Five of the Best Soups for SF’s Cold “Summers”
Ah yes, summertime in San Francisco. Our foggy days and windy afternoons make it a perfect time to enjoy a big bowl of soup (while the rest of the country cools off with gazpacho, watermelon, and iced coffees).
The seafood chowder at this Nopa seafood restaurant is hard to beat—in fact, it’s downright spectacular. You get a very creamy and piping-hot soup loaded with an array of fish, mussels, squid, shrimp, potatoes, and the kicker: Applewood-smoked bacon. You can order the chowder in two sizes (a cup for $7 or a bowl for $14), and it’s also on the happy hour menu for $5. Try it with a beer off Bar Crudo’s extensive list—the staff will make a spot-on recommendation for you.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am–2pm, this outdoor stand at the Ferry Plaza farmers market is a busy one. Chef Richie Nakano is known for his ramen with toppings that change each week, like seasonal vegetables or crispy trotter. But you can always get the Big Daddy Bowl, with slow-cooked pork, fried chicken, vegetables, and a perfectly runny egg on top. Find a bench where you can enjoy your huge bowl of tasty, porky heaven while you look out on the water. Hapa Ramen also pops up at Wing Wings in the Lower Haight on Tuesdays, and will be opening a brick-and-mortar location on Fillmore Street later this year.
King of Thai Noodle House
There are King of Thai Noodle House locations all over the city (lucky us). The extensive menu has all kinds of soups to warm you up, but a favorite is the roasted duck noodle soup—you get slices of flavorful and juicy roasted duck in an herbaceous duck broth, along with tender yau choy (a type of Chinese green). I recommend ordering it with egg noodles (you can choose from four kinds).
Pay a visit to this Mission spot for a bowl of chef Noriyuki Sugie’s famous beef ramen that he brought up from LA. You can order it with oxtail or tender beef cheek or even short rib (there are other versions as well, from tonkotsu/pork to vegetable). Definitely add on the flavorful soy-marinated egg, and try the spicy sauce on the side. Be aware ramen is not served between 7:30 pm and 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday.
This Vietnamese soup and sandwich shop from owner Hung Lam has been steadily gaining legions of lunchtime fans for his oh-so-tasty and budget-friendly food. His trademark soup is his bun rieu, which is made from his mother’s recipe. The delicious soup comes with fluffy and delicate pieces of crab omelet in a six-hour crab- and tomato-based broth, plus housemade pork meatballs, rice vermicelli noodles, curled water spinach, bean sprouts, and fresh herbs. (It’s a big one!) You can also get pho and other daily specials to eat back at your desk.
Marcia Gagliardi is the contributing food editor for 7x7 and author of the weekly Tablehopper e-column and book The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and read more at tablehopper.com.