The best part of the Top Chef Season 10’s heart-wrenching Restaurant Wars was Sheldon Simeon. He dug into his Filipino roots for Restaurant Herbano, named after his grandfather, and concocted a sour tamarind soup with pork belly, shrimp, and fish to win the elimination challenge.

I didn’t really know anything about tamarinds. It’s a date-like fruit native to tropical Africa but grown all over the world. Wikipedia tell me that it’s used in everything from candy and soda to soup and curry as well as in traditional medicine, the wood is used in in furniture-making, and lemurs eat the leaves. Quite a versatile fruit. Here’s a nice photo of a ripe tamarind cut open to reveal the pasty fruit from

Ripe tamarind, photo from

Here is Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio demonstrating how to make that winning soup in this Top Recipe video:

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