Eat This Now

What to Eat When You've Got a Cold in Greater Phoenix

We've got all your faves.
We've got all your faves. Lauren Cusimano
While we trust you’ve gotten a flu shot this season, it doesn’t mean your body won’t succumb to the subtle misery that is life with a head cold.

But relief may be on the way at a number of Valley restaurants. While we’re in no way authorized to prescribe you any of these dishes, sometimes you just want soup, hot tea, or what’s more, a hot toddy when your throat aches and you’ve already requested off work.

Here are a number of suggestions throughout metro Phoenix just begging to relieve you of your symptoms – again, not that we’re qualified to tell you this. Just try not to breathe on anyone.

click to enlarge Soup from Reathrey Sekong. - CHRIS MALLOY
Soup from Reathrey Sekong.
Chris Malloy


This one’s easy. Hot broth, be it chicken soup, pho, ramen, or whatever you desire, causes instant relief to a sore throat. You make that “ahhh” sound as soon as you pull the first sip. The steam also helps, and the broth itself is great for hydration. And it’s pretty accessible in this city as well.

Consider an order of the West Lake Soup at China Chili Restaurant – consisting of ground beef, tofu, cilantro, ginger, onions, and egg blossoms in a chicken broth. You’ve got protein there, as well as ginger in case your stomach is upset as well.

Other choices include the spicy shoyu at the Umami ramen eatery in Tempe, or a classic order of pho tai at Pho Thanh. If you need more suggestions, we have a guide to some of the better bowls of soup in the Valley.

click to enlarge Cauliflower tossed in Buffalo sauce at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Cauliflower tossed in Buffalo sauce at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
Lauren Cusimano


A not-so-obvious food to eat when you’re sick may be cauliflower. This veggie is high in vitamin C, and is a good source of antioxidants. Plus, it’s found just about everywhere. Since you have sick brain and don’t want to look into it yourself, here’s a guide to some of the best cauliflower dishes across Phoenix.


There’s nothing like a natural remedy, and, honey, honey is just that. This golden goo can coat your throat, thus working as a natural relief to your sore throat. What’s more, honey contains some antibacterial powers, meaning if you’re sick due to an infection, honey can get to work on some of that bacteria.

Arizona honey is in abundance. H&H Honey has pickup locations in Mesa and Chandler; other local honey spots include Sun Valley Bees, Crockett Honey Co., Raw Life Farms, Rango Honey, and more. You can also almost certainly find local honey at any of the currently occurring Valley farmers markets.

click to enlarge A customized juice from 24 Carrots. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
A customized juice from 24 Carrots.
Lauren Cusimano


Some juices are, by design, an ideal and easy solution or easement of cold or flu. Many juice orders will actually target your symptoms, including the Flu Shot at Kaleidoscope Juice – a blend of turmeric root, garlic, ginger, cayenne, lemon, green apple, and oil of oregano (and many of these ingredients are organic besides).

You could also consider the Turmeric Citrus Lemonade at Nekter Juice Bar or the C-Horse at Juby True. The good news for you is that there are juice bars aplenty in the Valley.

click to enlarge El Peligroso Challenge at Mariscos Playa Hermosa — but no one says you need to go this spicy. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
El Peligroso Challenge at Mariscos Playa Hermosa — but no one says you need to go this spicy.
Lauren Cusimano

Spicy Foods

This one can go either way. Either you love the idea of eating a spicy dish that may clear out the sinus passages, or the thought of your nose running any more than it already is makes you want to walk into traffic.

If you dare, we have a guide to some of the spicier dishes in town, including a number of Chinese, Indian, Thai, and Ethiopian dishes, plus a variety of chicken wings and hot sauces.

click to enlarge Just don't spill. - ALEXANDRU G. STAVRIC?/UNSPLASH
Just don't spill.
Alexandru G. STAVRIC?/Unsplash


Hot tea – stressing the hot part – can be a quadruple threat to the common cold. It can immediately soothe your sore throat, act as a decongestant, work to hydrate you, and black tea even carries some antibacterial compounds. We know you’re sold, so may we recommend some simply adorable spots for tea service in the Valley.

And if you absolutely have to have that tea iced, try Pop ‘N Tea Bar, or visit a Teapressa Cafe.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on January 8, 2019. It was updated on January 6, 2020.
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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.