Come In from the Cold: 10 Great Cold-Weather Soups in Houston

Categories: Top 10

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Photo by Mai Pham
Soondubu jigae at Jang Guem Tofu House
It's an unseasonally balmy 79 degrees today, as Houston continues its defiant trend of refusing to allow a third season into town. (You know the old adage: Houston has two seasons, summer and February.) But it won't be warm forever. In fact -- just in time for tonight's Tequila & Tamales event -- it's supposed to get nice and chilly again, with plenty of cozy thunderstorms heading our way.

In other words, it's soup weather. And here are 10 of our favorites.

10. Soondubu jigae at Jang Guem Tofu House

Our own Mai Pham likes to order her soondubu jigae with mushrooms (as seen above) at Jang Guem, and that's because the Korean restaurant on Long Point offers an array of different ingredients for the traditional soup in addition to seafood standards like clams and mussels. Turn it into a spicy beef stew, chicken stew or even pork stew -- whatever you choose to go along with the hot, tofu-laced broth will be a hit.

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Catfish pepper soup at Finger Licking Bukateria.
9. Catfish pepper soup at Finger Licking Bukateria

Another fiercely spicy soup, this traditional Nigerian "drinking soup" from Finger Licking -- the flagship West African restaurant in Little Nigeria -- has the faint flavor markings of gumbo in its peppery broth flavored with ground crawfish. There's no rice in here, though, just enormous hunks of catfish-on-the-bone in the dark, cayenne-spiced chicken broth. This one will burn your lips off, but in the most delicious way.

8. Gumbo at Liberty Kitchen

Granted, I've only had one bowl of the stuff so far at the new Liberty Kitchen, but it's already a strong contender for my favorite gumbo in town. My feelings on the matter are backed up by good friends who've gone and enjoyed the stuff, too -- raving, to a man, about the fried oysters on top and spicy andouille sausage underneath. Even better, the gumbo is one of the least expensive items on the menu: only $8 for a bowl big enough for two. Pair it with a Karbach brew on draft and park your butts for the night.

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7. Chicken soup at The Bird & The Bear

Although it's called "chicken pot pie soup" on the menu, this lemony soup reminds me more of avgolemono than anything else, complete with rustic shreds of chicken and plenty of rice filling the bowl. At The Bird & The Bear, it also comes with onions, candle corn, spinach and toasted slices of garlic bread -- all good things when it comes to soothing a winter cold.

6. Soupe de poisson "Marseillaise" at Bistro Provence

The traditional French seafood stew called bouillabaisse was created in Provence, specifically in the seaside city of Marseille. As its name would imply, Bistro Provence offers some of the most authentic bouillabaisse -- which it calls soupe de poisson "Marseillaise" -- in town, resplendent with plush pieces of fish, crisply scented fennel and warm cloves of garlic.

Location Info

Finger Licking Bukateria

9811 Bissonnet St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Liberty Kitchen

1050 Studewood St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Bird & the Bear

2810 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Bistro Provence

13616 Memorial Dr., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cafe Kubo's Sushi

9889 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen

4611 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen

2712 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Thai Spice Asian Bistro

13602 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cafe TH

2108 Pease St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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22 comments
Bob B
Bob B

Best caldo......Comala's on the eastside Beltway between Wallisville and Woodforest. My in-laws (they really know caldo) drive across town a couple times a week for the stuff. 

TX Bohemian
TX Bohemian

Major exclusion, Tom Yum Goon at Kanomwan.  The best! 

Thai Spice...Come on?

Guest
Guest

Don't forget the posole at Aguascalientes, either the Irvington or the Bissonnet locations.

JK
JK

Jang Guem is on Bellaire.

justabob
justabob

If it requires a fork or your fingers to pick the bones it ain't soup.  Soup is eating with a spoon.  Just saying.

Cathi
Cathi

The onion soup at Philippe is fantastic, as is the fish soup.  The caldo de mariscos at Hugo's is one of the best ever.  Glad you got lucky at Bistro Provence. 

Genevieve Guy
Genevieve Guy

Thank you so much for utting us on our list... Now come on in, we just aded the french onion soup on our menu

ec
ec

I guess I'm confused what soup is.   Some of these are clearly not soup.  As for menudo, if La Mexicana is the best then Houston is sure missing out on quality menudo.

Paula
Paula

Some other delicious ones to try are the Mish Mosh Soup at Kenny & Ziggy's and the Oxtail soup at Hugo's. 

Miss Magpie
Miss Magpie

Personal current favorite?  The Chicken Lemongrass soup at Local.  AMAZING!

Western
Western

At least an onion soup?  Poblano at Mexico's Deli?  My personal favorite:  garlic soup with a poached egg at Rioja. I agree the Asian influence in this list is typical.  I was expecting the revered Tom Kha soup, but the lemongrass is accounted for.   I do think emphasis is put on Chinatown eateries in this blog.   

Ginny Braud
Ginny Braud

oooh next time I'm sick, which feels like it might be pretty soon, I'm all over that banh mi bo kho.3 cheers for lemongrass! 

Bruce R
Bruce R

I'm surprised there's no caldo de camarones, tortilla soup, --you get my drift.

april5k
april5k

It sure is, and everyone should go get the soup because it's amazing. (Hold the mackerel) 

Mag
Mag

yes!  caldo de mariscos and consome de borrego

Tony
Tony

Surprised at what?   Is tortilla soup Asian food? Don't be a fool. We all know that HP leans towards anything NOT traditionally Houston.  I'm sure that the Gumbo was grudgingly put on here (probably an olive branch for that whole Allison Cook thing or an attempt for Shilcutt to avoid a ban).  No Menudo on this list either.  I wish this article (newspaper) would have been (be) more about the culture IN the city than the culture that has been brought to the city.  And yes, there is PLENTY of established culture here that the press ignores.  

Bell
Bell

Hey Tony... smart guy.... why don't you do some writing for the Houston Press?

Stanford
Stanford

Hey... that fucking gumbo at Liberty Kitchen is fucking good and deserves to be on this list. Allison Cook be damned. 

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I'm sorry people are bummed not to see more Hispanic foodstuffs on the list. But what of this list isn't "traditionally" Houston, whatever that means? A standard chicken soup? Cajun food? Vietnamese food? Those are pretty "Houston" to me...

Either way, for my money, La Mex has the best menudo in town hands down, with La Guadalupana a close second (pieces of tripe are just a wee bit too large for me and always need to be cut, which is messy)..

Megan
Megan

Quit being such a fucking troll.  "NOT traditionally Houston"?  I didn't realize Houston had a "traditional" cuisine.  So is that why the HP just hosted "Tequila and Tamales" last night?  Is that why Katharine just reviewed El Gran Malo?  God forbid Katharine highlight other soups besides tortilla soup and pho.

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