Where To Find The Best Noodle Soups in NYC
As soon as the weather gets chilly, I consume hot liquids en masse, moving seamlessly from my morning coffee to lunchtime soup to afternoon tea and back again. Nothing comforts me more on a brisk, New York day then a huge bowl of hearty broth with all the fixins, and a lot of slippery noodles to fortify that winter body we're all working towards. JK. But not really. Surprisingly, it’s not easy to find an amazing noodle soup, probably because you’ve got so many elements to account for. The broth has gotta be homemade, and rich, fatty, satisfying. The vegetables can’t be overcooked, so timing is of the essence. Noodles must be squishy, but not bloated and never left in the broth for too long. Hungry yet? Have a look at my recommendations and get yourself a bowl ASAP.
#1: Curry Laksa at Laut
My lunchtime go-to is an incredibly luscious bowl of Malaysian coconut/chicken broth that is creamy, sweet and rather spicy. I always order my bowl with flat broad noodles, but you can choose thin rice or egg noodles if you prefer. You also get to pick a protein, but I go for tofu + veggies because they always manage to have perfectly crisp green snowpeas + broccoli... my fave! The best part of this whole thing is the fried tofu that comes on top. It's seriously puzzling how they get it to be so light and airy, while remaining crisp on the outside. P.S This soup is $11.95 on a lunch special and Laut has a Michelin star SOOOOO need I say more?
#2 Spicy Cumin Lamb Hand Pulled Noodles at Xi'an Famous Foods
One time, my brother and I attempted to make hand-pulled noodles at home and my god the amount of effort this herculean task takes. We spent all day working on our dough, covering my apartment in a flurry of flour, and losing my old t-shirts in the process. RIP to the shirt my grandparents brought me back from Jamaica that said: “My Grandma Went To Jamaica And All I Got Was This Stupid Shirt.” LOL. The noodles are beyond perfect and the lamb is lick-your-lips good. Save this soup for a day when you really need a fire in your belly as it is SPICY. They douse it in fiery chili oil, and you best be prepared to park your butt down and eat immediately. Go solo, this way you don't have to make small talk while devouring this delicacy.
#3 Ramen at Minca Ramen
Only go here when you've got some time to spare, as you'll probably need to wait. But don't fret. Your ramen will be worth the wait, I promise. Get the Minca with half pork broth, and half chicken broth. MMMM. My brother who is fluent in Japanese and lived in Kyoto said this is the closest to Japanese ramen he has had in NYC. I don’t take that lightly- neither should you.
#4 Pho at Saigon Shack
I have a soft spot for Saigon Shack because it's located in the heart of Greenwich Village, which always reminds me of my days at my NYU. Similar to Minca, there is always a wait to sit down, but the line moves quickly. You'll get a hearty portion of meat in your soup, with various cuts of beef (depending on what you choose.) I love the thinly sliced tenderloin so I always ask for extra! Be prepared to drink like 700 cups of water as you slurp.
#5 Lagman at Cafe Kashkar
I grew up in Manhattan Beach, which is WAY south in Brooklyn. It's right near Brighton Beach. Have you've heard of it's outlandish restaurants and unique grocery stores? Just a few blocks from my childhood home is Kashkar (I just texted my brother we have to go there this week), a restaurant serving up authentic Uzbeki food. It's cozy, and the servers are kind and eager to please. The lagman soup tastes like it was made by a grandmother, but one with 50 years of experience making it. The noodles are thick, chewy, and handmade. The hunks of meat are fork-tender, and the hot potatoes fill your belly in a way that just reminds me of home. Worth the shlep. And if you’re in the area, stop by Stolle Bakery too. Their mushroom pie is out of this world good. You can buy a slice or a whole pie to bring home. I recommend the latter. Obviously.