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 tom yum, to budae jjigae and birria ramen, here are some of our favorite noodle soups in Austin.
The Noodle Soups
Tan My Restaurant
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). Tan My is a takeout-only operation at the moment - even the noodles and the cubes of congealed pork blood cubes are packed separately.
Located in the Crescent Shopping Center off Airport Blvd, 101 by Tea Haus is a fast-casual Asian/American spot that serves things like kimchi fried rice, Japanese curries, bulgogi tots, boba tea, one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in town, and Taiwanese beef noodle soup that we love. The soup is simple and well executed - with braised beef, carrots, bok choy, and noodles - but then there’s the complex beef broth, flavored with cinnamon, star anise, chiles, and rock sugar, that keeps us coming back for more.
1618 Asian Fusion
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 three Austin locations. The lines are on-hold currently - although their East 6th shop is currently accepting patio diners at their adjoining sister restaurant, Domo Alley Gato - but they’ve started offering takeout for the first ever, which means you never have to be more than a short drive away from some great ramen. 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.
At Xian Sushi and Noodles, 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 - Mueller, Lakeline, The Domain, and San Marcos.
TC Noodle House
The longtime TC Noodle House in the Chinatown shopping center is a Teochew-focused restaurant that blends Chinese and Vietnamese-style dishes. You can pick which noodles you want in the soups - we like the wonton and shrimp soup with chewy egg noodles. And we’re also really into bone-in curry duck soup with the broad rice noodles - it’s got a rich and spicy curry-infused broth and tender braised pieces of duck. Just heed the warning that they are, in fact, bone-in.
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. And while you can dine on their super chill patio, they’ve recently added meal kits to their takeout menu, including one for budae-jjigae, aka army base stew (OK fine, this isn’t technically a soup but it’s pretty close). It’s got everything you need to make a feast at home, including bone broth, sausage, spam, kimchi, gochujang, tofu, sweet potato noodles, ramen, rice cakes, a slice of American cheese, and more. It also comes with six different banchan and a mountain of rice - it’s enough to easily feed four.
Austin has no shortage of great pho options, and one of our recent favorites happens to also be one of the newest. Sip Pho - from the team behind Pho Please - opened up near UT just a few short weeks before the world shut down. They’ve since reopened their beautiful and minimalist dining room to guests, but continue to offer takeout and delivery as well. 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 Flinstones. They make a really tasty banh mi as well, if you’re not feeling particularly brothy (it’s a new mood).
You might have heard about Ramen 512 and their often sold out popups - yes, the ramen was that good. But now they’ve found a permanent home, inside the new “cloud kitchen” concept Kitchen United Mix on Burnet Road. Most of the ramen here starts with a rich, tonkotsu broth base, but there are occasional specials like a brothless summer mazesoba. We usually go with the classic, but we also really like the Sunset Red (spicy) and the BGO (black garlic oil) varieties. You can order the ramen ready-to-eat, or you can cook the noodles at home, with very precise instructions. Takeout and delivery are available.
We are fans of the quesabirria tacos at Jamie’s Barbecue And Mini Tacos in South Austin, and they’ve recently added birria ramen to their menu. As is the burgeoning trend these days, they use a Tapatio Ramen Noodle Soup cup and add in their bright and rich consomé and birria beef, resulting in a soup that is greater than the sum of its parts, especially when you hit it with some lime. Just make sure to order the extra spicy cup.
When the temperature outside finally drops into pants-wearing territory, we go to Sap’s Ver Fine Thai Cuisine on Burnet Road 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.”
We’re always impressed whenever we order food from the newish 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 perhap 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
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.
In a strip mall at the corner of Braker and Lamar, you will find Pho Dan, one of the best pho spots in town. Recently, we ordered the photái bò viên, a rice noodle beef soup with rare eye-round steak and meatballs, as well as the phở ga, a rice noodle chicken soup with white and dark meat. Both of the broths were distinct and deeply flavorful, the kinds that will have you drinking from the bowl. Be warned: a small portion is more than enough for one person, with a very generous amount of noodles.
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.
Saigon Le Vendeur
Saigon Le Vendeur - best known for their banh mi and vermicelli bowls - recently brought back their popular curry ramen, just in time for soup season. The broth here has a healthy amount of coconut milk and curry, and the basil on top adds some nice aromatics that work really well with the rest of the flavors. We had it with prawns on a recent visit, but you can also get it topped with chashu, chicken, or tofu. You should also throw in a banh mi while you’re here. We know that’s not really noodles or soup, but theirs is good enough to transcend culinary boundaries. They’re located on East 7th.
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.