With temps dipping, I’ve got soup on the brain. Below are 10 good options from around the Little Rock area. Before you start getting all bent out of shape, just know that gumbo and chicken & dumplings aren’t included below.
Chicken Caldo at El Palenque
Available only on Saturdays, the chicken caldo at El Palenque will almost make you wish you had a head cold, just so you can maximize its special powers. Filled with chunks of veggies and massive amounts of chicken, this is truly fantastic soup.
Ramen at The Southern Gourmasian
The ramen at Arkansas Heart Hospital gets a lot of attention, as it should, but The Southern Gourmasian’s version is pretty damn good as well. The broth is rich and flavorful, and while the noodles are the centerpiece of any bowl, the star in the dish are the chunks of pork shoulder scattered throughout the broth.
Green Chile Stew At Local Lime
I’m addicted to green chiles. Braised pork shoulder is also quite high on the list of foods I adore, so it’s easy to see why this green chile stew at Local Lime lands on this post. Add in carrots, cilantro, avocado, and bits of crispy tortilla strips, and you’ve got yourself a perfect soup/stew.
Shrimp Soup at Rosalinda’s
Everything at Rosalinda’s is fantastic, but this time of year is ideal for trying out a heaping bowl of shrimp soup. The rich, tomato-based broth is filled with veggies, shrimp, and even whole, hard boiled eggs.
Wonton Soup at Pho Thanh My
Yes, I’m telling you to skip the pho at Pho Thanh My in favor of the wonton soup. Why? Because I said so, and there’s better pho about 15 minutes away…
Pho at Mike’s Café
Yes, Mike’s Café is where you can find better pho. In fact, this is absolutely, positively the best pho in Little Rock. It’s the real deal … the beef-based broth is filled with noodles, cilantro, jalapenos, and chopped green onions.
Ramen at Arkansas Heart Hospital
At this point, you’re probably sick of reading about the Monday, Wednesday, Friday (from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.) ramen at Coby’s inside Arkansas Heart Hospital. Hell, it’s the second time I’ve mentioned it in this post. But greatness deserves attention, and this ramen, especially at $5 a bowl, is worthy of the praise.
Rustic Tortilla Soup at Local Lime
Wait, WTF?!? Two soups from one place in the same post? Yup. Be prepared, Local Lime’s version of chicken tortilla soup–filled with chicken, avocado, Jack cheese, and a rich broth–is quite hearty, but oh so tasty.
Wonton Soup at Fantastic China
I love wonton soup. Always have, always will. When I was sick as a kid, my dad would always bring me home a big bowl of it from China Doll. Fantastic China’s version, although fairly mundane, just really hits the spot. It’s those little bits of sweet and savory pork that make the difference.
Menudo at Taqueria Guadalajara
Listen, if you enjoy eating beef stomach, a.k.a. tripe, that’s cool for you. But it ain’t my thing. That said, I respect a well-constructed bowl of soup, and Guadalajara’s weekend menudo is legit.