There’s More to Life Than Ramen: 7 Soul-Warming Noodle Bowls You Need to Try
By now, all New Yorkers know where to get a good bowl of ramen. But the city’s noodle soup scene is far too diverse not to branch out from the same old tonkotsu (and we’re not just talking about pho, either). As the temperatures finally start to dip, here are seven slurp-worthy varieties to add to your rotation.
While bubbling crocks of mixian—thin, spaghetti-shaped rice noodles from China’s Yunnan province—are rich, they won’t leave you in the same full-blown salt coma as ramen. Garnishes such as housemade pickles, fermented vegetables and fresh herbs also help add bright bursts of flavor.
Where to get it: Little Tong Noodle Shop
Not all Thai food packs a spicy punch—take, for example, this northern noodle soup, formed from a mild curry-and-coconut base and tangle of flat egg noodles. It’s finished with pickled greens; tender fall-apart chicken and; for crunch, crispy noodles.
Where to get it: Uncle Boons
Bun Bo Hue
Move over, pho—there’s another Vietnamese noodle soup to savor. Hailing from the old imperial city of Hue, this bowl is also made with beef, but that’s where the resemblance ends. Bun bo hue has a broth that’s spiked with lemongrass and spice (hence its fiery red color) and thicker noodles that are even better for slurping.
Where to get it: Madame Vo
Laksa recipes vary by region—it’s a staple in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore—but it’s typically separated into two categories: The coconut-infused curry or fish- and tamarind-based asam. In New York, you’re likelier to encounter the former, which gets its alluring fragrance from spices like lemongrass, turmeric and anise, and creamy texture from coconut milk.
Where to get in: Chomp Chomp
Boat Noodles (Kuai Tiao Ruea)
True to its name, this dish originated from vessels floating in Bangkok’s old canal system. While the water network was eventually replaced by roads, one delicious thing survived: Kuai tiao ruea, a complex noodle soup featuring a pork- or beef-based broth, Thai basil and fried pork skin.
Where to get it: Pye Boat Noodle
An Uzbek specialty, lagman is available as a stir-fry, but on a blustery cold night, you want the hand-pulled strands in the aromatic lamb soup.
Where to get it: Kashkar Cafe
Ramen may get most of the attention when it comes to Japanese noodle soups, but New York City’s undergone a bit of an udon renaissance as of late, thanks to the opening of specialists like Tsurutontan and Raku. The bouncy wheat noodles have more of a satisfying chew, while broths can range from a simple clear dashi (a stock typically made from seaweed and dried fish) to more decadent curries.
Where to get it: Oka