Asian Penicillin

I have a stripper cold. I caught the cold from a friend who caught it from her boyfriend who caught it from a stripper. In addition to the night sweats and post-nasal drip, the pole-dancing is exhausting and if Annie Lennox’s “Little Bird” plays one more time I’m going to scream. At least the tips are good.

In the past, when I caught a cold, I headed straight to the East Village for my favorite cold remedy at the Second Avenue Deli. You can read about my last visit here. That last visit was truly a last visit: the 2nd Avenue Deli is no more. Their soup–the best chicken soup in the city, as far as I was concerned–was fragrant, potent, and completely curative: one sip and I’d automatically feel better. When it closed down, I grew deeply concerned about what I’d do if I caught a cold. Where would I go? What would I do?

The answer, surprisingly, was only one avenue away. There on 1st avenue is a soup just as potent, just as curative, and way more exotic. That soup belongs to David Chang, its served at Momofuku, and its listed on the menu as “Chicken Ramen.” The ramen, of course, refers to the noodles; but I’m here to praise the soup. Having made my own chicken stock before, I marvel at how miraculous Chang’s chicken broth is: it’s a deep golden color, it’s incredibly rich and it’s truly well-salted. One spoonful, and suddenly I started to question my allegiance to my own culture’s form of penicillin: do the Asians have the Jews beat? I’m not sure. But immediately I started to feel better, and now I know where to head the next time I get a stripper cold.

I’d say more, but Elizabeth Berkeley’s giving me the evil eye….

9 thoughts on “Asian Penicillin”

  1. What was your friend’s boyfriend doing catching colds from a stripper? Haha. Asians and Jews should duel it out for best chicken soup…on the next Iron Chef?

    Oh and just to help you out, I noticed a tinnny error in your blog. End of second paragraph: “What what I do?” I imagine you meant would rather than what :)

  2. you have to get the one with the perfect poached egg on top. you break it into the broth and it makes it positively silken.

  3. I prefer the old-fashioned jewish chicken soup but when I am sick, I can’t make it for myself. So for years I have turned to the Chinese cure, either Wonton-Noodle soup or a relative thereof. It had never occurred to me to use the soups at Momofuku as a cure. You may be on to something. Too bad I don’t live near enough.

  4. Adam, I hope your cold is better now. Your discussion of the chicken soup at the Second Avenue Deli (RIP) ties into the chicken soup discussion on my blog, Annie’s New York Eats ( I started with the 2nd Avenue Deli’s “Chicken in the Pot” recipe which cooks from bones with the meat and skin still on them–on other words, parts like backs, necks, wings, etc. If you only use bones, you’ll come up with a great stock but not a great broth.

  5. roundhousecurve

    I’d wager a bowl of that ramen that the “miraculous” “rich” part of that broth is (the magical animal known as) pork in some form or another. Could be wrong, but when I see miracle and Chang, I can’t help but think it’s porkified.

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