On the Menu: An Eastern Cup of Drop

Categories: On the Menu

Eastern'seggdrop.jpg
The egg drop soup that is served at many Chinese restaurants usually runs third in popularity amongst customers. I'm not the biggest fan of hot and sour soup, so my decision usually boils down to wonton or the drop. For health reasons, I usually go with the wonton. I love egg drop, but with all the eggs, it's tough on the old cholesterol. (Although some disagree on that point.)

But on this night, at the little Eastern Chinese Restaurant in the Oak Forest neighborhood, I was craving some. The waiter took my order--an iced tea and one dinner combination plate. His question followed, "Do you want hot and sour soup with that?" Not tonight my good man. I went with the Drop.

What he brought out two minutes later was spot-on. It had everything you look for - or don't look for -- in a great cup of egg drop soup: It wasn't gloppy, runny, underseasoned or too salty. Most cups of egg drop have me grabbing for the soy sauce within seconds. Not this one. It was so simple, but well executed. This seems to be a difficult venture for many restaurants.

I added some crunchy noodles, but that's only because they were on the table. The soup would have been fine without them. I do enjoy some nice chopped green onions, and Eastern's version lacked this ingredient. That's a minor detail in an otherwise perfect cup of soup.

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Location Info

Eastern Chinese Restaurant

2100 W. 34th St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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21 comments
Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

For take out you can't beat the soups at Hong Kong Chef on Bissonnet @ Rice in Bellaire. Their wonton and egg drop soups are outstanding and you get a quart of the stuff for under 4 bucks. I may run by tonight for some now that I think of it.

Albert Nurick
Albert Nurick

My go-to Chinese soup is Hot and Sour. But the best Chinese soup in town? It's the gumbo at Daniel Wong's Kitchen. Seriously.

ec
ec

Wow that's egg drop soup? This must be a restaurant for Americans. This is clearly not authentic.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

A few things to cover on this one:

1. Bruce R, didn't I already type you out a list from several months ago of good non-Bellaire Chinese restaurants? Must we re-visit? Houston has plenty.

2. Trisch...be on the lookout next week...one of your recent comments was the inspiration for my next Off the Wall post. Stay tuned!

3. Finally, you made mention of an Italian Egg Drop soup...I made one a few weeks back and posted it on my blog. Very good recipe. http://themightyrib.com/?p=135...

trisch
trisch

Have you tried stracciatella? Italian egg-drop soup. D'Amico's in the Village makes a version chock full of spinach. Yum. And on the rare occasion that I get stuck with a gloppy bowl of Chinese combo-plate egg drop soup, I doctor it with copious amounts of white pepper and savor the powdery burn.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Matt B, there are a ton of Chinese restaurants in Houston. In general, they are disappointing. Might you find some good ones, maybe in Bellaire? Of course. You'll also find excellent Mexican food in Philly, but it's not one of that city's strengths. Like pizza, Houston is still trying to figure out what good Chinese food is.

So no, Chinese food is not one of Houston's strong points. It's a weakness.

Feldman
Feldman

I like the Egg Drop from Auntie Chang's. It's totally my favorite Egg Drop in the myriad of Chinese restaurants I visit.

Clinton
Clinton

Egg drop. Everytime without question.

Bruce R
Bruce R

That looks extremely dull. I cannot imagine it tasting anything other than ordinary.

Bruce R
Bruce R

I have a weakness for Daniel Wong's. It's hit and miss but I like the quirky named menu items. And the pictures by the front door showing his military service are touching.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Kevin, I might have visited visited one of the chains on your list: East Star. I went to the one in Clear Lake (I suspect it's related to E-Star, but maybe not). It was your standard industrial grade Chinese buffet, full of frozen then fried foods, over-sauced vegetables and OK sushi.

The "best" Chinese restaurants in the Clear Lake area are probably Szechuan Garden (League City) and Hot Wok (Webster). But I wouldn't drive past any of the area's Indian restaurants to go to either of them.

Galenscotus
Galenscotus

Agree with Bruce. Probably 90% of Chinese places here are just the same dumbed-down Chinese person's expectation of what an American wants to eat. It's progressed a little since I grew up in the 70's to chow mein and chop suey, but there still aren't many good Chinese places inside the loop.

And right on about Chinatown: ask someone who's Chinese and they'll claim most of the those places use inferior ingredients that make everything cheap, but not necessarily good.

trisch
trisch

I'm curious what method of measurement you are using for identifying "good Chinese food." I'm a member of Houston's Chinese community. I grew up on my mom's and my grandma's home cooking. I have lived and traveled extensively throughout China and Taiwan, and I've tried on all manner of Chinese food everywhere from San Francisco to London to Hong Kong and beyond. To my palate, Houston has excellent Chinese food offerings. As it should since we have one of the largest concentrations of Asian population in the country here.

Granted, there are some pretty awful combo platter/take away joints around, but that doesn't detract from what the good restaurants do. Nor does their existence make Chinese cuisine one of Houston's weaknesses any more than the nasty dives that are a dime a dozen in San Francisco and New York make Chinese food one of those cities' weaknesses.

Wyatt
Wyatt

Bet you'd find much better Chinese food here (if you look for it - not talking about your interchangeable Americanized places) than you would Mexican in Philly. Just a guess.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

It's egg drop soup. What's it supposed to look like? I'm all ears,please let me know where I can find some exciting-looking drop. In Clear Lake?

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

I checked, and to the best of my knowledge, those two places aren't affiliated. Please don't grade Houston's Chinese food scene by factoring in Chinese buffet restaurants. All buffet restaurants fill a purpose...gluttonous guilty pleasure.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Wyatt, you're probably right.

To be clear, when I say "Chinese food" I'm referring to the garden variety places that represent 90% of the Chinese restaurants in Houston. And I'm comparing that to the garden variety places in other cities.

Bruce R
Bruce R

No, not in Clear Lake. CL does not have a single credible Chinese restaurant.

As you point out, green onions would boost both the appearance and the taste. Good egg drop soup can have ginger in it, can be based on good chicken stock, etc. I suspect you got salt, eggs, MSG, and corn starch. I'm sure there is good Chinese food in Houston but it's not one of the city's strengths.

Kyle
Kyle

Well stop comparing as such.

Kyle
Kyle

There you go again, Bruce.

Matt B.
Matt B.

Chinese food isn't Houston's strong point? Ever been to Bellaire?

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