Noodles and soup are more than fine on their own, but put them together and you have something much, much greater. If you don’t quite get what we mean, think of Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton - they’re worth mentioning as individuals, but together they created a TV show studded with essential life lessons and Von Dutch hats. Noodle soups are similarly soothing and even potentially influential. From phở and udon to matzo ball and tom yum, here’s a list of our favorite noodle soups in the city.
Tom Yum Noodle Soup
Saying that we’re “into” Thai Farm Kitchen’s tom yum noodle soup would be like saying we “recognize” Pharrell and Chad Hugo as a record producing duo. In other words, we cherish the day we became aware of this dish. Its amped up fish broth starts off sour, becomes spicy, and finishes off sweet like a dramedy series on HBO. There are a few large fish balls and lots of thin rice noodles soaking in this pool of bright flavor, and while we like the ground pork in it, you can also choose shrimp or chicken. No matter how close you live to this Kensington spot, this tom yum noodle soup should be on your bucket list for great NYC soup dishes.
Lemongrass Fish Noodle Soup
Unlike corner delis and 24-hour diners, there isn’t a Burmese restaurant in every NYC neighborhood. Along with Jackson Heights and Forest Hills, Crown Heights is one of the few exceptions to this rule, thanks to Rangoon. While we recommend a lot of other dishes on the menu here, order the lemongrass fish noodle soup on your first visit. It comes in a huge, ceramic bowl full of aromatic broth anchored by a giant, deep-fried onion fritter. It comes with a side of fish sauce and extra chili flakes to kick up the spice.
If you’re planning on spending time in Prospect Park, make eating the jerk ramen at Mo’s Original a part of your plan. This PLG spot smokes everything from the broth itself to the chicken they serve inside it, and it’ll make you dream up more Japanese-Caribbean mashup dishes. With its big sidewalk patio covered in vintage school chairs and wooden desks, Mo’s is the kind of small neighborhood spot where you’ll want to order “the regular” after your boss asks you to join a 6pm conference call.
You will feel like an extremely lucky person to be eating any of the five bowls of phở at Di An Di. But the beef phở at this Greenpoint spot is the one that keeps us coming back. It’s packed with tender brisket, noodles, an egg yolk, and handfuls of scallions, and could easily be shared with a group, if supplemented with other dishes. We recommend you hoard as much of it for yourself as you can.
Crossing The Bridge Noodles
As the name suggests, this place specializes in Yunnan food, specifically a Chinese soup called crossing the bridge noodles - a one-dish meal that’s one of our single favorite things to eat in Sunset Park. It arrives disassembled, with raw strips of beef or lamb, some vegetables, a heap of rice noodles, and a large bowl of extremely fragrant (and very hot) chicken broth to cook everything. Keep in mind that this place is takeout-only right now, so if you’re looking for a weeknight meal that doesn’t involve food from your freezer, consider your search complete.
Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Soup
If you live in Bushwick, you probably like that Little Mo is conveniently located just underneath the Myrtle Avenue-Broadway Station. But no matter where you receive packages, you should be coming to this Vietnamese restaurant for great chicken pho. The soup is essentially a deep pool of chicken broth and herbs that become one with the thin rice noodles. Order this on a day when the sun doesn’t shine, and you’ll feel like you did something right for once.
Bún Bò Hue
While we do enjoy the phở at this Sunset Park Vietnamese spot, the real MVP is the bún bò Huế. This soup is a little spicy and a little tangy, with some pork, thick noodles, and basil and lime to round things out. Thanh da is an extremely casual spot with a serious takeout operation, and you probably aren’t going to spend more than $20 on dinner here.
Special House Phở
The special house phở at 5ive Spice in Park Slope has four different kinds of beef, and this combination of meats is exactly what you need on a cold winter day. So whether you’ve tried it before or are willing to let your inner caveperson take over your body in the name of great noodle soup, you’ll probably find yourself ordering a bowl of this Vietnamese noodle soup in the near future.
Washugyu Curry Udon
When you’re wearing mittens in your apartment trying to figure out which window thinks it’s an overachieving A/C unit, go to Hanon and order the thick curry udon with tender washugyu beef. And while the pieces of meat in this dish are delicious, you’ll barely even notice them once you taste the thick, oniony broth that’ll make you long for sh*tty weather just for an excuse to drink it out of the bowl. There are so many udon variations at this Williamsburg Japanese spot that you can probably find one for each week of the year, which would be perfect because you’ll want to eat udon from this casual neighborhood restaurant weekly.
