Steam wafting out of the bowl, aromatics playing a mellifluous tune on the nose, and the first boiling gulp that seems to breathe life back into you – one could scarcely find a better way to battle the harsh winter than with hot soup. On these arms-shivering, teeth-chattering sort of chilly nights, the broth, especially when laden with never-ending strands of noodles, is like the food equivalent of a warm hug.
The noodle soup and its magical healing powers can be experienced in myriad ways across restaurants in the city. At the cosy little Korean Café Maroo, you get a light, clear janchi guksu, which is a seaweed broth featuring shreds of beef, generous portions of wheat noodles, and veggies such as radishes, green onions, and pumpkins to add a bit of crunch. Garnished with a fried egg, it makes for a fresh, nutritious hot pot. A stone’s throw away is another tiny establishment called Smiley House, which dishes out authentic Vietnamese fare – their beef pho, packed with hearty greens and a handful of glass noodles, tastes like home.
No talk of this soul-nourishing potion can be complete without a shout-out to the old hands – the silken tofu, clear noodle soup with vegetables at Mainland China, for instance, is steaming hot, imbued with delicate spices and tempered by melting tofu, resulting in a wholesome, simmering brew. Over at Incognito, a simple yet fiendishly delicious bowlful comes loaded with succulent chicken chunks, sprouts, bean curds, scallions, fresh herbs and, of course, a liberal topping of crisp-fried noodles.
The emerald broth in Baan Tao is an earthy concoction of elements such as pok choy, water spinach, broccoli and green beans, coupled with chewy shiitake mushrooms, delicate glass noodles and soft chunks of tofu – all of which together create a beautiful textural fusion. Crazy Noodles, on its part, explores Japan’s contribution to this subject, with a tangy, mildly spicy ramen, loaded with crunchy shrimps, veggies, and some tender round noodles, topped with bits of corn and chopped spring onion.
Wow! Momo in Viman Nagar whips up our very own home-grown take on the beloved liquid course – thukpa. The Assamese broth both awakens and refines the appetite. Malaka Spice, on the other hand, takes a time-space leap into the ancient Nonya culinary traditions with its laksa-ma, a nourishing dish redolent with the goodness of fresh turmeric, and topped with chilli oil, bean sprouts and noodles – filling enough to be a meal in itself.
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