The Best Noodle Soups In Austin

Noodles and broth can make your day, and sometimes change your life.
The Best Noodle Soups In Austin image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Noodles and soup are great on their own, but bring them together, and you have something greater than the sum of its parts—with the combined soothing effects of a weighted blanket, a flickering candle, and David Attenborough’s voice calmly narrating you through a visual journey of some place you’ve never heard of. Now crank down the outside temperature, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect food. From pho and ramen, to budae jjigae and bún bò Huế, here are some of our favorite noodle soups in Austin.


photo credit: Holly Dirks


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The Vietnamese spot Tan My, off of Research Blvd, is probably best known for their pho, and it’s definitely our favorite place to get a bowl of bún bò Huế. The fiery orange-red broth is bright, rich, and spicy—it’s exactly what we crave when the temps cool off and it becomes sweater weather (sometimes we just crank up the AC and pretend).

The menu at 1618 focuses on a wide range of flavors—citing Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Singaporean, and Southeast Asian influences in its dishes. That means you’ll see everything from tom yum and papaya salad, to pho and peking duck. We usually go with the hu tieu here—in part because it’s one of a handful of places in Austin you can get it, but also because the warm and savory, slightly-sweet pork-based broth with rice noodles is satisfying enough on a cold night that you’ll forget you’re wearing four pairs of socks. They’re located near the South Shore District on East Riverside.

No list of noodle soups in Austin would be complete without a mention of Ramen Tatsu-Ya. They were one of the first options for ramen in Austin back when they opened up in 2012, and their popularity has only increased, as you can see from the ever-present line snaking down the sidewalk at any one of their many Austin locations—including North Austin, East Austin, on South Lamar, and near Slaughter Lane. They’re best known for their ultra-creamy tonkotsu broth—with soy sauce, miso, and spicy miso varieties—but they also do a really great chicken-broth ramen (Ol’ Skool) for when you want (or need) something just a little bit lighter.

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The Best Ramen In Austin

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We’re only aware of a handful of places in town to get curry laksa—a spicy, shrimp or chicken-based soup with lots of lemongrass and coconut milk—but our favorite has to be from Wee’s, a Malaysian restaurant operating out of a mini grocery store Downtown. The broth here is just thick enough to coat the spaghetti-sized egg noodles, but not too thick for sipping in between bites. It’s creamy, spicy, and everything we want in a bowl of noodle soup.

Yeni’s Fusion, the Indonesian trailer at The Aristocrat Lounge in Brentwood, serves up some phenomenal food, including the bakmi ayam, aka an egg noodle soup with ground chicken and some incredibly tender meatballs. Here the soup comes with bok choy, scallions, and lime. The broth is rich and deeply flavorful, a warming experience not entirely unlike when Kramer on Seinfeld put his clothes in the dryer and wore them right away.

At Xian Sushi and Noodle, the name of the game is, well, sushi and noodles. And they do both very well. The noodles here are all hand-pulled—a very entertaining sight to see when you walk in the door—and come in six varying thicknesses on a scale from “vermicelli” to “triangle.” And if you think that’s a lot of options, just wait until you see the different preparations. There’s red-braised beef noodles, shoyu ramen, tom yum chicken noodle soup, and more. The best part? There’s no bad choice, though the red braised beef noodles and the beef hand-pulled noodle soups are especially good. They have a few locations in the Austin area, including Mueller, The Domain, Round Rock, and San Marcos.

Tucked away in a North Austin strip mall is Pho Phong Lu'u—home to some of the best pho in Austin. Expect a wait during lunch hours on the weekends, where the crowds lining the sidewalk almost start to outnumber the folks inside. Don’t worry, it moves fast. We also really like that they open at 10am—because sometimes there’s no better way to start your morning than with a hot bowl of pho.

Inside the food court at the grocery store Hana World Market in North Austin, Ramen Del Barrio is slinging out some of the most inventive Mexican-Japanese fusion dishes we’ve come across. Hardcore mole fans will enjoy plunging thick tsukemen noodles into a bowl of rich, chocolatey broth, but the star of the show here is the carnitas tonkotsu bowl. The broth has all the creaminess of an excellent bowl of tonkotsu, plus tender chunks of slow-cooked pork belly and buche. Squeeze a lime over it all and it’s like eating the taco-ramen hybrid we never knew we needed.

There aren’t a ton of places downtown to get a hot bowl of noodles on a chilly Austin afternoon, but when the craving (and the weather) strikes, we like to head to Little Wu in the Fareground food hall. It’s from the folks that run Wu Chow (but it’s littler), featuring the same popular soup dumplings plus lamian Chinese noodle bowls. Get the Sichuan red braised beef lamian bowl—with long, pulled wheat flour noodles—and we can pretty much guarantee you’ll forget about the cold walk back to the office.

