Chicken soup for your cold… and your soul

3 of the best nontraditional chicken soups in Dayton 

If your winter has been anything like mine, you’ve probably had your fair share of the sniffles.

It seems like I get rid of one cold only to have another one ready to invade.

When it comes to feeding a cold, there’s one dish that has been recommended by various comfort cooks, Jewish mothers and even some doctors since the 12th Century — chicken soup.

The effectiveness can be debated, but there’s no doubt it’s good for you, contains incredible nutrients and can aid in hydration.

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Soup is warm, soup is cheap, soup is filling, soup is comforting.

I routinely go to Mexican restaurants when seeking out chicken soup to feed a cold or to stave off a cold. That may not seem intuitive, but in my humble opinion, most of our local Mexican restaurants have some of the best chicken soups being served up locally.

These aren’t the traditional chicken noodle soups you were probably raised on. These are steamy savory bowls filled with shredded chicken, rice, plenty of vegetables and a side of avocado and pico de gallo.

El Toro’s Caldo de Pollo is a great example of what I’m describing. This Mexican chicken soup is packed with squash, zucchini cauliflower, carrots, rice and seasoned shredded chicken in a tangy broth. Served alongside fresh avocado and pico de gallo to sprinkle or dump into the massive bowl of steamy soup, this is a very healthy dish that can easily make for one nice sized serving at the restaurant and another in a take-out container to go. It’s $11.95 and worth every penny.

Whether you have a cold or a New Year’s resolution for health and weight loss, this is a bowl that has what you need. Visit www.eltorobarandgrill.com/index.php/locations for more information and for a full list of locations.

Las Piramides, El Toro and El Rancho Grande also have a similar chicken soup dish on each of their menus. It’s something different that’s light, refreshing and affordable that you don’t necessarily expect to find on the menu and therefore probably don’t consider.

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A bowl of Mexican Tortilla Soup ($10) a traditional soup with chicken, rice, hominy, avocado, cheese, and spices served with tortilla strips and broth on the side sits in front of El Meson’s table card to signal the table needs service. Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen

El Meson’s Mexican Tortilla Soup is another non-traditional favorite. This traditional soup is packed with chicken, rice, hominy, avocado, cheese and spices served with tortilla strips and a small pitcher of broth on the side. It’s filling, flavorful, warm, delicious and priced right at $9. This is a robust soup that’s packed with flavor, a great value for the money and one of the more interesting presentations you can enjoy when it comes to soup. 903 E. Dixie Drive, Dayton, (937) 859-8229, www.elmeson.net.

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The sliced chicken pho (left) and Sate Shrimp and Pork Pho from Linh's Bistro. Photo source: Vivienne Machi / Staff

Pho (pronounced fuh) is a delicious Vietnamese rice noodle soup. At Linh’s Bistro, it’s served with a side plate of fresh cilantro, bean sprouts and jalapeno to dress it up as you please. Add chili paste for a kick, fish sauce for extra saltiness or garlic vinegar for sourness. Linh’s soups will deliver lunch and dinner in the same day thanks to the generous portions. My personal favorites are the Pho Ga (sliced chicken soup, $7.95), Hu Tieu Bo Vien Sate (spicy sliced beef and meatball soup, $8.95), Hu Tieu Ga Sate (spicy chicken soup, $7.95) and Hu Tieu Tom Heo Sat e (spicy shrimp and pork soup, $8.95). 5532 Airway Road, Dayton, (937) 252-1857, www.linhsbistro.com.

Chicken soup won’t replace those cough syrups and cold medication, but it will definitely make you feel better.

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