As temperatures plunge southward, the need for warming comfort food gets more urgent—and nothing gets the job done like a hot bowl of soup. Luckily, the craving is a pretty universal one, meaning there’s a near-infinite variety of recipes to choose from when cooking up a winter’s worth of rations.

Here are some of the best soup recipes across the globe, from Portugal to Thailand.

Khao Soika

Place of origin: Thailand

What it is: Egg noodles and chicken, suspended in a curry-coconut broth, topped with even more (fried) noodles, this northern Thai comfort food is one of Chiang Mai’s most popular culinary exports. The soup requires some elbow grease and a few trips to the local specialty store—those curry ingredients don’t hand-grind themselves—but the final product’s worth the effort. (Photo: Flickr)

Best Recipe: Serious Eats


Place of origin: Mexico

What it is: There’s no right way to do this soup, which hails from the state of Guerrero; pozole can use chicken or pork for its meat, and red or green chiles for its base. Most recipes simply agree it’s supposed to be filling, spicy, and thick enough to pass for a stew. (Photo: Flickr)

Best Recipe: New York Times 


Place of origin: Japan

What it is: Ten different ramen recipes could be a list of its own, but it seems wrong to round up international soups without including the current favorite. Anyway, ramen’s roots are a little hard to trace, but it’s been popular among the working classes for over a century, only recently making the leap to Japanese cultural artifact (and trend-piece fodder). With rich, meaty varieties like tonkotsu taking up space in glossy magazines, ramen’s now well past its dorm-room-diet phase. (Photo: Flickr)

Best Recipe: Japanese Cooking 101

Caldo verdecaldo

Place of origin: Portugal

What it is: Kale might be the juice-cleanse crowd’s latest obsession, but Portugal got there first. Finely sliced, leafy kale (hence the verde) and chorizo are the two main ingredients of this classic soup, making for an extra-simple recipe to add to the cold-weather arsenal. For extra authenticity points, serve with broa, a kind of Portuguese cornbread. (Photo: Flickr)

Best Recipe: Leite’s Culinaria


Place of origin: Russia

What it is: Perhaps Russia’s best-known dish that isn’t “a whole bunch of vodka,” most will recognize borscht as the alarmingly red, beet-based soup that can be served hot or cold (but let’s get real: it’s November, so cold soups are on standby until after Memorial Day). Occasionally, it’s fortified with cabbage or potatoes for extra sustenance. (Photo: Flickr)

Best Recipe: Natasha’s Kitchen

French onionfo

Place of origin: Uh, France?

What it is: The rich, cheesy staple of bistro lunches everywhere. Fortified with croutons, this stuff is unstoppable—and surprisingly easy to make at home, if you have the time to caramelize the onions. (Photo: Flickr)

Best Recipe: Smitten Kitchen

Matzo ballmatx

Place of origin: Eastern Europe

What it is: Every Jewish grandma’s ace in the hole, associated with Passover (hence its namesake, unleavened ingredient) but served year-round in most delis. Striking the perfect balance between fluffy and dense ablls is an art that can take years to master, though Andrew Zimmern’s kasha-enhanced recipe offers some helpful guidelines. (Photo: Flickr)

Best Recipe: Andrew Zimmern, via Food & Wine 


Place of origin: India, by way of England

What it is: A mainstay of Anglo-Indian cuisine, mulligatawny combines a base full of Indian spices and lentils with some more British additions—not just meat, but a roster of optional extras that includes carrots and apples. Like khao soi, it’s not easy to make at home, but the effort pays off. (Photo: Flickr)

Best Recipe: Madhur Jaffrey, via Saveur 

Egg drop soupegg

Place of origin: China

What it is: Sweet and simple—eggs in chicken broth, occasionally with scallions and tofu. By making it at home, the salty overload of the standard takeout version is safely out of the picture. (Photo: Flickr)

Best Recipe: The Kitchn

Peanut soupnut

Place of origin: West Africa

What it is: And ideal soup for the peanut-butter addicts among us, enhanced with sweet potatoes and occasionally chicken, okra, or tomatoes. There are dozens of different versions—some of them are even vegan—but the only constant is the rich, all-important peanut flavor. (Photo: Flickr)

Best Recipe: Mark Bittman, via the Cooking Channel

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