1. Just store bought chicken broth is fine. Though of course, homemade would take this to another level!
2. To smash garlic cloves, just wack the side of your knife onto a garlic clove so it bursts open but remains mostly in one piece. This allows the flavour to seep into the soup and easily pick it out before serving. You could just mince the garlic using a garlic crusher but you'll have little bits of garlic visible in the broth, rather than being a clear clean broth.
3. Chinese cooking wine is a key ingredient to transform store bought chicken broth into a restaurant-quality soup broth. Dry Sherry is an excellent substitute. Otherwise, sake or mirin are adequate substitutes.
If you cannot use alcohol, I think the best sub is 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar and 1 tbsp of apple juice OR just 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar OR Verjuice.
4. Extra broth flavouring options: star anise, chilli paste or sriracha, scallions / shallots (just fold them).
5. Noodles: Use any you want, fresh or dried. Prepare them according to packet directions - do not add into the broth (it sucks up lots of the broth). I use thin fresh egg noodles (see photo in post), like this one
from Woolworths (Australia) which is what Chinese restaurants typically use.
But Hokkien (thin is better, but the fat one is ok too), Singapore Noodles and other egg noodles would also be fine, as well as any dried or fresh rice noodles.
6. Toppings: Cook proteins separately to keep things simple. My "go to" is shredded cooked chicken because I keep little bags in the freezer. Egg is also great - just whisk it lightly, pour it in and whisk to create egg "ribbons". Chinese BBQ Pork Slices is epic - but I never have leftovers.
For vegetables, I cut them and put them into the broth to cook. Put the vegetables that will take the longest to cook in the broth first, and delicate ones last.
REMEMBER: The vegetables will continue to cook while you are serving! So for example, I only add the buk choi 1 minute before taking it off the stove.
Veggie suggestions: Any Chinese veggies (bok choy, gain lan/Chinese broccoli, choi sum) cut into batons or quartered (if small) per photo, carrots sliced on the diagonal, scallions/shallots and bean sprouts are the toppings commonly found on Chinese noodle/ wonton soups.
But these veggies also go well (though not common in Chinese restaurants): zucchini (sliced), cabbage (thick slice), asparagus, broccoli / broccolini and cauliflower, or any other vegetable that can be boiled.
7. Nutrition is per serving, assuming 1/4 tsp of sesame oil is used. The nutrition can be substantially enhanced by adding more vegetables! Sodium reduces to 552mg per serving if low sodium soy sauce and chicken broth is used.