Korea House has been dishing out classic Korean food—like japchae, bibimbap, and bulgogi—in the Village Shopping Center on West Anderson and Burnet Road for over 30 years. But our favorite thing to get here is their budae-jjigae, aka army base stew (OK fine, this isn’t technically a soup but it’s pretty close). It’s a giant pot of bone broth, sausage, spam, kimchi, gochujang, tofu, sweet potato noodles, ramen, rice cakes, a slice of American cheese, and more. It also comes with a few different banchan and a mountain of rice—it’s enough to easily feed four.

Sip Pho—from the team behind Pho Please—offers great pho options in a beautiful and minimalist dining room and patio. The beef pho comes with all the classic options—like rare steak, brisket, tendon, and tripe—or you can get a bowl with a full beef short rib and feel like you’re in an episode of The Flintstones. They make a really tasty banh mi as well, if you’re not feeling particularly brothy.

There aren’t a lot of things that motivate us to make the drive from Central Austin to Cedar Park, which is what puts a meal at Ramen512 and a Spurs game at the H-E-B Center in very unique company. This is ramen at its best—nearly every component is expertly made in-house—with bowls composed beautifully enough to make even the ramen emoji jealous. There are a lot of ramen styles here, so whether you’re doing a tonkotsu tasting tour of Austin or just in the mood for a delicate chicken-and-dashi shoyu bowl, you have a reason to make the trip, too.

When we try to wear a lot of hats, we just come across looking silly, but 888 on East Oltorf manages to pull it off seamlessly. The menu is huge, spanning everything from Thai curries and chicken satay, to pho and fried rice. But when we come here, we usually go straight for the aptly labeled “Noodle Soup” section with a range of toppings and noodle types (egg or rice), in a light chicken and shrimp broth. There aren’t really any wrong combos here, but we’re especially fond of the egg noodles with roast duck.

When the temperature outside finally drops into pants-wearing territory, we go to Sap’s Fine Thai Cuisine on West Gate Boulevard for noodle soup. We like the Kao Soi, the deeply flavorful red curry soup with egg noodles, and the Guay Teaw Tom Yum Moo, their excellent pork broth-based noodle soup. Also, when you see something on a menu called “amazing green beans,” you can’t not order it. Just trust them when they say it’s “Spicy Level 4.”

Parked in a tiny alleyway in West Campus, Chef Hong is a food trailer dishing out excellent renditions of Xi’an Chinese regional specialties, from chow mein and wonton soup to liangpi and roujiamo. As soon as the temps drop below 85°, we find ourselves craving the beef noodle soup, packed full of thick-cut, handmade noodles and a rich, savory broth that we usually can’t help but drink straight from the take-out container. Just know that this is entirely a to-go situation, so plan to bring this home, or position yourself on a nearby park bench and try not to burn yourself with delicious, hot soup like we have in the past.

We’re always impressed whenever we order food from the Sichuan restaurant House Of Three Gorges. We’re powerless to not order the eggplant, and we really like their “Sauerkraut Vermicelli Soup.” The name is perhaps a little lost in translation—it’s pickled mustard greens and bok choy (and not actual sauerkraut). The broth is heavy with ginger, the rice noodles are delicate, and the portion size is pretty big.

Chen’s Noodle House in North Austin may be simple inside and out, but the spicy beef noodle soup is outstanding, the kind of soup that you willingly travel long distances for (or just order it with Favor, it travels very well). The broth is rich and spicy, with a tangle of hand-cut noodles and tender beef. You should also think about ordering the leek pie, the lamb skewer, and/or the spicy lamb bun, as you will not regret it.

Julie’s Noodles is perhaps best known for their handmade noodles—it’s in their name after all. We’re big fans of the soups here, especially the spicy beef suan tsai noodle soup with the pickled greens. While the soup is spicy on its own, make sure to ask for extra homemade chili oil for the full mala experience. Find them in a strip mall on Research Boulevard alongside a location of Ramen Tatsu-ya, another spot on this guide.

Most people probably know Chosun Galbi for their Korean barbecue—with tabletop grills, banchan, and the works. But they also have a pretty robust menu of soups and stews, from brothy, beef based soups to an assortment of soon doo boo packed full of soft tofu. We really liked the dduk bae ki bulgogi here—it’s a lighter beef broth packed full of slightly-sweet bulgogi and a few glass noodles. This is definitely a more meat-heavy soup—with just enough noodles to meet our cutoff. They’re located in the Highland neighborhood, right near The Linc.

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