Jennie Tai
featured Ultimate Maps Virginia

The Ultimate Guide To Soup in NoVA

Chupe de Camaron Lagman Mushroom Soup Sundubu Jigae

A few weeks ago, I asked around to see what my readers wanted me to map out next, and  surprisingly–many of you requested a soup map!

Hundreds of bowls of soup are being served around NoVA as we speak, so I decided to stay away from the usual “chicken noodle” and opted for more exotic stews, like a hearty lamb noodle soup that originates from a Turkic ethnic group living in China (#22 Lagman), a Laotian seafood coconut curry stew made with a pungent Indonesian blue ginger (#25 Tom Khai Gai), and a Mexican shrimp and pea chowder thickened with corn and topped with a poached egg (#30 Chupe de Camaron).

Who knew there were so many different kinds of soups and stews in little old NoVA? Have fun exploring!


View Map of NoVA Soups in a larger map
gmicon_01Curry Chicken Udon
Izakaya Blue Ocean: 9440 Main St. Fairfax;  website. The ramen here is also good (try the tonkatsu ramen with extra meat), but their curry chicken udon is one of a kind. It’s a thicker, spicier spin on the traditional Japanese noodle soup that comes with long, thick noodles, veggies and chicken. I like order an extra side of shrimp tempura with the soup.
gmicon_01Sundubu Jigae
Lighthouse Tofu: 4121 Chatelain Road, Annandale; 703-333-2426.
Sundubu jigae is a spicy Korean soup that is made of gochu garu (chili powder), anchovies, uncurdled tofu, vegetables and meat or seafood. It is served in a boiling pot with a raw egg you can crack right before you dig in.
gmicon_01Mi Do Bien
Pho Sate: 2814 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA; 703-698-8088.
There are several spots for pho in NoVA, but pho sate is wildly popular for their sate sauce and delicious broth that’s never too salty. One of my other favorite items on the menu is the “mi do bien” which comes with egg noodles, mixed seafood, crispy fried shrimp and chicken broth.
gmicon_01Banh Canh Tom Cua
Huong Viet: 6785 Wilson Boulevard, Falls Church; 703-538-7110.
This thick, vietnamese-style soup is only served at a few vietnamese restaurants in NoVA, and comes with thick shrimp broth, bits of crab meat, shrimp cakes and chunky udon noodles, topped with fried shallots and chopped scallion.
gmicon_01Matzo Ball Soup
Celebrity Delly: 7263 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church; 703-573-9002 website.
“Grandma’s Matzo Ball Soup” at this hole-in-the-wall soup is a traditional Jewish take on “chicken noodle soup.” It starts with a massive soup dumpling made of matzah meal, eggs, water and oil, served with chicken broth and noodles.
gmicon_01Pork & Pidan  Porridge (Congee)
Vinh Kee: 3103 Graham Road, Falls Church; 703-645-0118.
Congee is a thick, savory chinese-style porridge made of boiled rice. It’s often served with youtiao (fried bread sticks) for dipping, but my favorite version of congee is with chopped pork and pidan (ancient eggs) which can be found at Vinh Kee, Miu Kee and Full Kee in Arlington.
gmicon_01Roast Duck Soup
Lotus Garden: 224 Maple Ave West, Vienna 703-255-9888.
The soft, hand-pulled noodle soup comes with noodles that are made in house, and comes with either chicken, beef, seafood, or chopped house-roasted duck–my favorite option.
gmicon_01Shrimp Wonton Soup
Full Kee: 5830 Columbia Pike, Falls Church; 703-575-8232.
Wonton is a cantonese-style dumpling made with a thin egg wrapper, stuffed with marinated shrimp and pork and is boiled in a thin, flavorful broth made of pork bones and shrimp shells. The wontons are served with egg noodles in the resulting broth and are topped with chopped scallions.
gmicon_01White Bean & Pesto
Northside Social: 3211 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington; 703-465-0145; website.
The white bean and pesto soup is only served on Tuesdays at Northside Social, but it’s one of my favorites from the daily rotation. Other great flavors include the seafood chowder, roasted buttnet squash, beef and barley, and cream of potato and leak.
gmicon_01Nola-Style Gumbo
