So, in desperation and out of sheer laziness this evening, sent my husband to get hot and sour soup from Shen Hua in Berkeley. The first spoonful reminded me why I hadn’t gotten their hot and sour soup in years–it had a weird sweet taste, barely any heat, only a bit of sourness, and it used black pepper badly.
What I’m looking for is a soup that is actually hot and actually sour, with white pepper, wood ear mushrooms, lily buds, tofu and the like. Please no shrimp and, god, please no peas. I’ll accept chili oil, given my fond memories of a soup in Hong Kong with chili oil and pig’s blood, but I’d still prefer the white pepper version.
China Village’s tends to be bland, for some reason.
I’ve had the version from Gum Kuo in Oakland Chinatown a few times. The flavor is okay, but not intense enough and quite thin.
Frankly, it’s been years since I’ve gone on a hot and sour soup hunt since I’ve been disappointed so many times. Perhaps now that winter’s upon us again I should give it another go. Where are your favorites in the Oakland/Berkeley area?