An earthy lamb broth and noodle soup from Shish-Kabob Palace in Far Northeast, Philadelphia, serving Bukharian and Uzbek cuisine. Celery, carrots, black cumin, star anise, and dill form a bold and woody stock. The hearty lagman reminds me of a hike through a Central Asian forest I have never taken. Most likely introduced to Uzbekistan during it’s long history as a trading crossroads, lagman noodles are very similar to Chinese hand-pulled Lamian noodles.
Jamaican Chicken Foot Soup
I had a cup of chicken foot soup to-go (along with excellent oxtail stew) from Veronica’s Caribbean American in Frankford. Simmered chicken feet make up the base for a broth seasoned with fresh thyme and allspice. The addition of pumpkin gives the dish it’s orange color and matches well with it’s overall herb-y sweetness. Chunks of potato, carrot, and simple flour dumplings round out the chicken soup.
I had my first experience with Filipino cuisine at Philippine Jeepney Grill in Rhawnhurst. I ordered Sinigang, a tamarind-based soup traditionally prepared with fish, shrimp, pork, or chicken. The version I ate had Milkfish, also known as bangus, a boney fish largely consumed in the Philippines and other Pacific Islands. The mild fish was a bit hard to manage in a soup, as there were countless pin-bones to pick through. The sour/savory broth with string beans, bok choi?, and tomato chunks was the highlight of the dish. The sour soup paired well with sweet tocino pork and garlicky fried rice with egg.
Salaw Machu Kre’ung
A spicy Cambodian beef soup from Khmer Kitchen, made sour with tamarind paste, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaf. Pahok (a staple Khmer fish paste) gives the soup a briny funk. Bell pepper, yellow onion, and celery help to sweeten the chili-hot broth. Salaw Machu Kre’ung is served with white rice to cool down spiciness.
A simple tomato-based soup purchased from International Food Market on W. Passyunk, a small Moroccan/Tunisian grocer. The owner promised it would be good since it was “homemade by an old Moroccan lady”. The peppery tomato broth only had a few ingredients: a handful of lentils, rice, vermicelli pieces, cumin, and lemon juice. The Harira would’ve been perfect with some pita or lavash for dipping.
Last year I grew sorrel in a 5-gal bucket and made Schav from the leaves. Sometimes described as “green borscht”, this Eastern European sour soup is served hot or cold with a dollop of sour cream. The soup is very easy to make:
- Sauté julienned sorrel leaves, parsley, and white onion in butter until soft.
- Add chicken stock and a few squeezes of lemon juice.
- Season with salt, white and black pepper
- Simmer for about 20-30 min.
- Temper two beaten eggs with a ladle-full of hot soup. Remove the pot from the burner and stir in the egg.
- Add a spoonful of good Russian sour cream and serve with a hunk of buttered pumpernickel or rye.
Cafe Diem only offers a few dishes, with Bún bò Huế being their specialty. The lemongrass-scented beef broth is reminiscent of Phở, but packs quite an after-burn from red pepper flakes and chili oil. Cylindrical rice noodles similar in consistency, but thicker than those in Phở soak up the spicy soup. Slices of beef brisket and ham hock are garnished with scallion, onion, and cilantro. Ask for extra napkins, your gringo nose will most likely be snotting from the chilies.
One of many house-made soups-to-go offered at Bell’s Market, a Russian/Eastern/Southern European supermarket in Rhawnhurst, Philadelphia. The spicy broth is extremely smokey and a bit oily from chunks of smoked sausage. Parsley, dill, and onion brighten up the heavy mixture of mushrooms, olive, beef, and….dill pickles? A common ingredient is diced dill pickle, which can be a bit strange, as the soup is served hot. The sourness of the pickles help cut the overall meatiness of Solyanka.