15 Places for Soup-Lovers - Atlas Obscura Lists

15 Places for Soup-Lovers

No soup for you—just kidding, you can have it all.

According to archeologists who uncovered the remnants of scorched pots in China’s Jiangxi Province, humans have been making soups for at least 20,000 years—if not longer. As a food category, soup is conceptually elastic, encompassing everything from the most luxurious dishes—marrow-rich tonkotsu simmered for days—to ones made of very literal bare bones. Portable iterations of soups once fueled 18th-century explorers, while “black soup” stained with pig’s blood kept ancient Sparta’s notorious army strong.

Soups are universal comfort foods, the way we comfort our sick and stretch a few scraps into a meal. Unsurprisingly, the diversity of soups slurped around the globe is downright dizzying. From a half-century-old broth in Bangkok to chanko nabe, a hearty stew designed to help sumo wrestlers bulk up, in Tokyo to caldo de piedra, which is heated with red-hot rocks, in Mexico, the options are plenty—and all good for the soul. All of these places will happily ladle out a bowl for travelers, with the exception of the world’s largest soup kettle, which once drew locals from all over Wisconsin for “Community Soup” events. It stands empty now, a timeless testament to the uniting power of a good soup.