Kopitiam is a casual, Malaysian cafe that’s open from 11am-7pm every day (except Wednesday when it’s closed), which makes it a great spot to know about when you have lunch malaise. Our absolute favorite thing here is the pan mee, a soup with sweet anchovy broth that’s topped with salty, crispy anchovies. The light broth also has a bunch of other great things in it, like wide hand-pulled noodles, bits of pork, chopped spinach, and mushrooms.
The rich, porky broth at Ippudo is still one of the best bowls of noodle soup you’ll find in New York City. The original East Village location has absurdly long waits much of the time, but thankfully, they’re also offering ramen for takeout and local delivery right now. Whether you enjoy it on your couch at home, or want to dine-in at the restaurant, be sure you also get an order of pork buns.
Matzo Ball Soup With Noodles
It shouldn’t be difficult to find a good reason to eat matzo ball soup with noodles at 2nd Avenue Deli in Murray Hill or on the Upper East Side. The store-bought stuff just doesn’t compare. This soul-curing chicken soup comes with one huge matzo ball, sweet carrots, squared-off egg noodles, and fresh dill - a four-part harmony could make a barbershop quartet tremble.
Spicy Bún Bò Huế
The soup options at Saigon Social, a phenomenal Vietnamese spot on the Lower East Side, change fairly often. But if you see the spicy bún bò huế on the menu, and want something with a punch, get it. The beef bone broth will instantly open up your sinuses, and it’s typically served with two different proteins from a rotating selection that includes beef shank, Vietnamese mortadella, and pork terrine. In other words, this is a baller soup with the works inside, but if you’d rather something lighter, go with the pho gầuIt. Both of them travel really well, so keep this spot in mind for a delivery experience.
Spicy Beef Soup
The menu at Super Taste is very long, but this Chinatown spot specializes in hand-pulled noodles from Western China, and that’s exactly what you should be ordering here. The spicy beef soup is the best – it costs exactly $6.50 and comes in a salty and sour broth with a bunch of chili and herbs on top. Right now you’ll find a takeout window set-up, so if you don’t plan on picking up your food and taking it back to your apartment, find a nice bench or a patch of grass nearby.
Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup
If more places named themselves after the quality of their noodles, it would be harder to make dinner plans, but overall we’d be cool with it. Especially since the Taiwanese beef noodle soup at this Chelsea Market spot is worth crossing the Hudson River on a Citi Bike for. The combination of tender beef chunks and chewy, flat noodles make this dish one of the best things you can eat in the area, and for less than $15, you’ll get more than enough noodle soup for one.
Ding Ding Noodles With Spicy Cumin Lamb
At The Handpulled Noodle in Harlem, you can customize your own noodle soup, or throw all your trust into our favorite option, the spicy cumin lamb with ding ding noodles. And, really, there is no wrong answer. If you plan on making a delivery order, use the restaurant’s mobile app, and if you have trouble deciding which spice level to choose, keep in mind that “hot” is objectively much closer to a “medium” here.
Did you have a long day? Is it cold outside? Or, do you just really like soup? Get some thenthuk with beefy broth and plenty of hand-pulled noodles from Lhasa Fast Food in Jackson Heights. This tiny Tibetan restaurant hidden behind a cell phone store on 74th Street is great for a quick weeknight dinner involving your choice of lamb, chicken, beef, or pork in a peppery, sour broth that didn’t require you to “let simmer for 12 hours, stirring occasionally.”
Another great spot for Tibetan thenthuk in Jackson Heights is Phayul. The noodles in this dish are thick and chewy, and they come ripped into big square pieces. We prefer the beef, but you can also get this with chicken. If you’re going to try another soup here that doesn’t involve noodles, it should be the soup tsak sha la kor hot. The broth is just slightly creamy, with a little bit of spice from the dried chilies and Szechuan peppercorns, and it comes with a big pile of beef and radish.
For years, this casual neighborhood Vietnamese spot right under the 4 line on Jerome Ave has served pho with brisket, steak, tripe, and tendon. It’s some of the best in the Bronx, and they’re open for takeout and delivery right now. We like that their pho is sweet and salty enough on its own, and doesn’t need any hoisin. But if you do like the feeling of adding something to your bowl of noodle soup, make good use of the limes, mint, and jalapeño that come with every order.
Sopa de pollo
Jelisa’s Café is a Dominican bakery on Staten Island where you can stop to pick up a bowl of sopa de pollo, a hot soup full of short noodles, shredded chicken, carrots, potato, and cilantro. You can stop by their store for pick-up and eat at one of the seat-yourself tables outside, but you shouldn’t leave without trying a chicken or pernil empanada. If you’d rather be alone with your noodle soup and pastries, you can always place your order for takeout or delivery online.