Four Seasonal Noodle-Soup Bowls in Boston

Pho was just the beginning. These days, your noodle fix might come with tender lo mein, aromatic-laden broth, or a side of schmaltz. Here’s how Boston chefs are turning their love of ramen, udon, and even Indonesian soto into the ultimate seasonal pick-me-up.
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Photograph by Jim Brueckner

Little Big Diner

Looking for a creative respite from his everyday bistro repertoire, chef Dave Punch (Sycamore) traveled to New York and ate his way through the menus of Ippudo and the Michelin-starred Uncle Boon’s. Punch’s inspired bout of R & D resulted in this steamy sliver of a restaurant, launched in January. Here, he explores the full range of Asian comfort food (tuna poke, ssamjang wings), including noodle bowls like this paitan ramen brimming with shaved cabbage, char siu chicken thighs, and a collagen-rich broth buoyed by a splash of schmaltz.

1247 Centre St., Newton, 857-404-0021, littlebigdiner.com.

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Photograph by Jim Brueckner

Tiger Mama

From the bespoke boat noodle service to the Hanoi-style breakfast pho served from a street-side takeout window, Tiffani Faison’s Southeast Asian fare is a tribute to everything slurp-worthy. Among the Thai delicacies on offer is yen ta fo, a pink-hued soup that achieves its distinct color and sourness from fermented soybean paste. Admittedly not for the faint of heart, the mouth-puckering elixir is tempered with char siu tofu, grilled squid, and a heaping pile of flat rice noodles.

1363 Boylston St., Boston, 617-266-1300, tigermamaboston.com.

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Photograph by Jim Brueckner

Kaki Lima

Kaki Lima’s evolution from pop-up darling to brick-and-mortar restaurant continues with a semipermanent residence inside Eastie’s KO Pies. Every Monday and Tuesday, husband-and-wife team Peter Gelling and Retno Pratiwi serve Indonesian specialties like ayam bakar (charcoal-grilled chicken), plus seasonal extras such as the Jakarta street-fare classic soto mie—a spicy beef broth steeped with aromatics like lemongrass and galangal, then topped with spring rolls and a coil of freshly prepared egg noodles.

256 Marginal St., East Boston, 617-418-5234, kakilimaboston.com.

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Photograph by Jim Brueckner

Ruckus Noodles

This winter, Shōjō owners Brendan and Brian Moy are expanding their modern-Asian-meets-hip-hop brand with Ruckus Noodles (as in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Bring Da Ruckus”), a 20-seat noodle bar in Chinatown. Helmed by executive chef Mark O’Leary, the menu will feature fanciful spins on traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Thai soups—think: lo mein and taro-wrapped duck in a foie gras broth, as well as this smoked-fish-head soup brimming with smoked eel, squid-ink cuttlefish balls, and house-made udon.

5 Tyler St., Boston.


Christopher Hughes Chris Hughes, Food Editor at Boston Magazine chughes@bostonmagazine.com