When I was lad there was no such thing as a “polar vortex,” we called it winter—and reveled in it. Decades of relatively mild winters have spoiled me and many other New Yorkers. As a public service to help you thaw out from Winter Storm Janus, C+M presents a bone-warming roster of some of our favorite soups in Queens from Long Island City to Flushing, and points in between.
1. Yunnan rice noodle soup with pork at Crazy Crab
Find this lovely bowl at New York City’s only crab shack/Burmese/Yunnanese spot. Warm up with tender chunks of pork and a spicy broth enlivened by a fresh squeeze of lime. It’s a taste of Southwestern China by way of Flushing. Not a bad deal at all, for $8.99. Crazy Crab 888,40-42 College Point Blvd, Flushing 718-353-8188
2. Tonkotsu 2.0 at Mu Ramen
When the sun goes down and it’s brick cold out, head to over to Bricktown Bagels, which turns into Long Island City’s only ramen-ya. Joshua Smookler’s Tonkotsu 2.0 ($15) is made from six different types of pork bones, including shanks that cook for more than 20 hours. Topped with a slick of mayu (black garlic oil) and wobbly bits of tontoro (pork jowl), the soup is rich and complex. Best of all it has plenty of marrow thanks to all those shanks. Mu Ramen, 51-06 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, Tues-Sat 6:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
3. Tsak sha chu rul at Phayul
Fans of stinky cheese and adventurous eats will enjoy this funky Tibetan beef and cheese soup ($3.99). The tangy funk of the cheese is tempered by chilies. Bits of beef and thin strands of noodles lurk beneath the grayish broth. As you sit in Phayul’s second floor dining room overlooking the bustling streets of Himalayan Heights, just think about how much colder it is on Mt. Everest. Phayul, 37-65 74th St, Jackson Heights, 718-424-1869
4. Stewed oxtail noodle soup at Biang!
Hand-ripped biang biang noodles, so named for the sound they make when slapped against the counter, are the house specialty of this more upscale entry from Golden Mall O.G. X’ian Famous Foods. Get the oxtail version ($8) and soup it up for an extra $1.25. It’s so spicy and fortifying you’ll be ready to do battle with old man winter after a bowl. Biang!, 41-10 Main St., Flushing, 718-888-7713
5. Lamb noodle soup at Su Xiang Yuan
Springy hand-pulled wheat noodles, slippery glass noodles, and strands of tofu skin make this Henanese specialty ($4/$5) fun slurping. The shop’s English name is Nutritious Lamb Noodle soup. The milky lamb bone broth bobbing with bits of meat, goji berries, and wood ear mushrooms will leave you feeling well nourished. Doctor it up with a splash of vinegar and a dollop of chili paste for a regional Chinese take on that old-school American-Chinese classic, hot and sour soup. Nutritious Lamb Noodle Soup (aka Su Xiang Yuan), Golden Shopping Mall, 41-28 Main Street, Flushing; Nutritious Lamb Noodle Soup, No .28, New World Mall Food Court, Flushing
6. Goat foot and head soup, Dhaulagiri Kitchen
“We don’t have a name for it,” Kamala Gauchan, the owner and chef of Dhaulagiri Kitchen told me the night Janus was blanketing NewYork City with snow. “It’s just goat foot and head soup, Nepalese people love it.” Skin on chunks of goat lurk beneath the gingery broth of this $6 off-menu soup. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some goat marrow bones in your bowl.
Dhaulagiri Kitchen, 37-38 72nd St., Jackson Heights
7. Pig marrow bone soup, Zhu’s Snacks
The word “marrow” doesn’t appear anywhere on Zhu’s wall menu. Pork bone does though, six times to be precise. Pork bone wheat noodle, pork bone taro, and plain old pork bone to name a few, each containing three pork bones and their respective marrow. The uninitiated are in for a pleasantly primitive surprise when Mr. Zhu presents a single plastic glove and a straw along with chopsticks and a soup spoon. You’ll need that straw to slurp out the marrow. And you’ll want to put a glove on your off hand while you gnaw the bits of meat off the bone like a cave man. Zhu’s Snacks, Stall 16, Golden Shopping Mall, 41-28 Main Street, Flushing