A Chunky Soup to Send Campbell's Running

Todays News

Photo by Andrew Fabian.

In the early 2000s, Campbell’s began marketing its Chunky Soups as a hearty meal fit for giants. To do so, they enlisted the services of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb. Standing at 6’ 2” and pounding the pavement with 240 pounds of muscle, the television commercials showed McNabb enjoying big bowls of the soup, urged on by his doting mother to make sure he ate all those big chunks of steak, vegetables and noodles. These commercials, charming if a touch campy, let the viewer know that chunkier is better. 

But if that’s the case, then the soup maker conveniently hid the fact that an Uzbek shurpa soup makes their canned product look like a 99-cent bowl of microwaved ramen noodles. At Chayana Vostok, Sarasota’s one and deliciously-only Uzbek cuisine restaurant, the shurpa soup looks a little like it’s showing off. At first glance, it looks like the broth is an afterthought, with two honking lamb ribs jutting out of the top. Half of a medium sized potato and two pieces of crudely chopped carrot float near the top like the tips of icebergs, the majority of their bulk disappearing beneath the opaque and herb-choked broth. Those herbs, cilantro and dill, accent the meaty aromatics of the soup. 

Chock full of protein from the lamb and chickpeas buried beneath it, the soup is chunky enough to feed three Donovan McNabbs if Campbell’s metrics are adopted. 

Photo by Andrew Fabian.

Chayhana Vostok Uzbek Cuisine, 4242 S Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, 941-923-5919.

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