Souper Bowl I: The Hot War

Rembert Browne Souper Bowl Bracket

In the first couple days of Souper Bowl I, people were excited and happily casting votes for the soups they felt were the tastiest. It was a joyful competition. People joked and smiled as they talked about the various matchups. So cute. So innocent.

Then, something happened. This competition became about more than soup and — to quote the show of my adolescence — voters displayed “what happens when people stop being polite, and start being real.” This wasn’t a game anymore. It just got real.

After seeing the matchups play out in Day 3, it became clear that the Souper Bowl was less a competition mirroring a football championship and much closer to a full-scale international conflict. Much like the Cold War, this war on soup — the Hot War, if you will — isn’t violent, but it is extremely political, full of tension, and fully based on ideology and national pride.

In the first round, we were primarily focused on whether there would be upsets. In this past round, upsets took place (PHO LOST. OMG PHO LOST. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? OMG DID I JUST SAY “YOU PEOPLE”? I’M IN TROUBLE.) and most likely will in every round going forward, but seeds are no longer important. What is important, you ask?

Which empires are left.

In this worldwide battle, entire cultures have been wiped out. Italians (Minestrone, Italian Wedding) = ELIMINARE! Spaniards (Gazpacho) = HOLLER! Soups that lack a true home base or origin (Broccoli Cheddar, Cream of Mushroom, Butternut Squash), didn’t even stand a chance. In this international battle of attrition, who has made it to the Elite 8?

CHINA: Wonton, Hot and Sour
FRANCE: French Onion, Lobster Bisque
USA: Chicken Noodle, Clam Chowder
MEXICO: Tortilla
JAPAN: Ramen Noodle

or …

ASIA: Wonton/Hot and Sour/Ramen Noodle
EUROPE: French Onion/Lobster Bisque
AMERICAS: Chicken Noodle/Clam Chowder/Tortilla

This has officially gotten personal. If that’s not the type of thing you’re into, get out now, because it’s only getting more intense. This is so much bigger than soup. This is war.


  • (3) Wonton over (2) Corn Chowder — 4,269 votes to 2,152
  • (4) French Onion over (1) Pho — 3,862 votes to 2,726
  • (2) Hot and Sour over (3) Lentil — 4,202 votes to 2,030
  • (1) Tortilla over (5) Cream of Broccoli — 4,727 votes to 1,470
  • (2) Lobster Bisque over (6) Tomato — 3,841 votes to 2,712
  • (1) Ramen Noodle over (4) Potato Cheddar — 3,538 votes to 3,170
  • (2) Chicken Noodle over (3) Miso — 5,218 votes to 1,437
  • (1) Clam Chowder over (4) Potato Leek — 5,138 votes to 1,286
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Filed Under: Rembert Browne, The Souper Bowl

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert