BEST SOUP (2003)
Except Duong is Vietnamese, her restaurant is Vietnamese, and her chicken noodle soup is Vietnamese, a dish called mien ga. We assure you, though, this is food that spans any culture. The chicken is tender breast, torn in toothsome shards and grilled. The noodles are delicate, opaque glass variety. The broth is aromatic brew, puffing steam, bobbing with chopped green onions, tears of pungent cilantro leaves and bean sprouts, plus a splash of fermented fish sauce and lime.
The bowl is huge, almost too much to finish, but so captivating that somehow, we always find the room. And at just $5, it's as comforting to our budget as it is to our soul.