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Food — Mexico

Caldo de Gallina, a Hen Soup That Reminded Me Of Home

Nostalgia in a bowl of soup

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Read while listening to this to feel the ambiance:

The place is not far from where I live, just a few blocks away. Located next to the parking lot in Calle Puebla 188, Roma Norte CDMX.

I found this spot while my husband and I walked to a friend’s house.

That piqued our intrigue to give it a shot, as this place is always packed with people, especially at meal times. Sometimes, you have to wait in a long line to get a table.

Last week, my husband and I had dinner here.

A small white and blue building has a kitchen and a dining space. Also, on the sidewalk, tables, and stools are set up under a blue plastic canopy and walls, with sombreros hanging from the ceiling — an iconic touch.

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Adorning the plastic is a big logo featuring the owner, a man in his forties donning a sombrero, surrounded by hens, and the phrase Caldos de Gallina y Enchiladas Luis Desde 2007.

I choose the table that faces their kitchen — I am surrounded by the smells, the sounds of the clatter of utensils, and the chatter of customers.

Photo by Author

As a señora presses the masa into perfect tortillas, another guy stirs a large pot full of hen meat, the fragrant aroma of herbs and spices wafting the air.

Meanwhile, the man appears to flip the tortilla over the comal, shred the chicken, and pour the soup into the bowl. I cannot stop smiling over the ambiance I have felt since I sat.

“Su orden, chicos?” says the waiter, holding the pen and the small notebook in his hand. What’s your order, guys?

Me da un cuarto de pechuga, y para él, medio de pechuga, por favor,” I reply. Give me a quarter of a breast, and for him, half a breast, please.

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When the order arrives, the man in the kitchen quickly pours the soup into a bowl that is already filled with rice, chickpeas, and shredded chicken.

Soon, my order is placed before me. The smoke rises from it. The aroma is delectable.

Then I add a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, diced onions, Chile seco, and a dollop of salsa.

Photo by Author

I savor every spoonful. “Muy delicioso!” I exclaim happily to them. I take the warm tortillas out of the cloth, fold them, and dip them into my soup.

I suddenly recall. When I first tasted this soup without the tortilla, cilantro, and others, I was surprised at how much it reminded me of my mother’s cooking. As we call it Sop Ayam Kampung.

The broth was rich in flavor, and the meat was tender and juicy. It was clear that the hen had been cooked for several hours, allowing it to infuse the deep flavor of the broth and the hen itself. I did not expect to find the same taste even in a world so different from my own.

Thank you for reading.

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