Food & Dining
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Maria’s Mexican Restaurant’s chicken soup. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

During the cooler months, I often eat homemade soup for dinner. I like to experiment with different recipes and store the soup in mason jars so that I can easily microwave them. Consequently, when dining out, I like to order soups that I don’t usually cook at home. Fortunately, there are many choices in town, but here are my favorites.

Wor wonton soup from Nim Chan’s Kitchen. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

When I was dating my husband, he showed up at my doorstep with a container of wor wonton soup from Nim Chan’s Kitchen (2418 S. Western Ave.) on a day when I was sick. I was a bit skeptical about his choice at first, but the combination of light broth, soft stuffed wontons, chicken, barbequed pork, shrimp, bok choy, snow peas, and green onions won me over right away. There is something very comforting and soothing about this soup; it’s light yet nourishing, and it has become my go-to when I feel under the weather. A visit here cannot be complete without an order, or two, of their easily recognizable eggrolls. They are very celery-forward and perfect.

Garlic bomb ramen from Ko Ryu Ramen. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

I was ecstatic when Ko Ryu Ramen (362 W. 6th St.) opened its doors because I didn’t have to leave town for ramen anymore. I find myself rotating through choices here because I have a few favorites. I alternate between the koi ramen, topped with pork slices and hard-boiled egg, and the garlic bomb ramen. Some days I order the miso base, others the soy sauce-based shoyu broth. Truth be told, the garlic bomb is probably my favorite. I just avoid having it if I am visiting with polite company later because the wonderful scent of fried and fresh garlic lingers. Occasionally, I indulge in the Ko-Ryu spicy ramen, which combines Japanese hot miso, Korean hot pepper, and habaneros for a delightfully fiery experience. Nevertheless, the ramen here is rich, velvety, and flavorful. Please note, due to recent dine and dash episodes, outside tables are asked to pay for their meal upon ordering. 

Tom yum noodle soup from Baramee Thai Restaurant. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

Given my deep love of rice noodle-based soups and all things duck, I really like the duck noodle soup at Baramee Thai Restaurant (354 W. 6th St.). It’s simply served with sprouts and cilantro as toppings, but it’s certainly tasty. The traditional Thai tom yum soup is an enjoyable combination of hot and sour served with straw mushrooms; it is particularly good with shrimp. The broth derives its tartness from vinegar, its subtle heat from chili paste, and its lemony scent from lemongrass. The tom kha soup has the same broth with the addition of coconut milk; it is rich yet light, with a hint of tartness yet sweet-tasting and incredibly fragrant from the kaffir leaf in it. This is definitely a favorite and pairs really well with chicken. During my last visit, the friendly server rightfully cautioned me about not mistaking the tom yum noodle soup with the tom yum soup as they are completely different dishes. The tom yum noodle soup is enriched by many layers of flavors that come together beautifully. The clear broth is light, subtly sour with a hint of lemongrass, and is served mild, medium, or spicy. The rice noodles are topped with ground chicken, shrimp, fish balls, sprouts, peanuts, green onion, and cilantro. It’s a delicious experience.

Maria’s Mexican Restaurant’s chicken soup. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

I recently asked the Eat in San Pedro Facebook group members to name their favorite soup in town. Maria’s Mexican Restaurant’s (28643 S. Western Ave.) chicken soup was mentioned by a few people. Since I am already fond of the restaurant, I had to try it. The broth is deeply flavorful with just the right amount of spiciness. The soup, enriched with Spanish rice, generous amounts of shredded chicken, fresh onion, tomatoes, and cilantro, is the epitome of comfort. Truly, this soup warms your body and soul. A close second is their pozole, which is flavored with tender pieces of pork and hominy in a deep red chili-based broth, served with fresh onion, cilantro, lemon, dried oregano, chili, and tortillas. spt

Sanam Lamborn

Sanam Lamborn created the Eat in San Pedro Facebook group and Instagram account in April 2020 to entice people to patronize San Pedro’s eateries.