Three Comforting Soups to Try around Boston This Weekend
Travel from Thailand to Turkey to Nigeria with this trio of warming dining recommendations.
Welcome to Three to Try. At the end of the week, we share three restaurant or dish recommendations for the weekend—sometimes new, sometimes old, always delicious.
November is here, and there’s a fall chill in the—wait, it’s going to be 75 degrees this weekend? Well, that’s weird and delightful. But I’m going to move forward with this week’s plan to share three soup recommendations with you, because I’m of the opinion that any weather is soup weather. (Same goes for ice cream. Enjoy it in the dead of winter just as much as in the summer! We’re New Englanders, after all.)
Without further ado, here are three soups/stews that I find immensely enjoyable around Greater Boston, and perhaps you will, too. (And don’t worry; there are plenty more where these come from. Once we actually hit cold weather, I’ll throw some more your way.)
Guay jub at Sugar & Spice
If you visit Thailand and eat your way through Bangkok’s Chinatown, you’re sure to stumble on this incredibly comforting pork soup known for its rice noodles, rolled up into tight cigar-shaped bundles. As far as I can tell, it comes in two main styles—guay jub nam sai, which is thin, fairly light in color, and has an extraordinarily peppery broth, and guay jub nam khon, which features a complex, dark five-spice broth with a soy base. I had the former at Nai Ek in Bangkok a few years back, full of impossibly crispy pork belly, and I’m still trying to find one like it here; please email me if you’ve spotted it anywhere!
But I’ve seen the five-spice version in a few local spots, most notably at Sugar & Spice in Cambridge’s Porter Square, where it’s been a menu mainstay (and my go-to order) for years. In Thailand, you’ll typically find this soup packed with various porky offal, but the Sugar & Spice version is a little simpler, showcasing just crispy pork belly, plus tofu, a boiled egg, and, of course, the rolled noodles. If you’re looking for fire, try one of Sugar & Spice’s other noodle soups; this one is a mild, warming treat for fans of that distinctive five-spice flavor.
1933 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-868-4200, sugarspices.com
Taushe stew at Suya Joint
This Roxbury restaurant—which relocated from Roslindale nearly seven years ago—specializes in West African cuisine, particularly Nigerian, and there’s a lot to dive into in the soup/stew realm. If I had to pick a favorite, it’d be the creamy, luscious peanut-based taushe, a northern Nigerian stew packed with herbs and spices, although the very spinach-forward efo-riro, a Yoruba-style stew, is a close second. Suya Joint lets you choose your protein for any of its soups and stews: chicken, beef, fish, goat, or a mix. Each comes with fufu, too—a soft ball of pounded starch, almost mashed-potato-like in texture, made from your choice of yam or garri (cassava). Break off a small piece with your right hand, scoop up some soup, and repeat.
While the soup’s the highlight of this particular roundup, you’ve got to try the namesake suya, too—skewers of grilled beef. Order it spicy.
185 Dudley St., Boston, 617-708-0245, suyajoint.com.
Chicken, egg, and lemon soup at Lavash Bar & Grille
I’ve been eyeing this Turkish newcomer to North Cambridge since this tempting Globe writeup came out over the summer, and while I haven’t had a chance to dine in yet—the space looks lovely, and I must see that Turkish coffee preparation in person—I was delighted to see it pop up on a delivery app recently. A soup described simply as “chicken egg lemon” caught my attention, because I’ll order avgolemono or anything that sounds similar any chance I get. Sure enough, this was a dreamy take on the avgolemono family of soups: a thick broth, made extra-hearty with rice, spiked with bright lemon. I suspect the creators of that Chicken Soup for the Soul book series had a run-of-the-mill chicken noodle soup in mind, but this is the chicken soup the soul actually needs. I’ll take this one instead any day, particularly when I’m sick or it’s the dead of winter—or both—but really, this is an everyday soup.
Try the manti, too—plump little dumplings stuffed with beef and topped with a yogurt-garlic sauce—and the feta-stuffed sigara borek.
26 New St., Cambridge, 617-714-4478, lavashboston.com.