Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we’ll check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.
This week I got tired of dodging snow so I took a quick trip to China and visited Chopstix Chinese Restaurant and Sushi Bar on Nostrand Avenue for some Hot and Sour Soup.
For some reason I was craving the spicy, tangy concoction. Who knows? Maybe a cold was coming on.
Hot and Sour Soup ($1.90/pint, $3.45/quart) has long been touted as a cure for the common cold, and with one spoonful you’ll know why. It’s hot from a combination of white and red peppers, and sour from vinegar, which is added just before serving. It wakes your taste buds, clears your sinuses and warms your insides. What more could you want?
This soup is a little thick and shimmery from cornstarch, and Chopstix’ American/Chinese version includes pork, bamboo shoots, toasted sesame oil, wood ear mushrooms, cloud ear fungus, day Lilly buds, eggs, tofu and tofu skins. According to acclaimed chef Susanna Foo, Hot and Sour Soup is often flavored with pig’s blood, but I doubt that’s the case here.
Aside from the familiar Chinese version we all know, which both Beijing and Szechuan claim as their own, Hot and Sour Soup has several Asian interpretations. Cambodia’s Samior Machu Pacong is flavored with lemon, chilies, prawns and/or shrimp; Vietnam’s Chan Chua is similar, but often includes pineapple, tomatoes and bean sprouts; and in Thailand, Tom Yum is flavored with lemon grass, lime, kafir lime leaves, galangal, fish sauce and chilies. They’re all good and hopefully each with make an appearance on The Bite.
Chopstix Chinese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, 3790 Nostrand Avenue, (718) 891-0391.