Now that winter is upon us, who isn’t up for a bowl of warm soup? And while chicken noodle soup is always a favorite of mine, have you ever tried some popular international soups like pho, ramen and more? Well my friend, you’ve got some great ethnic soup options in the area so if you’re ready to slurp and chow down with some chopsticks. Let’s check out some of my favorite noodle soups: Chinese beef noodle soup, Japanese ramen and the ever popular, Vietnamese pho!
Chinese beef noodle soup is a popular cold weather dish that my mom would make from time to time and I’ve even been able to replicate the dish at home. It’s a basic beef broth spiced up with anise, soy, chiles and more. An inexpensive beef cut like chuck or shank is stewed in it for hours to bring it to a tender and soft braise.
Served over some thick wheat noodles and some baby greens like bok choy, it’s a heart-warming meal full of textures and flavor. It’s not a common dish on menus in the Triangle but the one place you can order it is at Grand Asia Market where it’s served in a thick, steaming ceramic bowl. Just beware that it’s a bit messy as you slurp, don’t wear a white shirt if you’re ordering this noodle bowl!
Another favorite Asian noodle soup is the well-known Japanese ramen! In major cities, ramen is a popular dining option with ramen noodle houses springing up on the landscape. I even got the chance to try one of the best in the country, Ippudo located in NYC. But out in the Triangle you’ve got very limited options. Currently Sono in Raleigh has it on their menu and the recently opened Dashi in Durham is dedicated to ramen and online reviews have been decent. And I do know that several other old-school Japanese/sushi restaurants may have it on the menu like Kashin in Cary.
So why all the fuss about ramen? Just open up one of those plastic packages, dump the noodles in along with a sachet of salt and spices, right? Well real Japanese ramen is a long and tedious process of making the perfect broth and then pairing it with delicious freshly-made thin noodles, sliced pork, a poached egg and other condiments dependent on the ramen style. You get savory, soft, crunchy and more in one bowl, yum…
One of my favorite healthy soups is the popular Vietnamese pho which is thankfully, easier to find in this area! Probably my favorite spot for pho is Pho Far East up on Capital Boulevard. Choose from 6 or 8 different types of beef pho which means different cuts of meat ranging from brisket, flank, ribeye, tendons, meatballs and more. Pho Far East also does chicken and seafood pho but I consider those options to be a bit untraditional.
Order some pho and you’ll get a large bowl of steaming soup! Thin white vermicelli noodles at the bottom, scented and spiced broth with thin slices of quickly cooking meat. Anise, cinnamon and more creates a flavorful broth and you’re given a plate of jalapenos, thai basil, lime and more to bling it out to your heart’s content. There’s nothing like tucking into a great bowl of pho on a cold day, it’s like coming home…
So there you go, some great options to slurp up some noodles when you’re tired of opening up that little red and white Campbell’s can. With the recent opening and popularity of Dashi, it looks like the Triangle is ready to slurp it up! All you need are some chopsticks, a soup spoon and you’ll be good to go. Stay warm out there…
Asian Soups in the Triangle
Grand Asia Market– Chinese Beef Noodle Soup
SONO and Dashi- Japanese Ramen
Pho Far East– Vietnamese Pho