2738 SE 82nd Ave., No. 102, 772-0103.
[HAVE A SOUPER WEEK] With two soups daily and a supply that runs out when this family-run establishment sells out—often before noon, especially on weekends—the soups at Ha & VL are like Pokemon: gotta catch ’em all. I’ve been known to play hooky, take extended lunches and even just disappear to make sure I can tick each bowl off my bucket list. It’s in a tiny strip mall with pictures of bahn mi on the walls and every review ever written about the joint tucked under glass table covers with knickknacks high and low, but I get seriously emotional about the soups here. I’ve rotated through nearly every one, and each is like a Pikachu lightning bolt of flavor across my taste buds. Some of the soups are a bit challenging, so make sure you and whoever you bring can tackle foreign flavors and ingredients (liver and quail eggs, anyone?). But there’s not a bad broth in the bunch, and Wednesday’s curry chicken soup—a sunny yellow broth with homestyle cuts of meat, potatoes and carrots and noodles and lemongrass—I swear once cured a summer cold. And don’t even get me started on the snail soup, which is not the shelled mollusk that comes to mind, but rather baked into a cake and seated in an exquisite broth with tomatoes and all sorts of goodies. Ha & VL, I choose you.
Ideal meal: Wednesday’s curry chicken soup, Thursday’s snail soup.
Best deal: Shoo. It’s soupy perfection for $8. Depending on where you’re coming from, gas will cost you almost as much.
Pro tip: It’s cash-only under $15. Go early to make sure you get a bowl. Don’t even try to show up on Tuesdays, when they’re inexplicably closed.
8 am-4 pm Wednesday-Monday. $.