Chef Mimi Kitani’s tangy take on kuba, one of the various soups she grew up eating as the Israeli-born daughter of a Moroccan mother and Iraqi father, features robust beef-stuffed farina dumplings afloat in a vibrant broth that’s light in body but rich in fresh beety flavor ($11; 1209 Cortelyou Rd., nr. Westminster Rd., Ditmas Park; 718-284-4444).
Sliced Fish Sauce Soup
Is it a soup? A stew? A sauce? The entrée, easily enough for two, is actually more like a bubbling pool of impossibly tasty red chili oil, with bobbing slices of tilapia and a taunting flotilla of red chili peppers. Order it “spicy with hot oil.” Bring tissues ($19; 15 Seventh Ave. S., nr. Leroy St.; 212-645-0222).
Hue-Style Chicken Soup
Tien Ho’s makeshift menu at the Chambers Hotel mezzanine puts a characteristic Momofuku spin on the room-service roster. Take this chicken noodle, for instance, scented with star anise and cinnamon, brightened with lemongrass and chiles, and given a subtle fish-sauce funk ($12; 15 W. 56th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; no phone).
Caldo de Bola
“Bola” means ball in Spanish, and to the soup-loving population of Ecuador and diners at this burgeoning Queens chainlet, it refers to a green plantain–shelled sphere that looks like an overgrown arancino and contains what seems to be the contents of an entire Latino beef stew: cubes of meat, peas and carrots, shards of hard-boiled egg ($9.99; 36-10 Greenpoint Ave., Long Island City; 718-392-2734).
Chief among the myriad charms of this curried noodle soup, also known as Chiang Mai noodles for the northern Thai city that specializes in it, is the velvety creaminess of its coconut curry broth, enlivened by a turmeric-and-coriander-spiked curry paste. Noodles appear two ways: submerged in the broth, and fried into a bird’s-nest garnish ($9.50; 149 W. 4th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-228-4267).
Sancocho de Rabo
This tiny Dominican redoubt is part lunchroom, part clubhouse, and, it seems, a regular stop on the bootleg-DVD-(and, oddly, vitamins)-hawking circuit. Do not let the thrice-hourly solicitations distract you from the comforting sancocho, the Latin American soup-stew featuring hunks of oxtail and a trio of tubers—yuca, yautía, and plantain ($8; 3822 Broadway, nr. 159th St.; 212-781-8494).
This Malaysian noodle soup pulls no punches. It’s fishy, sour, and sweet all at once, an unfamiliar flavor profile that somehow integrates ingredients as disparate as anchovy, sardines, tamarind, Vietnamese mint, and pineapple ($11; 15 E. 17th St., nr. Broadway; 212-206-8989).
Of all the rib-sticking beef soups on offer at this kosher Uzbeki canteen, kharcho is the one to get. It’s a comforting bowl of beef-vegetable-and-rice soup, where you’d least expect to find it—up three flights in the middle of the Diamond District ($4; 41 W. 47th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-768-8001).
Zuppa Di Zucca
Fortunato Nicotra’s butternut-squash soup excels not only in flavor (via the bacon-amped sofrito base), but in texture: nice, chewy fregola, plus a handful of exquisite zolfini beans from Tuscany. It’s a squash soup that eats more like a pasta e fagiole ($14; 243 E. 58th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-758-1479).
Chicken Tortilla Avocado Soup
The most popular soup on Shopsin’s roster, with a not-so-secret ingredient: cabbage, browned to release its inherent sweetness. It’s a great complement to the Mexican flavors, including the spookily precise amount of hot peppers the peevish soup maven calibrates to his “How spicy do you want it?” scale ($15; 120 Essex St., nr. Delancey St.; no phone).
Sol Long Tang
Gahm Mi Oak
This mild, soothing oxbone broth, simmering away for hours in industrial-size drums, contains brisket and rice noodles and is meant to be liberally doctored with the sea salt and scallions deposited on every table ($9.97; 43 W. 32nd St., nr. Broadway; 212-695-4113).
Billi-bi is an elegant, old-fashioned luxury soup made from cream and mussels, and it’s a shame it’s going the way of the pike quenelle. Which is why it’s nice to see it revived at this historic saloon ($13; 113 MacDougal St., at Minetta Ln.; 212-475-3850).