46 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Tropical Restaurant’s Caldo de Bola: A Soup with Hidden Treasures

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Lots of flavor.  A variety of ingredients.  It’s like a farmer’s market in a bowl.

I’m back!  Being almost settled into my new apartment in sunny Los Angeles means finally having some breathing room to finish writing about the last five soups.

The night JM and I went to Sripraphai, my original plan was to do a Queens soup marathon and go to Sripraphai, Tropical and Tortilleria Nixtamal.  I only had a few days left before I was moving to LA, so I was trying to bang them out, especially since it’s not easy trekking out to various Queens locations.  But I realized quickly that I was being unrealistic.  JM and I had a lot more packing to do, and we just didn’t have the energy or time to be going on a soup tour.  So we decided to eat at Sripraphai only, and I would finish the rest of my journey during my short NYC biz trip two weeks later.

As I lugged my very full stomach back to the train station, I noticed a sign – Tropical!  Was this the same restaurant I was supposed to try in a different location?  I studied the menu and then googled it, and, yes, it was.  Hallelujah!

I ordered the Caldo de Bola (or Sopa de Bola de Verde) ($9.99) – a traditional soup from the Coastal region in Ecuador – to go.  There was just no way I could eat anymore.  Even in the wee hours of the morning, after some more packing, I didn’t burn any of the Thai food off.  So I heated some up the next day for dinner.

Tropical’s Caldo de Bola

The meaty and cilantro-y broth was filled with huge chunks of carrot, corn on the cob, beef and yuca.  But, as big as these ingredients were, they were overshadowed by the canon ball-sized “meatballs” which were actually green plaintain dumplings filled with ground meat, diced carrots, green peas and pieces of egg.  I thought I had seen and tasted it all until I opened up these hidden treasures.

It was a delicious discovery, but the dumplings were extremely tough to eat with a wimpy plastic spoon that almost broke when I tried to dig in.  Had I not packed my spoons already, I would’ve been able to gobble the soup up a lot more quickly.  I’ll take it as a lesson that I should eat more delicately…like the lady I am.

67-22 Roosevelt Ave.
Woodside, NY 11377

Other Locations

88-19 Jamaica Ave.
Woodhaven, NY 11421

36-10 Greenpoint Ave.
Long Island City, NY 11101

62-27 Fresh Pond Rd.
Middle Village, NY 11379


Over $10 – These soups should have a gold leaf in them.

$6 to $10 – You’re not shellin’ out the gold, but also not gettin’ super lucky.

Under $6 – It’s your lucky day!


About Tynee

My latest adventure: trying all 50 of what New York Magazine dubbed the "Tastiest" Soups in the city in 2009. Read all about it here. View all posts by Tynee

One response to “46 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Tropical Restaurant’s Caldo de Bola: A Soup with Hidden Treasures

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