I never need an excuse to eat Asian noodle soups, but it being the dead of winter and the start of Chinese New Year, the timing seemed particularly good for rounding up a few of my favorites.
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My favorite version of wonton soup—the version that's good enough to eat like a meal and not just an MSG headache-inducing appetizer, is the rich, shrimp and pork version served in Hong Kong. The broth, a far cry from the salty, one-dimensional versions I had as a kid, is made with chicken and pork, with a rich body and a faint aroma of the sea. The wontons are stuffed fuller than most, folded into little round parcels, filled with juicy pork and shrimp pop out as you bite through the thin, thin skins; the shrimp crunching under your teeth as you chew.
A classic wonton soup made with Chinese superior stock flavored with chicken, pork, ham, and shrimp. The wontons are stuffed with a mixture of pork and shrimp. The shrimp are brined in a solution of salt and baking soda to make them extra crisp.
If there's one takeaway that's stuck with me since my trip to China last Spring, it's that vinegar and pickling are fundamental to Sichuan cuisine--at least as fundamental as the chiles and heat that food is so well known for. It wasn't until that trip that I made a connection about a bunch of my favorite dishes at Fuloon, arguably one of the best Chinese restaurants in the Boston area: They've all got a sour component.