Our neighborhood Hot and Sour comes from the Hong Kong restaurant in Plaza West off Western Blvd at Jones Franklin. It is one of those ubiquitous hole-in-the-wall places you can find in small shopping centers everywhere, with the same backlit plastic photos of menu items hanging above the counter.
Hot and Sour soup has been our go to soup for curing colds since Ron and I got married. We have lived in the same house for 22 years and so have been eating Hong Kong Hot and Sour for 22 years. We've been eating it since before Emma was born and that soup has never changed. It's the fullest version-- with lots of tofu and wood ear mushrooms. I believe it's the most authentic.
My favorite Hot and Sour comes from Super Wok in Cary. It's relatively new and the restaurant has gotten rave reviews.
It's one of those chinese take-out and delivery restaurants that also has a real dining room and the option of a menu written in Chinese with all authentic dishes.
It's what we get delivered at work. It's what I had today.
It has a much more intense broth and there is more broth with less tofu and more room for crunchy noodles, but the best thing is that they put in quartered white mushrooms. Yes, just good old pedestrian button mushrooms.
I'm sure that that breaks some rules of authenticity, but those mushrooms give the soup a nice bite. And button mushrooms are a blank palette-- like tofu, but not tofu-- so they absorb all the spiciness in the soup. And it is nice and spicy.
I also find that Super Wok has the best crunchy noodles.
The third soup, the other soup, is from Shanghai Express on the NC State campus. It's authentic like the soup from Hong Kong, but not so full-- there's room for more crunchy noodles.
The important thing about Shanghai Express has nothing to do with the soup. They are Emma's favorite Chinese restaurant. They have String Beans in Garlic Sauce on the menu, are inexpensive, and deliver to her school.
She's in the last three weeks of play rehersals at school-- the cast of the play has taken to ordering from Shanghai Express. She comes home fed, but reeking of garlic.
So anyway, today we found out that our boss is moving to another office :(. So he bought us all Super Wok :). Yes, I think that makes perfect sense! It was also a rainy miserable dark day-- a perfect day for Hot and Sour Soup.
Whoops-- I almost forgot. I give this soup 3 spoons for love and satisfaction and 4 spoons for nutrition-- because it's important for women my age to get some soy protein and this is my best source. So 7 out of 8-- nearly a perfect score. Today that feels fitting. I paid... I mean... Jack paid $2.50 for this bowl of soup. Amber got some too.
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