Yoga Fuel: Vegetable Soup from Hunan Village

I find take-out menus jammed in our door at least twice a week, and usually these menus are flimsy little pieces of paper that look like they were done on a dot-matrix printer. Last week we came home and found a sleek, shiny menu from Hunan Village stuck in the door, and since they had sprung for the good stuff -- and we were too exhausted to cook -- we ordered a horrifying amount of food for delivery and collapsed on the couch.

I always order extra soup when I order Chinese take-out, so I have something quick and easy on hand for lunch the next day. Usually I hit the Hot-and-Sour, but for whatever reason, that night I chose the Vegetable, with mixed results.

The meal was good overall, especially for Chinese delivery. I'm kicking myself for not taking a photo of the General Tso's Chicken. It was delicious, and I was confident the soup would be, too. Instead, it was merely serviceable. Next time, I'm getting the Hot-and-Sour.

The veggie soup certainly was chock full of veggies, and they weren't cooked to death, had beautiful color, and held their texture well. My favorite part was the sweet, snappy snow peas. I'd like more of those and fewer mushrooms. I don't hate mushrooms -- in fact, I love them -- but in this soup, they fade away into the background.

No, the vegetables weren't the problem with this veggie soup -- it was the broth, which was just kind of "blah." I was expecting a vegetable broth with some Asian flair, but instead all I got was a broth of indeterminate origins -- this soup is not listed on the vegetarian menu, and the broth definitely tasted chicken-based to me -- with the merest hint of Asian flavor.

In the end, the soup fell flat. It wasn't rich enough to be comforting, nor sufficiently sweet-and-sour enough to be distinctive. I was left with enough energy for yoga, but I was also left wishing I had saved some of my General Tso.

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Christina Uticone