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  • Photograph: Alexandra Strada

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    Parippu at Lakruwana
    Intrepid diners who brave a chilly ride on the Staten Island Ferry to explore the small Sri Lankan community in Stapleton can warm up with this vegetarian delight. The fragrant, gently sweet soup is typically served alongside spicier dishes, to help soothe burning tongues. Lakruwana's version is a simple, delicate puree of yellow lentils, vegetable broth and milk, dolled up with an aromatic blend of cardamom, cinnamon and plenty of black pepper. Pair the smooth and creamy bowl with an order of mouth-searing kingfish curry for a full meal that's worth the trip. 668 Bay St at Broad St, Staten Island (347-857-6619). $4.95.

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Asopao de pollo at La Tia
    Unassumingly perched beneath the 231st St stop on the 1 train in the Bronx, this tiny luncheonette dishes up great, heaping bowls of asopao, or soupy rice---an endlessly adaptable stew, and a staple in Dominican and Puerto Rican kitchens. Picture paella in soup form and you've got the right idea: Yellow rice and noodles swim in a sofrito-tinged chicken broth, which is punched up with fresh cilantro. The whole thing is finished with half of a fall-apart-tender chicken and served in a ceramic bowl with its own ladle. Bring a friend (or three) if you intend to make a dent in it. 200 W 231st St at Broadway, No. 3, Bronx (718-432-1008). Small $3.75, large $6.25.

  • Photograph: Alexandra Strada

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    Assam laksa at Taste Good Malaysian
    A hallmark of Malaysian cuisine, spicy-sour assam laksa is guaranteed to recharge taste buds dulled by the bleak winter months. At hole-in-the-wall Elmhurst favorite Taste Good, a pungent, sour tamarind-and chili-laced fish broth is topped with a tangle of thick rice noodles, shards of finely shredded sardines, and slivers of crunchy cucumber, onion and mint. It's a funky, strangely addictive combination of flavors and textures, served up family-style by the good-natured waitstaff. 82-18 45th Ave at 83rd St, Elmhurst, Queens (718-898-8001). $5.75.

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

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    Soon dubu jigae at Seoul Garden
    Those who like a bit of drama with their soup should try the soon dubu (listed on the menu as "Combination Soon Tofu") at second-floor K-town stalwart Seoul Garden. The blistering tofu stew arrives in a screaming-hot, bubbling clay cauldron, into which brave souls can crack a raw egg. The dish is a beloved comfort food across Korea, and the version here is classic: Silken, custardy tofu simmers away in a fiery red broth of hot chili and garlic paste, topped with bits of ground beef, shrimp, squid and mushrooms. 34 W 32nd St between Fifth Ave and Broadway, No. 2 (212-736-9002). $10.95.

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Pelmeni with broth at Varenichnaya
    The owners of Varenichnaya, tucked on a side street just off of Brighton Beach's main drag, bill themselves as "Russian-style ravioli" specialists, and they're not kidding. Get the hat-shaped, chicken-filled pelmeni with broth, a Slavic twist on classic chicken noodle soup. A heap of bite-size, thin-skinned dumplings float in a clear chicken stock, topped with vibrant minced dill. It goes down light and easy, which means you'll still have plenty of room to enjoy some BYO vodka. 3086 Brighton 2nd St at Brighton Beach Ave, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn (718-332-9797). $6.95.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

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    Chupe de camarones at Chimu
    Chowder goes tropical in this velvety shrimp soup, which hails from the southern Peruvian city of Arequipa. The thick broth gets its bright-orange hue from mild, earthy aji Amarillo paste, and lurking beneath its colorful surface is a jackpot of whole shrimp, salty bits of queso fresco, rice, peas and potatoes. Add a poached egg: The oozing yolk makes the creamy soup even richer. 482 Union Ave between Conselyea St and Meeker Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-349-1208). $15.95.

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    Posole at Taqueria Coatzingo
    Despite its warm-weather origins, this meaty, salty soup from Jalisco, Mexico hits all the right notes in the depths of a New York winter. Posole is traditionally served on Christmas, but bustling Coatzingo turns out enormous bowls year-round. A rich, cloudy pork broth arrives bobbing with ribbons of fatty swine and giant kernels of hominy (corn soaked in a lime solution). Gussy up the stew with the do-it-yourself plate of raw onions, cilantro and lime served---along with a platter of bean-and-guac-slathered tostadas---on the side. 76-05 Roosevelt Ave between 76th and 77th Sts, Jackson Heights, Queens (718-424-1977). Small $10, large $13.

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    Tom kha koong at Lotus of Siam
    Lotus's version of the classic coconut-shrimp soup, which has roots in central Thailand, is a serious step up from your neighborhood takeout. Tom kha translates to "boiled galangal," and the gingerlike root is a key ingredient in the spicy, mouth-coatingly rich coconut-milk broth. The bowl, also spiked with lemongrass and dotted with roasted dried chilies, contains a sweet surprise: two fleshy, perfectly poached prawns, heads and all. 24 Fifth Ave between 9th and 10th Sts (212-529-1700). $12.

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    Maf at Keur Sokhna Plus Restaurant
    Never mind the linoleum floors and garish blue lights at this sparsely decorated Senegalese joint---just focus on your platter of maf, a rich peanut stew with potatoes, carrots and massive, fatty hunks of lamb, so tender they break with the slightest touch of a spoon. The heady soup, popular across West Africa is a heavy, rich affair, served alongside a pile of steaming white rice. Cut the fat with a bottle of fresh, spicy ginger juice before the food coma sets in. 2249 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (Seventh Ave) between 132nd and 133rd Sts (212-368-5005). $10.

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    Ribollita at Hearth
    Chef Marco Canora does an exalted version of this Italian peasant stew, traditionally made with simple leftover ingredients, at his romantic Hearth. Wisps of glossy savoy cabbage and Tuscan kale peek out from a thick puree of tomato, borlotti and cannellini beans, and the whole bowl is showered with crunchy strips of Parmesan-encrusted bread. It's a hearty, chill-defying bowl that happens to be entirely vegetarian---a welcome break from the usual meaty winter stews. 403 E 12th St at First Ave (646-602-1300). $10.

Photograph: Alexandra Strada

lentilsoup20

Parippu at Lakruwana
Intrepid diners who brave a chilly ride on the Staten Island Ferry to explore the small Sri Lankan community in Stapleton can warm up with this vegetarian delight. The fragrant, gently sweet soup is typically served alongside spicier dishes, to help soothe burning tongues. Lakruwana's version is a simple, delicate puree of yellow lentils, vegetable broth and milk, dolled up with an aromatic blend of cardamom, cinnamon and plenty of black pepper. Pair the smooth and creamy bowl with an order of mouth-searing kingfish curry for a full meal that's worth the trip. 668 Bay St at Broad St, Staten Island (347-857-6619). $4.95.

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