It Makes Sense That Portland—A City That So Often Fares Poorly in Mental Health Surveys—Has Such a Rich Soup Culture

Portland is one of the world’s great soup cities. We dipped into hot pots, ramen, pozole and more.

(Joe Riedl)

Forget Guinness, it's soup that makes you strong.

That's true when you're sick, when you're cold, when you're dragged down by the gray skies and the ceaseless drizzle that defines winter in Portland. Some days, especially as holiday cheer fades into the dreary haze of January, it feels like this whole town has the sniffles.

We're prone to self-medicate—with soup.

The world always seems brighter through the steam rising off a bubbling bowl of broth. A truly great bowl not only nourishes, but comforts, heals and heartens.

It makes sense that Portland—a city that so often fares poorly in mental health surveys—has such a rich soup culture. While razor-clam chowder is the only recipe we can really claim as our own, Portland's passion for bubbling broths has inspired people from all over the world to hand us a bowl.

Some of Japan's top ramen shops picked this city for their first American locations. After eating 39 bowls of ramen across the city, we found that most of the best stuff comes from the two newest imports.

It's no secret to foodies, but one of Portland's most beloved restaurants is a divey Vietnamese soup shop that sells its world-beating bowls for the price of two Frappuccinos. We talked to the family about the bowls of bun bo Hue that took it from a hellish refugee camp to the pages of Bon Appétit and Lucky Peach.

As we spooned through the city for this issue, we also found some surprises. Like a farm-to-table Japanese spot that's now doing a luxe version of Japanese-style hot pot, a lively pozole showcasing locally made hominy , and a Russian spot making lagman, a long-lost cousin to ramen.

We also talked to the chef who's about to open what may be Portland's first great house of Chinese soup dumplings, got another to share his recipe for one of Portland's best-loved deli soups, and learned the secrets behind an extraordinary version of classic cioppino with Oregon-caught Dungeness crab.

It's cold, it's wet, and the country looks to be headed for 1,460 dark days.

Grab a spoon.

Welcome to the Soup Issue

Why Are Tokyo Ramen Shops Suddenly Taking Over Portland?

We Tried 39 Bowls of Portland Ramen—These Are the Very Best, By Style

Pono Farm's Shabu Shabu Takes Portland Hot Pot To A New Level

Are You Confused About Hot Pot? Here's How Long You Should Cook Everything For

Tournant's Pozole Night is a Soul-Warming Event Built On Locally Made Hominy

The Epic Journey of the Family Behind Ha VL, Portland's Most Famous Broth Masters

Three Soups At Ha VL You Must Try

Jacqueline Is Reviving Cioppino, The West Coast's Sloppiest, Spiciest, Fishiest Soup

Lagman Is the Ramen of Central Asia, And One of Portland's Rarest Exotic Soups

The Kenny & Zuke's Chef Reveals How to Make His Much-Loved Hungarian Mushroom Soup

The XLB Soup Dumpling Craze Is Finally Coming To Portland

This Is How To Eat An XLB Like A Pro

Hey, Willamette Week Is Having a Soup Recipe Contest

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