RE: StriperGuy Dec 3, 2013 09:44 PM

                      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
                        StriperGuy RE: opinionatedchef Dec 3, 2013 10:33 PM

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

                    2. re: Bellachefa
                      Alcachofa RE: Bellachefa Dec 6, 2013 02:32 PM

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

                      1. re: Alcachofa
                        C. Hamster RE: Alcachofa Dec 6, 2013 04:15 PM

                        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
                        Bellachefa RE: Bellachefa Dec 10, 2013 07:59 PM

                        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!

                      3. l
                        lc02139 RE: LilBrownBat Dec 4, 2013 05:08 AM

                        Not sure if it fits the bill, but my favorite is the one from Seven Star's Bistro in Rosindale Wed-sun dinner only, made to order. Tastes the same as his fathers well loved Seven Star Mandarin House that used to be in Newton Center, he also now makes a vegetarian version.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lc02139
                          devilham RE: lc02139 Dec 4, 2013 06:53 AM

                          Gotta say plus one to this, it's about the best i've had, and the owners are super nice to boot. It's a little pricier than your average chinese take out, but it's good quality.

                        2. m
                          mwk RE: LilBrownBat Dec 4, 2013 09:25 AM

                          My personal favorite by far is at Peach Farm in Chinatown. It's the one I judge all the others by.

                          1. Food4Thought RE: LilBrownBat Dec 11, 2013 04:27 AM

                            While not in Boston proper, I'm a big fan of the hot & sour soup at Fuloon in Malden.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Food4Thought
                              opinionatedchef RE: Food4Thought Dec 11, 2013 11:59 PM

                              we went tonight and got this, from your rec. I was surprised it needed vinegar but once i added some of the black vinegar she brought, it was fine, on a par with other good ones i've had. thx.

                            2. s
                              sonnyb RE: LilBrownBat Dec 11, 2013 05:26 PM

                              Sichuan Garden in Woburn has a wonderful H&S! Vegetarian to boot! Excellent drinks from Ran! My fave...

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