Earls: 2605 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington; website.
This is one of my favorite spots for sandwiches in Arlington, but they also serve a delicious new orleans-inspired gumbo made of turkey, okra and andoullie sausage. They also serve white turkey chili and beef chili for as little as $3.59 to pair with one of their sandwiches, like grilled cheese or their roasted pork cuban.
gmicon_01Bacon & Clam Chowder
Ford’s Fish Shack: 44260 Ice Rink Plaza #101, Ashburn; website.
The creamy New England Clam Chowdah is served Sunday-Thursday and comes with bacon, clams and spiced oyster crackers. On Friday and Saturday, check out their smooth “lobstah bisque”with “sambuca” cream (made from an Italian anise-flavored liqueur).
gmicon_01Lobster Bisque
Hank’s: 1026 King St, Alexandria; website.
Lobster bisque is one of my biggest guilty pleasures. My favorite spot for this creamy, smooth, highly-seasoned soup made of sherry and fresh lobster meat is offered daily at one of my favorite raw bars in Old Town Alexandria for $8 a bowl.
gmicon_01Homemade Chili
Haute Dog & Fries: 609 East Main St, Purcelville; website.
The zesty meat chili at Purcelville’s favorite hot doggery is from Owner, Lionel Holmes’s secret family recipe.You’ll also find it on their signature dog, the “three piece suit” and with their hand cut fries.
gmicon_01Shabu Shabu
The Hot Spot: 3232 Old Pickett Rd, 703-537-0325; website.
Hot Spot in Fairfax offers an all-you-can-eat version of chinese-style “hot pot”, which they like to call”Asian-style fondue.” You get to choose from four different types of broths and an endless amount of veggies, meats and dumplings to cook in a community pot at the center of the table. (Review here)
gmicon_01Curry Laksa
Cafe Asia: 1550 Wilson Boulevard #100, Arlington; 703-741-0870 website.
Curry Laksa is a tangy and spicy Malaysian-style noodle soup made with curry and coconut milk with flat rice noodles, tofu, bean sprouts and fried shallots on top. Add chicken, shrimp, veggies or soft shell crab on top.
gmicon_01Beef Goulash
Euro Bistro: 314 Elden St, Herndon; 703-481-8158; website.
Goulash is a Hungarian style soup made of beef, noodles and vegetables. At Euro Bistro, and Austrian-German restaurant in Herndon, the beef goulash is made of beef and potato from a flavorful paprika-happy broth.
gmicon_01Truffle Pumpkin Cappucino
Patowmack Farms: 42461 Lovettsville Rd, Lovettsville; website.
Earning a top spot in last year’s Northern Virginia Magazine’s “50 Best Restaurants” for their innovative, farm-sourced fare, the pumpkin cappucino at Patowmack Farms isn’t what you think it is. It’s a savory, creamy pumpkin broth topped with truffle milk froth and porcini dust.
gmicon_01French Onion Soup
L’Auberge Chez Francois: 332 Springvale Rd, Great Falls; 703-759-3800;  website.
French onion soup is an onion based soup made from beef broth and chopped onions. L’Auberge Chez Francois stays true to the traditional recipe and bakes it with the usual croutons and cheese, but it’s never too salty or cheesy, which is makes it my favorite spot for this deeply-flavored French comfort soup.
gmicon_01Avgolemono
Nostos: 8100 Boone Blvd, Vienna; website.
Avgolemono (meaning “egg-lemon” in Greek) is a tangy, comfort Mediterranean soup made from a thick lemony broth finished with eggs and chicken. It’s also served down the street at Plaka Grill in Vienna, but Nostos is one of my favorite spots for Greek cuisine in the area.
gmicon_01Aush
Panjshir: 924 West Broad St, Falls Church; 703-536-4566. website.
Aush is an aromatic Afghan “chili” made from a tomato-based broth and comes with noodles, vegetables, ground beef and topped with seasoned yogurt (chaka) and chopped mint. It’s an exotic alternative to American chili if you want to try something new.
gmicon_01Beef Borsch
Cafe Assorti: 1800 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington; 703-465-0036 website.
Borsch is a Ukranian soup that’s popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. The orange borsch at Cafe Assorti is made with cubed beets, beef, carrots and topped with sour cream.
