I have never been a big fan of soup. Perhaps this comes from being raised on the over salted chicken noodle and floury, flavourless bisques of New Jersey diners. Or perhaps it’s that, with my epic appetite, it has always been difficult for me to think of soup as anything other than the uninspiring herald of the rest of the meal. Or maybe it was those annoyingly silly television commercials I would see growing up, the ones where families come in from the bitter winter cold to be restored and rejuvenated by the magic of canned soup. Whatever the origins of my aversion, it was not until moving to Astoria that I gave soup a chance as a main course. And, as with most of the foods of Astoria, I was richly rewarded for making a leap of faith.There are many great soups to be had in Astoria. Among my favorites are the savory udon noodle soup at LINN, the hearty lentil soup from Jerusalem Pita House (Pita Hot), and the rich, smokey tomato bisque from Il Bambino. My favorite soup in Astoria, however, is hands down the Begova Corba, the traditional Bosnian soup from Ukus on 30th Avenue.My sincere apologies chicken noodle, but the Begova Corba is quite simply the best chicken soup I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Here, ingredients commonly found in chicken soup, including tender chunks of chicken, a boldly flavored broth, rice and carrots, are invigorated with the more surprising additions of okra and a healthy scoop of sour cream. When I stirred these ingredients together for the first time and tried it, I immediately understood that this soup is the grain of truth in advertising, the restorative, rejuvenating antidote to a hard New York winter. Served with with a basket of warm lepinja–a soft, fluffy, delicious flat bread for dipping–this soup is both a full dinner all on its own and quite possibly my favorite winter meal in Astoria.
Get your soup on here this winter:
Ukus 42-08 30th Avenue, Astoria
LINN 2913 Broadway, Astoria
Jerusalem Pita House (Pita Hot) 25-15 30th Ave, Astoria
Il Bambino 34-08 31st Ave, Astoria