Suan La Tang (Hot and Sour Soup)

Hot and Sour Soup (Suan La Tang)

Hot and Sour Soup (Suan La Tang)
Mild ingredients—mushrooms, tofu—are nestled in a fiery, vinegar-laced broth.Todd Coleman

Hot and sour soup is a culinary contradiction. In it, the mildest ingredients—mushrooms, tofu—are nestled in a fiery, vinegar-laced broth. It is often administered to the unwell. Other cultures soothe their sick with bland milk toast and chicken broth, but the Chinese kick their sick in the pants. This soup doesn't just warm you; it burns through you and brings you back to life. —Mei Chin, from "Sour and Spice" (December 2005)