Souper Bowls

A steaming roundup of the best dishes at our favorite Texas noodle houses.
Photograph by Adam Voorhes

Austin

Shoyu Ramen  Daruma Ramen
Made from tapioca, Daruma’s noodles are outstandingly springy. This broth is chicken-based, and the shoyu (traditional Japanese soy sauce) is augmented with a slice of a pink-and-white fish cake, giving it a clean salinity. There’s even a veggie option. 612-B E. 6th (512-369-3897).  darumaramen.com

Beef Noodle Soup  Julie’s Handmade Noodles
Other northern Chinese places in town also do hand-pulled noodles, but Julie’s are nice and chewy and on the rustic side; adding chile sauce gives this soup magical powers. Get in line along with famished students from UT—Julie’s trailer is on campus. 2512 Rio Grande (646-508-3308). 

Tonkotsu Ramen  Ramen Tatsu-ya
This is hands down the city’s primo noodle house, with the best chashu (simmered pork) and the most intense broth. The noodles, imported from Los Angeles, don’t get soggy, and the ajitama egg is heavenly. Just looking at a bowlful adds an inch to your waistline. 8557 Research Blvd, Ste 126 (no phone).  ramen-tatsuya.com

Dallas

Japchae Koryo Kalbi Korean BBQ
The revelation known as japchae stars thin glassy strands of sweet potato noodles tangled with small, tender slices of Angus short rib and brightened with broccoli rabe, green onion, yellow onion, red bell pepper, and carrots. 2560 Royal Ln, Ste 105 (972-406-0087).  koryobbq.com

Brisket and Rare Steak Pho  Miss Chi
The owner’s family comes from the Vietnamese city of Hue, and hints of home cooking abound in the pho, with a ginger-and-anise-tinged beef base simmered for 24 hours, then filled with tender brisket and rare steak, along with the customary rice stick noodles. A squeeze of lime makes it perfect. 6030 Luther Ln, Ste 130 (214-692-1000).  misschivietnamese.com

Nabeyaki Udon  Sushi Robata
Served in a searing-hot metal bowl (consider yourself warned), the fragrant, earthy blend offers especially silken, plump noodles in a bonito fish broth filled with stout shiitake mushrooms, shrimp tempura, sliced chicken, and egg. 4727 Frankford Rd, Ste 313 (972-930-9428).  sushirobatadallas.com

Fort Worth

Barbecue Pork and Wonton Noodle Soup  First Chinese BBQ
The deep, wide, steaming bowl of barbecue pork and wonton noodle soup takes its richness from the slow-cooked pork and its decadence from chubby, tender dumplings filled with ground pork. Chopped green onion cuts the density, as does an added dollop of jam-like red chile sauce. 2214 S. Collins, Arlington (817-469-8876).  firstchinesebbq.com

Soba With Lobster  Temaki 
Satiny, almost sweet tendrils of coffee-colored soba noodles wind around morsels of lobster tail, slivers of red and yellow bell pepper, and shiitakes, enlivened by slices of green onion. The ingredients seem simple; the depth of flavors surprises. 1504 W. Magnolia Ave (817-810-0438).  sushionmagnolia.com

Hokkaido-Style Ramen  Tokyo Cafe
In this Japanese soup’s pork-and-miso base floats an ethereal combination of soft-shell crab, pork belly, fried garlic chips, corn, and fried Thai chiles, all blending to create lively sediment at the bottom of the bowl. To waste it would be a sin. 5121 Pershing Ave (817-737-8568).  tokyocafefw.com

Houston

Jjam Pong Kalguksu   Korea Noodle House
A fiery-red broth made with a base of anchovies, kelp, and mushrooms provides a spicy backdrop for the hand-cut wheat-flour noodles heaped in the bowl. Whole shrimp and mussels add more notes of the sea, while cabbage, green onion, and leeks lend a gratifying crunch. 1415 Murray Bay  (713-463-8870).

Bone Marrow Pho  Pho Binh by Night
The signature broth that makes pho so comforting derives its profound flavor from a stock made from marrow-laden beef bones and aromatics like star anise and cloves. Not rich enough for you? This Chinatown outpost of the venerable Pho Binh franchise will provide a side of extracted bone marrow. 12148 Bellaire Blvd (832-351-2464).  phobinh.com

Spicy Miso Ramen  Soma Sushi
Broth flavored with Japanese miso is a relatively new development in the ramen-verse, with results that are lighter but quite savory. The usual thick strips of pork belly still lurk below, along with bites of shiitake and enoki mushrooms, spinach, and wakame (seaweed). 4820 Washington Ave  (713-861-2726). somasushi.com

San Antonio 

Jam Pong  Ilsong Garden
Owner Young Cacy makes this soup to order, beginning with sesame seed oil warmed in a pan with chiles and garlic. Then the broth is added and built up with fresh vegetables and kimchi, plus mussels, squid, octopus, scallops, fish cake, and shrimp. For the finishing touch, it’s loaded with Korean noodles and garnished with green onion. 6905 Blanco Rd (210-366-4508). ilsonggarden.com

Miso Ramen  Kimura Ramen Restaurant
A robust miso-based broth, cradling ramen and unusually tasty shiitake mushrooms, provides umami to the max. A soft-boiled egg and chunk or two of kamaboko (fish cake) amp up the texture and color, and an extra $4 for a slab of grilled pork is money well spent. 152 E. Pecan, Ste 102 (210-444-0702).

Pho Dac Biet  Pho Nguyen
The fat that glistens on the surface of the beef broth of this loaded Vietnamese bowl is a sign you’re in for something special—it adds fullness to each spoonful. Balancing it out are paper-thin slivers of tangy raw onion. But the main attraction, besides the rice noodles, is meat, including flank and round steak, brisket, tendon, tripe, and meatballs. 18140 U.S. 281 N (210-402-1533).

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...

Most Read

  • Viewed
  • Past:
  • 1 week