You want to know how many words have been wasted on soup? Too many. Beethoven once said, “Only the pure of heart can make good soup.” Lewis Carroll had a bit of a crush on the dish, using the word “beautiful” to describe it more times than any one without a creepy sort of soup crush would. The Spanish have an old saying that goes, “Between soup and love, the first is better.” And on and on.
The point is this: if you’re talking about soup, it’s all been said before. If you want to have a conversation about the oldest dishes in human history, soup makes the list. They’ve got evidence of soup slurping from 6000 B.C. The word “supper” morphed out of an old word for soup because soup used to be for supper. Like, every single night. Virtually every cuisine has at least a soup or two specific to it, meaning virtually every culture on earth knows exactly what makes soup so special.
And that simple fact is why I’ve been feeling a bit ambivalent about tackling this subject. On the one hand, it’s an ancient dish that has spread its tentacles around the globe, accumulating a staggering level of diversity in available offerings throughout the ages – anything from the American standard chicken noodle to an Eastern European borscht to a Portuguese caldo verde. There’s a great story in there. But then, on the other hand, well, it’s soup, and the thing that makes it so special is, as far as I’m concerned, unquantifiable – it’s larger than language.
Which is why I’m going to pretend to be wise enough to leave well enough alone, stop wasting my words and get this show on the road. Because it’s that time of year again – soup’s on the brain – and if you’re looking for something that beats the hell out of that canned or boxed dreck, I’m pretty sure we can help you out. In fact, here goes:
If you’re in New York City and need some Tom Yum soup to clear that head cold, give Red Basil Thai a try:
Red Basil Thai Kitchen
3247 Steinway, Astoria, NY
If you’re in Philly and looking for something hot and spicy, Szechuan Tasty House has a hot & sour soup that would make any Chinese grandmother proud:
Szechuan Tasty House
902 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA
If you’re in D.C. and can’t make it south of the border anytime soon, then Super Taco’s tortilla soup will be the next best thing:
Super Tacos & Bakery
1762 Columbia Rd Nw, Washington, DC
And if you’re in Boston, you can’t go wrong with Cafe Kiraz’s traditional New England clam chowder:
119 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA