Hot & Sour Soups of the World!

This page is dedicated to rating hot and sour soups that we have sampled. Ratings are from five down to one Diet Coke® can:

Five: The absolute best!

Four: Excellent. Worth going after.

Three: Very good. Enjoy it if you're there.

Two: Okay. Take it or leave it.

One: Go for the won ton soup.

Bangkok Cafe

369 Central Street, Foxboro, MA 02035; 508-543-THAI(8424).

This one is at the top of the list for one good reason. And it's not Chinese - it's a THAI Hot and Sour Soup! With those special Thai flavors, one will want to come back again and again to sample this delight.

New Hop Kwan

202 Centre Street, NYC, NY 10013; 212-925-7554.

Your author and his friends have never had anything better. Perfect consistency. The special added touch is the small chunks of fresh tomato. You'll recognize the restaurant by the ducks in the window, and lack of English menu. Be hungry, and order nothing else but a huge pitcher of water to go along with your five Diet Cokes. If you want the check, you'll have to ask. Worth a trip from anywhere.

I'm devastated. On a recent visit to Chinatown in NYC, I found out that New Hop Kwan has closed permanently. One day, I may find a soup as good.

Lam's Kitchen

1800 Western Ave., Albany, NY 12203; 518-869-9585

Our correspondent reports this one has great flavor, great spice level, and large black tree-ear mushrooms (which you can easily pick out). They can even accomdate vegetarians by leaving out the pork. Everything there is reported to be excellent, and they deliver across the Hudson!

Grand Chau Chow

41-45 Beach Street, Boston, MA 02111; 617-292-5166

We'll give this a "Best in Boston" award. Very tangy with a touch of sweetness. A touch on the thin side for our taste, but you'll forget about that when you sample this great soup! Don't miss this one.

Traiteur Chez Tang

7, Bd. de Grenelle, 75015 Paris, France; 01-45-79-45-15

We'll give this a "Best in Paris" award. Very tangy with a touch of sweetness. A great value, as are all of the dishes. This is a fast food Chinese restaurant within walking distance of the Eifel Tower. Both dine-in and take-out service are available. We went back three times!

To Fu

255 Willis Ave., Roslyn Heights, NY 11577; 516-484-7456

This restaurant used to be a Howard Johnson's! How do I know? When I was growing up in this neighborhood on Long Island, we'd often go there and have the "all you can eat fish fry." But HoJo's is long gone, and this Chinese/Japanese cuisine restaurant is a classy joint. Well appointed, it has an extensive menu. The H&SS was served piping hot, and was of good quality -- not too spicy, but with good flavor. And not "greasy" as some can be. My bowl had a few too many mushrooms, but it was made up for by my companion having none (and mine were quickly transferred!). But I highly recommend this soup, and in fact the restaurant in general.

China Delight

469 Main Street, Woburn, MA 01801; 781-935-9830

Located just a few miles from your author's home, this fine take-out restaurant has some of the best food we've had. The soup is different than most; occasionally a bit peppery, but always thick and with great flavor. Occasionally there are too many mushrooms, but that's made up for by the other fine ingredients.


41 Dixon St, Haymarket 2000, Sydney, Australia; 02-9281-2462

In the heart of Sydney's Chinatown, you'll find mostly natives here. And for good reason -- this is superb home-style cooking. The soup is flavorful and very tangy. And best of all, no mushrooms!

Ho Yuen Ting Sea Food Restaurant

13A Hudson St., Boston, MA 02111; 617-426-2316

Good consistency, excellent taste, and a very generous portion. Make sure you ask for ice water and extra napkins. And by the way, chop sticks come automatically and there are none of those nasty metal utensils!

Snow Garden

712 Grant Ave., San Francisco, CA 94108; 415-982-3815

A great soup in a great town: San Francisco. In the heart of Chinatown, this location offers a flavorful recipe that will make your nose run on the first spoonful. The "order" is a large bowl, that is enough for two people to enjoy three servings each. And enjoy you will! (And try the sparerib dish while you're at it.)


1433 Taraval Street, San Francisco, CA 94116; 415-731-5515

This is a 3-1/2 can soup, with decent consistency and pretty good flavor. It's a bit peppery for my taste, but the ingredients were good and enjoyed by all in our party. I've upped this a half notch due to the rest of the menu. A small eatery located in Western San Francisco, this restaurant is frequented only by natives -- no tourists! Make sure you come off-peak to avoid long waits. Take the "L/Taraval" streetcar to 24th Street for a great ride to & from your meal.

Golden City Restaurant

757 Clay Street, San Francisco, CA 94108; 415-392-2280

Our most recent visit to San Francisco revealed this small, convenient restaurant. The H&SS portion was a large bowl which provided six servings! Nice flavor and consistency. We were struggling to decide whether it should be a three or four can rating, when I discovered it had no mushrooms. For me, that's a plus -- so it's a four!

Name Unknown

A little place on Tyler Street in Boston.

We have to remember to run by and write down the name and address. An excellent recipe by native chefs.

Oriental East

1290 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910; 301-608-0030

Right across the street from National Weather Service Headquarters, this restaurant features fast, friendly service with generous portions. The H&SS is think and tangy. Just think -- you can have a great meal and if you listen closely to the talk at the next table, get a free weather forecast!

Dragon Inn

455 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, AZ; 602-252-7112

Very hot, very spicy. You'll remember you had this for some time! But it was tasty and worth trying.

New King Tin

826 Washington Street, San Francisco, CA 04108; 415-398-8088

Another good choice in San Francisco's Chinatown. The restaurant has the requisite ducks in the window, and native crowd. The soup is good, with moderate spice, but not too tangy. A plus is no mushrooms. If I could find a half-Diet Coke icon, I'd give it another half.

