Our Favorite Hot Noodle Soups

Savory, slurpable soups we love from the International District and beyond.
Allison Austin Scheff  |   January 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
asian noodle soups at seattle restaurants

[Chinese]
Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup

@ Szechuan Noodle Bowl
This incredibly spicy broth is tinted a deep reddish-brown, its chile heat sure to clear your sinuses. And with beef that’s braised to an impossibly tender finish, ropey house-made noodles and firm bok choy for a hit of vitamin C, this is a soup we return to again and again. ($6.50)

[Chinese]
Wonton and Sui Kau Soup

@ Mike’s Noodle House
When nothing but a hot broth and tender wonton soup will cure what ails us, we stop in to huddle over a bowl of this deeply satisfying soup. The wontons (filled with shrimp and pork) here are tender and thin-skinned: just right. So, too, the sui kau (larger dumplings with mushroom and bamboo), filled with shrimp and pork. A little chili sauce, a little touch of vinegar: perfection. ($7.05)

[Vietnamese]
Oxtail Pho

@ Ba Bar
At Ba Bar, it’s all about the beef broth, heady with star anise, basil, cilantro and slivered onions, but deep and layered, too. The braised oxtail meat is unctuous, the rice noodles slippery but just a touch firm. Extra care is taken at every step at this Capitol Hill restaurant, and the taste (and price) reflects it. ($11)

[Japanese]
Shoyu Ramen Special

@ Tsukushinbo
Every Friday at 11:15 a.m., folks begin lining up, waiting for the doors of this Japantown hideaway to open (11:45 sharp). The place fills fast, and almost everyone orders the ramen special (only served on Fridays): chicken- and pork-based broth with soy-sauce-flavored ramen noodles, a slice of falling-apart-tender pork, fish cake, bamboo, spinach, scallions and seaweed. Even better: Three fried house-made gyoza and rice arrive first. ($8.50)

[Japanese]
Tonkatsu Ramen

@ Samurai Noodle
Oh, the wonders of Samurai Noodle’s rich and fatty pork broth. As is, it’s a wonderful stomach-warming soup, topped with a slice of the tasty roasted pork, mushrooms, onions and thin wheat noodles (ask for them al dente). But opt for the Samurai Armor add-on (extra pork, mushrooms, roasted seaweed and one of the outstanding soy-flavored eggs, for $4.50 more) or Tonkatsu from Hell, with enough heat from the house-made chile bean paste to kick that cold out of you. In the University District and the Chinatown-ID. ($7.25)

[Vietnamese]
Pho with Round Steak

@ Pho Bac
Pho Bac serves up the classic, a beginner’s pho. A wide bowl of aromatic beef broth, thin rice noodles, slivers of green and white onion, and shaved round steak, which is plunked into the hot broth right before it comes to your table; the meat cooks to a tender finish in the broth. Add jalapeños, Thai basil, a squeeze of lime to customize it until it’s just right. ($5.50)

[Japanese]
Nabeyaki Udon

@ Izumi
When the bamboo lid is lifted from the iron hot pot in which the soup arrives, a smoky scent wafts up; thick wheat noodles, shiitake mushrooms, green onions and a couple of tempura shrimp lie in the clear broth. Hunt for the gently poached egg; when stirred, it creates a lovely creaminess in the broth. It’s one intoxicating bowl of noodle soup at this Kirkland spot. ($10.50)

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