America loves soup, especially for lunch catering.
Half of all Americans used dry soup or bouillon in 2015. The U.S. soup market size was estimated at $6,825.6 million in 2016 and has since seen a growing demand for organic and healthy soups.
Why is soup so high in demand?
Soup is one of America’s greatest comfort foods. It can cure any cold, bring people together, feed a whole office and warm every soul. It also has the power to bring you right back to childhood and anywhere in the world. Creamy tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich reminds me of being a kid in North America. A hot bowl of steaming Pho takes me back to exploring the streets of Vietnam. Nothing quite brings out a place, culture or story quite like a hot soup—or soupy stew or curry mulling in all of its worldly spices, for that matter.
Soup is considered to date back as far as the history of cooking itself. It was around back when food was scarce and everything went into one pot over a fire. Because of this, a good homemade soup is packed full of good, whole ingredients. It can be packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins, spices, water, and carbohydrates.
Most restaurants have a bowl or a cup of soup on their menu—and an optional side soup with a meal. Let’s look at the top soups (and stews and curries) across America and find out where to get them for your next office lunch catering.
Best soups for lunch catering—and where to get them
Classic tomato soup
We can’t talk about the best soups in America and not mention the all-time classic, tomato. Next Door American Eatery, a Boulder, Colorado restaurant that celebrates American farmers, has a tomato soup and grilled bread on their menu that is perfect on its own or with any of their mouth-watering farm-to-table sandwiches and burgers.
Ramen is a Japanese soup with Chinese-style wheat noodles in either a meat, fish-based, or vegetarian broth. It often has soy sauce or miso and is topped with pork, dried seaweed and scallions. Tonkotsu is a pork bone broth from the Kyushu region of Japan, whereas the Hokkaido region specializes in its own ramen variation with a miso broth.
Atlanta’s neighborhood ramen shop, Ramen Station is always made with from-scratch broths, delicious noodles and cage-free local farm eggs. Try their Tonkotsu ramen with it’s creamy pork bone broth.
Wonton noodle soup
Flower Pepper in Boulder, Colorado is an authentic Chinese home-cooking restaurant made fresh every day—and they make a killer wonton noodle soup. The founder and former owner, Jeff (Tao) Gao was an award-winning restauranteur back in China and brought his Shandong Province-cooking methods to the U.S. They hand make their pork wontons and serve it fresh over wheat noodles with a splash of their secret sauce signature chili oil all brewed up in a rich beef stock. Yum!
I’d be remiss to talk about soups as a great lunch catering option and not mention their chunkier, heartier relative: stews. Sherpa Restaurant in Boulder is an authentic Himalayan restaurant that specializes in Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan food. They also serve a delicious and namesake Sherpa stew. They have a chicken or vegetarian version of the dish which is a large bowl of homemade broth with vegetables, spices, potatoes and homemade veggie or chicken dumplings. Sounds warmingly hearty, doesn’t it?
We may be broadening or loosening our definition of soup here, but Indian curries can be quite thick and chunky soup-like if they’re saucy enough. If you brought a curry into a soup group, it would make for an interesting debate—and everyone would definitely eat it. Denver’s fave, Biju’s Little Curry Shop has a classic curry bowl option in either mild coconut chicken, spicy vindaloo chicken, or masala beef—all of which are very good. It’s made with a date biriyani with spiced lentils, ginger shallot yogurt, cilantro and mint chutney. If you’re in Denver, try it.
Vegetable barley soup
Last but certainly not least on our list, is the Spanish-cuisine restaurant Cafe Aion in Boulder. They have a Moroccan BBQ spiced vegetable barley soup with tomato that is warming, healthy and filling—especially if you add spicy chorizo.