Best Bets: Hot and sour soup

Mosa's hot and sour soup   is made using owner Eddie Pao's  'home' recipe.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Mosa's hot and sour soup is made using owner Eddie Pao's "home" recipe.

I'd never eaten hot and sour soup until I tried it at the old Formosa restaurant on Summer back in the '70s. Now it's my standard.

Eddie Pao, co-owner of Formosa now at 6685 Quince, owns the two Mosa restaurants. Hot and sour soup still is on the menu, and it's still my favorite.

Mosa's hot and sour soup   is made using owner Eddie Pao's  'home' recipe.

Photo by Michael Donahue

Mosa's hot and sour soup is made using owner Eddie Pao's "home" recipe.

Pao told me his mother, Chun Yin Pao, taught him how to make it 40 years ago. The only other place in Memphis that also served the soup at that time was the old Beijing restaurant, he said, noting that Beijing had the Peking recipe, not the "home" recipe like his. "Mine is more spicy, more sour. Tasty," Pao said. His hot and sour soup has more black pepper. "It used to be not that spicy," he said, adding, "The basic recipe I never change."

The ingredients include red and black pepper, which makes it hot, and vinegar, the sour. There are also tofu, bamboo strips, corn starch, soy sauce and sugar. His soup is a "little bit sweeter than normal" hot and sour soups.

That dark-looking ingredient floating around is the wood ear mushroom. "It's very good for blood pressure. All the Chinese know that."

Originally, his hot and sour soup contained pork, but he stopped adding meat. He doesn't even use chicken broth in the soup. "We want everybody, even vegetarians, to eat it."

Mosa's hot and sour soup is one of my cold remedies. Many of his customers eat it in the winter time because they say it "opens sinuses right away," Pao said.

A lot of his customers may not know Pao was a motion picture director in Taiwan. He directed romances including "Everlasting Love," and kung fu movies including "Pao Ching Ten." Taiwan's version of the Oscar is the Gold Horse, Pao said, adding, "I never won."

Mosa Asian Bistro at 1825 Kirby Parkway is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; call 755-6755. Mosa Asian Bistro No. 2 at 850 S. White Station is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; call 683-8889.

Contact Michael Donahue at 529-2797, or e-mail donahue@commercialappeal.com.

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