I love noodle soup. If there’s one thing that I can eat all the time it has to be Asian noodle soup. I’m not too particular on which type. It’s a comfort food for me and I crave it year round. Every country in eastern and southeastern Asia has a noodle soup dish and I’ve been fortunate enough to try most of them. Woohoo!
I feel like the latest craze is Japanese ramen. It seems like there’s a ramen shop on every other street nowadays. I’m totally fine with that. I can remember a time when the closest thing to Japanese ramen that you could find in Dallas was instant noodles.
What is not to like about this little beauty. Japanese ramen looks pretty simple, doesn’t it? Most commonly a bowl of ramen will consist of noodles, dried seaweed, slices of meat and green onions. The toppings can vary by region, but that’s pretty much it. Even though it looks like there’s nothing to it, Japanese ramen is not that easy to make from scratch. The broth is what makes the dish and it’s a very involved process. Have you ever seen that indie film, The Ramen Girl? Making the best ramen is truly an art that takes a lot of practice.
If you haven’t seen The Ramen Girl you should totally check it out. It’s a hoot and one of my favorite films starring the late, Brittany Murphy.
Another popular noodle bowl has to be Vietnamese pho. This is another one where the broth is the main attraction. According to Wikipedia:
The broth for beef pho is generally made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, charred ginger and spices. For a more intense flavor, the bones may still have beef on them. Chicken bones also work and produce a similar broth. Seasonings can include Saigon cinnamon or other kinds of cinnamon as alternatives (may use usually in stick form, sometimes in powder form in pho restaurant franchises overseas), star anise, roasted ginger, roasted onion, black cardamom, coriander seed, fennel seed, and clove. The broth takes several hours to make.
The picture above shows a simple meatball pho. I didn’t want the usual ribeye, brisket and other meat slices. I have a Vietnamese friend who never makes her own pho. The broth alone can take all day to make. She says you can’t really make small batches of pho either. It’s way cheaper to just go and eat it at a restaurant.
I can remember the first time I ate pho. I didn’t know what all the fuss was about. It was really bland to me, because I had no idea you were supposed to add all the greens, lime juice, hoisin and Sriracha. I’m glad I got educated. I can’t live without pho!
I don’t think there’s an adult alive who doesn’t know wonton soup. This soup is on every Chinese restaurant’s menu. I think I can pretty much guarantee that. Each region of China has their own version of wontons. The picture above is from a Cantonese restaurant and this version is made with shrimp and minced pork. The Cantonese broth is typically made with pork bones but many regions use chicken broth. The Thai version is typically made with chicken broth. Clear broth is typical.
There are different ways to wrap your wontons as well. The style above is what’s common for wonton soup. Did you know that fried wontons is a dish that is found outside of China? Now potstickers are Chinese, but fried wontons with meat or cream cheese filling did not originate from the mainland.
My favorite way to have wonton soup is with the addition of egg noodles and roast duck!!! This is what’s called Roast Duck Wonton Noodle Soup. Like you couldn’t already tell. 🙂 Doesn’t that look gorgeous? This dish is a little hands on. Unless you are extremely dexterous with chopsticks you’re probably going to end up using your fingers to eat the duck, because they’re on the bone. If you are not a duck person you can order the Chinese BBQ pork wonton noodle soup instead. You can also go super simple and just get wontons and noodles.
Have I convinced you to try some of these noodle soups yet? If you haven’t had the pleasure you should definitely get on it!