If there’s anything all of those post–NSO sneezes and sniffles in class show us, it’s that flu season is just around the corner. Aside from putting together a prevention plan (i.e. chug that orange juice and stock up on DayQuil), knowing where the tastiest, most healing soups are in the city definitely helps when you’re stuck wondering how you got sick in the first place.
If you’re in need of the closest thing to homemade matzo ball soup, Famous 4th Street Deli is the place to go. While your grandma probably doesn’t make matzo balls the size of a small child’s head like Famous 4th Street does, their signature is just as warming as hers. Additionally, their portions are huge, which means one order will last you several meals. If matzo ball soup doesn’t do it for you, try their kreplach, which consists of meat–filled dumplings in a warm and salty broth.
The internationally–minded foodie should head to Neighborhood Ramen for their incredibly popular ramen. While they don’t deliver or offer take–out, which might prove difficult when bed–ridden, taking a trip to Queen Village is a great way to get some fresh air and get out of the germ incubator that is Penn’s campus. With four different types of standard ramen, featuring chicken broth, pork broth, or a mix of the two as well as a vegetarian variety with mushrooms, there are lots of options. An added bonus? You can also make some of the dishes extra spicy if you’re trying to clear out those sinuses.
Wishing you could combine the flavors of Famous 4th Street Deli and Neighborhood Ramen? Go to Cheu Noodle Bar. With dishes that combine traditional flavors of Japanese ramen with Jewish–American influence like Brisket Ramen (which comes with a matzo ball!), their dishes are as eccentric and fun as they are warming and healing. Their Miso Ramen is a slightly more traditional option.
This recommendation doesn't fit in with the technical definition of soup, but soup dumplings surely qualify as part of that group when they’re as good as these. Dim Sum Garden makes some of the most addictive and revered soup dumplings in the city, with lines going out the door for them on busy weekend evenings. The hype is justified, too. At first bite, the dumplings explode with piping hot and flavorful broth, making it a must–go for the sick and the unaffected alike.
Ask a Philadelphian for Stephen Starr’s most underrated and relaxed establishment and Jones will be it. They have three soups, and the retro decor and homey vibes are sure to give you nostalgia. They serve up great matzo ball and chicken and rice soup, but Jones’ tomato soup takes the cake. Creamy, thick, and infused with sharp, aromatic notes of basil (best accompanied by a grilled cheese), it's the best reminder of childhood, especially when sick.
Hopefully you’ll be enjoying these soups solely for the impending cool weather. But in the case that your immune system isn’t yet primed for college life and you succumb to sickness, these tasty options are available as their own form of medicine.