From Ajiaco to Za’atar: Around the World in 30 Soups

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As the coldest month of the year comes to a close, we’re shining the spotlight on winter’s warmest food, known by many names, and claimed by nearly every nation and cuisine: soup.

If food is a first gateway to meeting our neighbors, soup must be the best way to see the world from the kitchen. This month we teamed up with chefs, cookbook authors, and our own Kitchn crew to share a globe-trotting adventure featuring 30 soups from around the world — complete with at-home recipes and photos to guide you. It’s our hope that you’ll taste, make, and learn about as many as you can, and perhaps meet new people to inspire you too.

How did we choose our soups?

We asked food-lovers and experts we respect to share and weigh in on the soups of their cuisines and cultures. They aren’t each necessarily the most definitive soup from that country — that’s an impossible choice, for many — but the dishes all have meaningful connections between our contributors and their home cuisines.

Some soups you might already be familiar with, such as Ferran Adrià’s take on classic gazpacho from Spain, or Leela Punyaratabandhu’s tom kha kai from Thailand. Others might be new: Evi Aki takes us to Tanzania for creamy supu viazi, and Yasmin Khan brings the flavors of Palestine with red lentil soup topped with tangy za’atar croutons.

You’ll find soups with rich history lessons — like Gonzalo Guzmán’s version of pozole rojo that dates back to Aztec times in Mexico. There are also classics with a modern twist, like Vietnamese beef pho from Andrea Nguyen, which achieves its complex flavor in much less time, thanks to the pressure cooker.

Our only regret is having to limit this collection to 30 soups. We know it’s by no means complete; there are some clear missing pieces (Australia, hi there!) and regions we’d like to add in the future for an even more inclusive cross-section. Still, it’s our hope that this list can serve as a starting point in celebrating the diversity of cuisines and traditions that deeply enrich our world.

Here’s to more culinary connections in the kitchens we call home.

(And please — share the soup that speaks of home to you in the comments below. We’d love to hear!)


Melissa Harrison – Food Director, Kitchn


  • Lead producer: Christine Gallary
  • Production assistant: Tracey Gertler
  • Illustrations: Jenny Chang-Rodriguez





Middle East