Chez Tsou

16, Rue des Archives, Paris, France; 01-42-78-11-47

This was a decent soup, which came piping hot (both in temperature and spice). The restaurant is in the Marais district of Paris, and features dining both inside and on the sidewalk. It is reasonably priced by Paris standards, and the portions were ample.

Szechuan Garden

945 Sagamore Parkway, West Lafayette, IN

Our correspondent says it's the best he's ever had!

Mandarin Grenelle

21, Bd. de Grenelle, 75015 Paris, France; 011-45-78-14-90

The soup, not bad. Not much "bite" to it, but decent flavor with good ingredients. How can you go wrong, though, given that this restaurant is around the corner from the Eiffel Tower and situated under the Paris Metro elevated? Many local and visiting Asians, and automatic chop sticks! Go!

Wong Kei Restaurant

41-43 Wardour Street, London, W1 England; 011-1437-3071

A nice soup. Reasonably tangy with good flavor. The additional ingredient of baby shrimp was a nice change from the norm. The peas were once frozen however and that was a disappointment. This restaurant takes three full floors at its location on the edge of Chinatown, and next to SOHO. What could be bad? Beware -- cash only -- so have a lot of extra pounds in your pocket.

Ming Court

9188 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819; 407-351-9988

A good recipe; it would have deserved four DC cans, but the portion was pretty small. This restaurant is fairly pricey too, and is populated by large families with many noisy kids who spent too much time searching for Mickey.

Burlington Jade

271b Cambridge St., Route 3A, Burlington, MA 01803; 617-272-9913

Quick take-out or delivery service is the hallmark of this place. The soup was decent, but a bit watery. Nice flavor, though. If you go there to order, you can watch the folks cook your food as you wait -- the kitchen is right across the counter.

China Friends

Route 1, Wells, ME

A nice road-side Chinese restaurant, halfway between Kennebunk and Ogunquit. The soup is decent, but a bit bland sometimes. Try a scorpion bowl, and you won't care about the the soup being a bit bland!

New Golden China

45B South Main Street, South Deerfield, MA 01373; 413-665-3365

Nothing outstanding. Just your basic hot & sour soup, with all the usual stuff in it. But the good news is that the place is right near Yankee Candle!

Hunan Gormet

261 King Street, Northampton, MA 01060; 413-585-0202

Pretty good stuff. Portion a bit small, but tasty. We had to ask for chop sticks. The water glass was refilled frequently. Good news again - this place is right near Yankee Candle too!

Far East Cafe

40 Cummins Park, Woburn, MA; 617-935-7663

We give this three cans for an honest effort. Decent flavor, generous portion, and nice glass bowls! Even the spoon was decorated with Chinese figures. Our portion could have been a bit hotter (temperature).


Route 1, Kennebunk, ME

A good, full-service Chinese restaurant with generous portions, though a bit pricey. The soup is mediocre these days. A key attribute of the restaurant is that it is convenient to the Seashore Trolley Museum. Formerly a "three DC can" soup, it has been downgraded to two based upon the recommendation of our local phantom connai-soup-ers.

Kam Fong Seafood Restaurant

807-809 7th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20001; 202-898-1168.

Right in the heart of DC's Chinatown, around the corner from the huge Pagoda and the Gallery Place Metro stop. We had high hopes for this one. All the "key ingredients" were there -- chickens hanging in the window, no English menu, etc. But the soup was disappointing. The biggest problem was that it had a greasy consistency. No mushrooms was a plus, but the flavor was just average. We'll look elsewhere on our next trip to the nation's capital.

Panda Inn

795 Dalton Av., Pittsfield, MA; 413-445-5580

Located at Coltsville Corners near the Allendale Shopping Center, this had promise. An $8.95 all-you-can-eat dinner buffet, including all the H&SS you want! There was only one thing missing. Flavor. This was among the blandest H&SS tasted in this search for the best. So have a bowl or two, but concentrate on the main courses, as they were pretty good.

Mary Chung Restaurant

464 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139; 617-864-1991

Had better. This place is half-way between MIT and Hahvahd. ("Either you can't read and you went to MIT or you can't count and you went to Hahvahd.") They give you a nice big pitcher of water without asking, but hey, you don't need it! There's no kick to this H&SS. The good thing is that if you order a "medium" (which is abbreviated "mea" on the menu), then you get a big tourine which serves two people about three bowl-fuls. Great quantity but marginal quality.

Szechuan Restaurant

179 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA; 508-487-0971.

Tasty, but a bit watery. Could use more consistency.

Great Wall

362 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA; 760-322-2209

For a great city like Palm Springs, this should have been much better. Watery and not much flavor -- and a small portion as well.

Peking Hut

435 Elm (Route 1), Biddeford, ME; 207-282-0048

Our correspondant wanted to rate this a 1/2 Pepsi can (they don't serve Coke products at all -- and that's not good!), but we have neither a Pepsi, nor a half-can graphic. Just keep in mind that rating it one Diet Coke can is being generous. Their review - "Lots of sour, but totally lacking that hit-the-back-of-the-throat-go-for-the-water-glass hot bite. Solids in soup were shredded to the point of being almost unidentifiable. The only redeeming factor was the size: a big bowl for $3.25."


69 Mott Street Restaurant

69 Mott Street, NYC, NY; 212-233-5877

We went there early in our search, and to be honest, can't remember how good the H&SS was. But I do recall that there was a restaurant review from the New York Times in the window, and the reviewer was Eric Asimov, a high school classmate of mine. And he really liked the restaurant. The problem is that it is only two blocks from New Hop Kwan and we can't seem to keep away from there!

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