gmicon_01Lagman
Rus UZ: 1000 North Randolph St, Arlington;  website.
Lagman originates from a Turkic ethnic group living in China–Muslim Uyghurs whose food closely resembles the diet of Central Asian Jews. Lagman, an aromatic tomato-based lamb broth with hearty chunks of lamb and springy hand made noodles is “common ground” in the form of a bowl at Arlington’s new Euro resto, Rus Uz Cuisine.
gmicon_01Pozole
Ricos Tacos Moyas II: 10901 Main St, Fairfax; website.
This thin, flavorful mexican-style soup is made with shredded pork, staple corn, radish, lime, crushed pepper and onions with soft corn tortillas on the side for you to crumble on top. Want to try something more adventurous? Get the menudo soup with beef tripe!
gmicon_01Pho Bo Vien
Viet House: 11216 Lee Hwy, Fairfax; website.
Like I said–there are dozens of spots for pho in NoVA, and I’m sure you already have your local favorite! This just happens to be my second favorite (next to Pho Sate in Falls Church), because I love the broth–which might be a little on the salty side for some–and because it’s super cheap ($6.95 per bowl).
gmicon_01Tom Khai Gai
Bangkok Golden: 6395 Seven Corners Centre, Falls Church; website.
This is a spicy, Laotian/Thai soup (similar to tom yum) made with coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal (a strong blue ginger from Indonesia) chicken, chili and mushrooms. It’s sweet, tangy and spicy all at the same time. While the broth is thin, it is white and opaque in color. Bangkok Golden is one of the only Laotian restaurants in the area that serve this dish.
gmicon_01Mulligatawny
Haandi: 1222 West broad St, Falls Church; website.
This Indian curry-flavored soup means “pepper water” and is thickened with rice. At Haandi, it is simmered with creamed lentils, and topped with lemon juice for only $2.95 a bowl. Pair it with a side of poppy-seed sprinkled garlic naan for dipping.
gmicon_01Zuppa Di Staggione
Villa Mozart: 4009 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax;  website.
This creamy yellow Italian soup is one of the many starters at Fairfax’s Villa Mozart, and is made with yellow polenta, anis pork sausage, porcini, parmegiano reggiano and vincotto (an Italian cooking wine) for $10 a bowl.
gmicon_01Mushroom Soup
Curious Grape: 2900 South Quincy St, Arlington; website.
Love this soup! It’s one of those soups you want a second and third bowl of. At Curious Grape in Shirlington, the cremini mushroom soup is made from preserved maitake mushrooms, cremini and topped with a drizzle of EVOO and toasted sunflower seed.
gmicon_01Potato, Corn & Bacon Chowder
Tuscarora Mill: 203 Harrison St, SE, Leesburg;  website.
The creamy corn chowder at another one of Northern Virginia Magazine’s “50 Best Restaurants” of 2012 comes with smoked bacon and “potato hay” for $6 per cup and $8 per bowl. For mains–check out the duck & waffles or Gulf shrimp and grits.
gmicon_01Chupe de Camaron
Don Churro Cafe: 13905 Metrotech Dr, Chantilly; website.
Probably one of the more genius soups of the list, the Chupe de Camaron is the only soup on the list that’s topped off with one of my favorite toppings on anything…a poached egg! 😉 This mexican shrimp chowder is thickened with rice and corn, cooked with shrimp and peas, then topped off with chopped cilantro and a glorious poached egg.
gmicon_01Sinigang & Dinuguan
Fairfax Inn: 2946 Sleepy Hollow Rd #2, Falls Church; website.
Sinigang is a thin, sour filipino stew flavored with tamarinds and served with mixed vegetables and either pork or shrimp. Another filipino stew at Fairfax Inn is the “dinuguan”, a savory stew ofmeat and offal (lungs, kidneys, intenstines, etc) in a spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili and vinegar.

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  • Thanks for this great post! I would highly recommend the aush from Bamian in Falls Church/Bailey Crossroads and the chupe de camarones from La Limena in Rockville.

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