Vancouver Weekend: We're Thinking....Soup

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      Need something to do this weekend? Here are five places to find hearty soup to keep you warm during the upcoming chilly Vancouver days.

      Burgoo Café, various locations

      Burgoo's tagline is "food for comfort" and luckily for us, this old-world bistro lives up to its word. Serving up a range of home-style soups in a wood-and-brick interior complete with roaring fireplace, the resto is just what the doctor ordered on a rainy day—and Lord knows Vancouver has got a lot of ’em. Staunch traditionalists will love the Straight-Up Tomato (a no-nonsense blend of tomato and garlic simmered in red wine and drizzled in extra-virgin olive oil), while those looking to shake up their broth game will be drawn to bowls like the truffle-oil-topped Mushroom Medley, the crab-and-red-pepper cream bisque, and the coconut-milk-infused Yummy Carrot, which can be slurped hot or cold. The Chicken Itza and Sunset Corn and Chicken, meanwhile, draw inspo from the south with ingredients like Yucatán spices, crema fresca, and fresh cilantro. Regulars will know that the soups are best enjoyed alongside an equally warming sandwich as part of Burgoo's after-school special. So what'll it be? The Straight-Up Tomato and the Gooey Cheese Grillers—a classic—or something a bit more out-of-left-field, like the crab bisque and pulled pork and spicy capicollo-packed El Cubano?

      Soup Zone offers a range of soup flavours.
      Soup Zone/Facebook

      Soup Zone, various locations

      Okay, let’s face it: soup is incredibly unappealing. Reducing the individual textures of meat and vegetables to a weird slime, and then punctuating that mess with floating chunks, soup definitely has more in common with vomit than meals we usually care for. Want to know what the inside of your stomach looks like after stuffing yourself over Thanksgiving? Campbell’s tomato soup will give you a pretty good indication. Not one to let the dish’s shortcomings stop it, however, Vancouver’s aptly named Soup Zone bucks the trend with a number of variations that, surprisingly, taste pretty damn good. Giving its menu an international flair, Soup Zone has hand-selected tastes from Tunisia, Ireland, and even Zimbabwe, offering a range of choices from global cuisines. Mashing up some tantalizing flavours including African ground nuts, Cuban corn chowder, and ancho black bean with lime, Soup Zone offers a new lease on life to an often tired and simple dish. With more modest prices than its competitors, Soup Zone allows you to sit down with a bowl for as little as $3.99, and the business boasts multiple combo options to supplement your meal with a sandwich. Plus, with locations both downtown and by the Vancouver General Hospital, there’s double the chance you’ll stumble across one of the best soup spots in the city.

      Lin Chinese Restaurant and Tea House serves up filling bowls like its hot and sour soup.
      Sherman's Food Adventures

      Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House, 1537 West Broadway

      People tend to overlook Chinese restaurants as a go-to place for soups, usually opting for their Western counterparts or casual grab-and-go spots.  Instead of going for the usual soup-and-sandwich combo, we suggest ordering something from Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House’s soup menu—tasty creations that are substantial and easy on the wallet. Don’t hesitate when you see the large crowd forming at its entrance during peak times (lunch and dinner rush), just make your way to the front to ask for a seat (but if you’re smart, you would’ve made a reservation at this busy eatery).The servers have a no-nonsense attitude, so don’t call them over unless you’re ready to order. For those who aren’t afraid of a bit of spice and tangy aftertaste, try the hot and sour soup—a staple at most Northern Chinese and Szechuan restaurants. Ingredients range from bamboo shoots to tofu, wood-ear fungus to thin strips of meat, and more. Not keen on the spice? There’s nothing better than a bowl of Shanghai wonton soup on a chilly day, especially if you’re looking for a two-in-one meal. Be sure to dip the cabbage-and-pork wontons in some vinegar before chowing down—really brings out the flavour. Vegetarians can rest assured that there are options for them as well, including the Shanghai ji-chai vegetable and tofu soup or the winter melon soup. If you have a fear of using chopsticks, don’t fret because you won’t really need them. 

      Pair a solid with your liquid from Liquids and Solids.
      Liquids and Solids

      Liquids + Solids, 1550 West Broadway

      As much as we’re not ones to deny ourselves, sometimes it’s necessary to show a little restraint. Because it’s basically the crack cocaine of grilled-cheese sandwiches, resist all urges to try Liquids + Solids’ Cheezuz Crust, which combines gooey cheddar, blue, provolone, Parmesan with a red pepper antipasto and stupidly delicious balsamic-syrup dipping sauce. Instead, remember that you’re here for soup, of which there are a good 10 kinds on offer on any given day.  Find yourself transported to Old Montreal with French Canadian Split Pea or embrace your inner borscht-obsessed Baba with Beet Me Up Scotty!. Traditionalists will head for the homemade-style Grandma’s Chicken Noodle or Beef Barley, while those who love to travel can daydream over the packin’-heat Naught Thai or fragrant Rockin’ Moroccan Lentil. Ingredients are ethically sourced (the chicken and beef used is free-range and Wild About Salmon takes the wild part of its name seriously), with vegetables of the fresh and local variety. We tend to go for the creamy Clam Dunk, mostly because it’s deliciously heavy enough that it keeps us away from the Cheezuz Crust on most visits—or at least keeps us from ordering two of them.

      Glory Juice Co. offers hearty soups in addition to its roster of fresh juices.
      Glory Juice Co./Facebook

      Glory Juice Co., various locations

      If there's such a thing as a soup cleanse, this is it. The folks at this hip, hella-healthy juice spot pour the same pure, organic goodness into their soups that they put into their juices. The result is smooth, simple, and flavour-packed concoctions—probably because there's nothing fake in them. (Everything here is whole-food-based and free from additives or preservatives.) Three recipes rotate on the daily menu, and you can seriously count your lucky stars if you hit the place when cauliflower-cashew-turmeric is on the roster: three easy ingredients add up to a rich, nutty broth that will warm you from your rain-chilled toes to the ends of your ears. The sweet potato-chipotle lime medley comes a close second, with its tasty mix of tang and heat, and you pretty much know the butternut-squash-ginger option is going to ward off the Wet Coast fall weather, too. We can't promise you'll feel completely detoxified, but rest assured this stuff is closer to elixir than, say, Campbell's Chunky.


      Running every Thursday, Vancouver Weekend spotlights five Straight-approved places around the city worth discovering.