A cool winter night demands some special accompaniments. And a hot, steaming bowl of soup is definitely one of the front runners. Whether as a preamble to the main course or comfort food for those wanting to get rid of the chill, there's nothing like the feeling of warmth that goes through the body while slurping on some soup.
So, what makes the perfect soup? It has to be boiling hot, there has to be balance between the stock and the other ingredients, and the consistency must be just right -- not too thick and not too watery. Here's a few mentions of Dhaka's best:
Cream of mushroom soup: Cream of mushroom is a simple soup dish made with, yes you guessed it, cream and mushrooms. The perfect bowl of cream of mushroom soup is determined by the freshness of the cream and the quantity of mushrooms. If the cream is too thick, it will overpower the mushrooms. A lot places are still a bit sneaky about this dish, and use premixed packet soup. For a hearty bowl of authentic cream of mushroom goodness, visit The Cafe bbq in Gulshan 2, where they serve it in a bread bowl. Other favourites are the cream of mushroom soups at Pizza Inn and Tastebud.
Thai soup: Some like it dense, some like it light --- whatever's the case, we can all agree that we love traditional Thai soup. That is, the orangeish, spicy, tangy soup that has a mix of prawn, mushrooms, chicken and lethal lemongrass. It's difficult to say which restaurant has the best Thai soup, because every restaurant chef in town has this much-loved soup recipe memorised. Thai Emerald and Soi 71 consistently make great Thai Soup.
Hot and Sour soup: Hot and Sour soup is quite difficult to make, because the broth packs most of the flavour and therefore a lot of it depends on the fresh ingredients and skills of the chef. After all, what's a Chinese dish without its complexity? Then there's the matter of the chillies for the "hot" and the dash of vinegar at the end for the "sour". Our readers have voted that Cathay and Golden Rice are popular choices for Hot and Sour soup.
The Others: Besides all the favourite soups by default, there are quite a few variations for those who want to try something different. There is a fungus soup at Golden Rice which tastes better than it sounds. If you like varying textures, you can try the Wonton Soup at Luam's or the Chef's Special Noodle Soup at Shanghai Cafe. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is a tortilla soup at Amigo's which has an interesting flavour profile. And for those who are loyal to the traditional chicken corn soup, they can try the soup at Golden Spoon.
Special thanks to the participants of The Food Talk for their votes.
Photo: Star Lifestyle Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed