One of my favorite soups is hot and sour. To my wife and me, if a Chinese restaurant doesn't have a good H&S soup, we don't continue to go there. We don't want it overly "authentic' (made with fish stock and no sweetness at all) so in that sense, a slightly westerized version (with a bit of seetness and a chicken base) are what we seek. Some of my favorites are:
Stix in Laguna Niguel, CA. (We used to live here.) This is almost like a chinese gumbo, with a plethora of large shrimp. There now are a bunch of "Pick Up Stix" carry out places in SoCal and NV at least, but I don't know how their soup compares. But at the original Stix, the H&S is the best.
Mandarin Gourmet - Costa Mesa, CA - This ranks a close second to Stix in the OC area, in our opinions.
Mandarin Cove - Portland, OR - This is on a par with that served at Mandarin Gourmet in Costa Mesa, CA.
A place in the Portland area which has gone down hill, in our view, is Canyon Pearl in Beaverton. This place used to have great H&S, as well as outstanding other dishes. But, there must have been a chef change.
Shanghai Garden - Issaquah, WA (near Seattle). We currently live here and were so happy to "find" this place several years ago. The H&S may rank second to that served at Stix, in our view.
What are the favorites of others?