Dsomers - funny you should post this, because I'm sitting here eating some right at this moment. It's my current food obsession. I've made it twice in the past week.
I can't suggest where to get some in Ballard, but can pass along the easy, delicious recipe that I used to make the stuff I'm currently eating. It doesn't take long at all to make. Here's the recipe I used, with modifications noted:
4 dried Chinese fungi (about 1 ounce) (*I used a small package of dried shitake mushrooms)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon red chile paste, such as sambal oelek
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots, sliced
1/4 pound barbecued pork, shredded (*I left this out)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar (*Used plain old white vinegar, which I think tastes better in this recipe)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (*Used black pepper)
2 quarts chicken stock
1 square firm tofu, drained and sliced in 1/4-inch strips (*I used tofu shirataki noodles)
3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
1 large egg, lightly beaten (*I used 3 eggs, since I left out the meat)
Chopped green onions and cilantro leaves, for garnish
Put the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes to reconstitute. Drain and rinse; discard any hard clusters in the centers and slice.
Heat the oil in a wok or large pot over medium-high flame. Add the ginger, chili paste, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and pork; cook and stir for 1 minute to infuse the flavor. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl, pour it into the wok and toss everything together - it should smell really fragrant. Pour in the Chinese Chicken Stock, bring the soup to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir until smooth. Mix the slurry into the soup and continue to simmer until the soup thickens. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in 1 direction to get a current going, then stop stirring. Slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a steady stream and watch it spin around and feather in the broth (it should be cooked almost immediately.) Garnish the hot and sour soup with chopped green onions and cilantro before serving.