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The nip in the air is hard to miss in Chandigarh. As the winter mist begins to roll in, the palate yearns for hot and satiating meals that can help one warm up. Nothing beats the comfort of a hot bowl of steaming soup in this weather. So if you are looking to beat the winter blues, here is a selection of my favourite soups available across restaurants in the city. Slurp away!
Hot and Sour Vegetable Soup at Black Lotus, Taj Chandigarh
One of the city’s more popular Oriental fine dining restaurants has recently seen a change of command in the kitchens with a new chef taking over the reins. Thankfully, the new menu retains an old-time favourite, the Hot and Sour Vegetable Soup. And it lives up to its name. The vegetarians should relish it.
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Kharodiyan Da Ras at Dera, Taj Chandigarh
Contrary to what most people think, Indian cuisine has its fair share of shorbas and soups too. Unfortunately, not many places choose to pull out long-forgotten recipes and put them to good use. We are glad the team at Dera offers this regional favourite – Kharodiyan Da Ras on its menu. During peak winters, it promises to warm you up and is said to have medicinal value too. The version at Dera is made using lamb extract and a hint of curd.
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Eight Treasure Soup at Mainland China, Sector 26, Chandigarh
The Chinese sure know how to add variety to soups and it comes as no surprise that soups from the cuisine are topping this list. If you are looking for a wholesome soup that can well substitute for a light meal, then choose the Eight Treasure Soup at Mainland China. It is a creamy comfort soup packed with chopped carrots, celery, beans, mushroom and seasonal vegetables, sprinkled with almond slivers.
The Vietnamese Pho at Brooklyn Central, Elante Mall
While Brooklyn Central is more popular for its American burgers, steaks and cheesecake, you would be truly missing a treat if you have not tried their Vietnamese Pho. A clear soup served with scallions, onions, charred ginger, wild coriander, basil, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and black cardamom, it is robust with flavours and promises to soothe a sore throat. You can add vegetables and chicken as you like.
Miso Soup at Hibachi, Hotel Icon, Sector 8, Chandigarh
There are not many places dishing out Japanese cuisine or even select dishes in the city. That is where Hibachi, the Oriental restaurant tucked in Hotel Icon steps in. Complimenting their teriyaki station, the Miso Soup is a traditional Japanese soup made here with silken tofu, miso paste, sake and Kikkoman Soya. It is a welcome change from the usual line-up.
Thukpa at Whistling Duck, Sector 26, Chandigarh
Dining at Whistling Duck is always a delight, especially if you are looking for modern Indian fare. The menu brings in a selection of world cuisine as well. But when it comes to soups, our pick is the Thukpa, the traditional Tibetan Noodle Soup. It is bursting with flavour and no less than a meal in itself. Do try it.
Tom Yum Soup at Kylin, Elante Mall
Any list that talks of lip-smacking flavours soup would be quite incomplete if it did not mention this popular Thai soup. The Tom Yum which can be a tad fiery is known for its flavour, rich with galangal, lemongrass and lemon leaves. There are many restaurants that offer it on their menu but we truly love the version Kylin Chandigarh offers.
Lemon Coriander Soup at The Willow Cafe, Sector 10, Chandigarh
There are days when the sniffles get to you. So if you are looking for a soup that is not just packed with flavour but will help you open your sinus, then opt for a steaming bowl of Lemon Coriander Soup at The Willow Cafe. It comes in a Big Bowl and if paired with Garlic Bread or a thin crust Pizza, it makes for a complete meal. The stock is made fresh and is lip-smacking. You can also ask for more veggies or chicken to be added if you like.
Kokkam and Palak Rasam at Dastaan, Sector 7, Chandigarh
A fairly new arrival on the city’s culinary map, Dastaan has managed to make a fine impression. The menu is well curated and truly delightful to see them include regional cuisine. Speaking of which, skip the usual soups and try Kokkam and Palak Rasam. The Karnataka style rasam is served with Appalam and Medu Vada.
Chorba with Ras el Hanout and Noodles at Cafe Nomad, Sector 7, Chandigarh
Bringing in a slice of the Middle East and North Africa is this soup at Cafe Nomad. Using a traditional recipe that packs in a blend of spices, nearly a dozen, the Chorba with Ras el Hanout and Noodles is a wholesome portion and does well for 2. The standout spices are mace and nutmeg and paprika. Often mistaken for a meal, it is, in fact, a traditional soup.
A seasoned journalist, Jagmeeta has worked with The Indian Express for 16 years writing extensively on food, popular culture and fashion. A Master's in English, she completed her honours in Journalism from Delhi University and started her career in journalism with New Delhi Television (NDTV) as a reporter. She was part of the launch team for NDTV.com. Having turned a freelance writer and editor in 2016, she has been writing for The Hindustan Times, Chandigarh and is also a contributor for The Voice of Fashion steered by IMG Reliance Ltd as well as Chandigarh's popular lifestyle portal - simplythecity.com. When she's not reviewing food or dissecting the season's trends, she likes to travel with her daughter and husband, a professional photographer. A photography enthusiast herself, Jagmeeta has also curated photo exhibitions and calls herself a collector of cookbooks and recipes and a proud 'fauji' daughter and sister.