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Come In from the Cold: 10 Great Cold-Weather Soups in Houston

Soondubu jigae at Jang Guem Tofu House
Soondubu jigae at Jang Guem Tofu House
Photo by Mai Pham

It's an unseasonally balmy 79 degrees today, as Houston continues its defiant trend of refusing to allow a third season into town. (You know the old adage: Houston has two seasons, summer and February.) But it won't be warm forever. In fact -- just in time for tonight's Tequila & Tamales event -- it's supposed to get nice and chilly again, with plenty of cozy thunderstorms heading our way.

In other words, it's soup weather. And here are 10 of our favorites.

10. Soondubu jigae at Jang Guem Tofu House

Our own Mai Pham likes to order her soondubu jigae with mushrooms (as seen above) at Jang Guem, and that's because the Korean restaurant on Long Point offers an array of different ingredients for the traditional soup in addition to seafood standards like clams and mussels. Turn it into a spicy beef stew, chicken stew or even pork stew -- whatever you choose to go along with the hot, tofu-laced broth will be a hit.

Catfish pepper soup at Finger Licking Bukateria.
Catfish pepper soup at Finger Licking Bukateria.

9. Catfish pepper soup at Finger Licking Bukateria

Another fiercely spicy soup, this traditional Nigerian "drinking soup" from Finger Licking -- the flagship West African restaurant in Little Nigeria -- has the faint flavor markings of gumbo in its peppery broth flavored with ground crawfish. There's no rice in here, though, just enormous hunks of catfish-on-the-bone in the dark, cayenne-spiced chicken broth. This one will burn your lips off, but in the most delicious way.

8. Gumbo at Liberty Kitchen

Granted, I've only had one bowl of the stuff so far at the new Liberty Kitchen, but it's already a strong contender for my favorite gumbo in town. My feelings on the matter are backed up by good friends who've gone and enjoyed the stuff, too -- raving, to a man, about the fried oysters on top and spicy andouille sausage underneath. Even better, the gumbo is one of the least expensive items on the menu: only $8 for a bowl big enough for two. Pair it with a Karbach brew on draft and park your butts for the night.

Come In from the Cold: 10 Great Cold-Weather Soups in Houston

7. Chicken soup at The Bird & The Bear

Although it's called "chicken pot pie soup" on the menu, this lemony soup reminds me more of avgolemono than anything else, complete with rustic shreds of chicken and plenty of rice filling the bowl. At The Bird & The Bear, it also comes with onions, candle corn, spinach and toasted slices of garlic bread -- all good things when it comes to soothing a winter cold.

6. Soupe de poisson "Marseillaise" at Bistro Provence

The traditional French seafood stew called bouillabaisse was created in Provence, specifically in the seaside city of Marseille. As its name would imply, Bistro Provence offers some of the most authentic bouillabaisse -- which it calls soupe de poisson "Marseillaise" -- in town, resplendent with plush pieces of fish, crisply scented fennel and warm cloves of garlic.



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