Best Egg Drop Soup

Max's Noodles & More

A staple of Chinese-American restaurants, egg drop soup was originally a long-simmered pork stock flavored with ginger and accessorized at the last minute with a beaten egg. Lately, though, in most local Chinese restaurants it's become a slimy, tasteless, cornstarch-heavy broth brightened up with so much yellow food coloring that it practically glows like nuclear waste. But restaurateur Max Chao, the chef-owner of Max's Noodles & More, turns this traditionally bland soup into a work of art. "I come in early in the morning and make a good chicken stock," he says. "I boil the hell out of those chicken bones and get everything good out of them." Then he adds tiny squares of milky tofu, chunks of cooked chicken, fat mushrooms, tiny shrimp and crunchy water chestnuts before the beaten egg. This pale, lemon-colored soup is loaded with flavor. It's particularly delicious accompanied by Max's plump, purse-shaped crab rangoon, which -- hold onto your seats -- are actually made with crabmeat.

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