You’ve got a cold nose, freezing fingers, and your toes are about to fall off. What do you do? You put on a scarf, or maybe a jacket or two… and you go get a steaming bowl of noodles to warm your body up.
Shoutout to all the Asian grandmas who’ve got this covered for their little ones at home but let’s be real, us college kids don’t have that luxury here, so read on for the five best noodle soup bowls you can treat yourself to this winter in the District!
Absolute Noodle and Sushi Bar – Mixed Cuisines
Set fittingly in Chinatown, Absolute Noodle is your quaint little noodle bar with an open kitchen format, so be prepared to be leaving with the scent of fried noodles in your hair. Absolute noodle boasts an impressive menu, with dishes like Duck Soba, Bulgogi Udon, and Kimchi Ramen, just to name a few. Aside from all these noodle dishes, they also serve some classic fried rice, curries and sushi. The most unique thing on their menu is the option of making your own bowl of noodles with a choice of broths to choose from and lots of ingredients to add into your creation. Though not always busy, making a reservation is never a bad idea for this place, especially for the hours before your weekend bar crawl.
Daikaya Ramen – Japanese
A photo posted by Daikaya (@daikayadc) on Oct 25, 2015 at 2:32pm PDT
Hiding under a facade of what looks like a pattern of wifi-symbols, the ramen branch of the Daikaya restaurant serves up some of the most satisfying bowls of ramen you’ll find in DC. Ramen is widely known throughout the world as the main noodle dish of Japan.
Daikaya does a kick-ass rendition of it right here in the heart of the city. Sit yourself down in this funky fresh restaurant either in a booth or at one of their community tables and get ready to slurp your way into ramen nirvana. Your tastebuds will dance with the flow of soup going through your mouth.
Daikaya is a two-part restaurant with an Izakaya (Japanese for a casual after-work dinner place that serves food to accompany drinks) upstairs, and the ramen joint on street level. The ramen section doesn’t take reservations so make sure you get there at an awkward time with your entire party to avoid the mass crowd.
Mandu (18th Street/K Street) – Korean
Though not necessarily known for their noodles, Mandu’s dak kalguksoo (wide noodles in a chicken broth with pulled chicken) is not to be missed this winter. Let the cozy setting of the restaurant take you through the homestyle Korean meal that’ll keep you toasty for the rest of the night as you savor every drip of soup in the bowl. Expect to order way more than just your bowl of noodles here because you need to pack on for the winter…you know, like bears do…? And if you’re not in the mood for some carbs in your meal, you have a wide range of traditional Korean soups to choose from too, including the classic kimchi jigae. To make this place appeal to you even more, there are two locations for you to choose from if one of them is full. Both take reservations online and by phone so get to it!
Penang – Malaysian
A photo posted by Lillie Celine Hughes (@lillie_ch) on Aug 14, 2015 at 7:04am PDT
Malaysian fare is rare in the city, so take the metro down to Bethesda to stuff your face with some fragrant Southeast Asian noodles. Penang serves Thai, Indian and Malaysian cuisine, but their main staple dishes are the local dishes of Malaysia, such as the simple Kueh Teow Thong (flat rice noodles in a chicken broth) to the more sophisticated, spicy Udang Mee (yellow noodles served in a prawn shell broth usually boiled overnight).
You can’t afford a plane ticket down to Southeast Asia right now…but you can afford a bowl of noodles here to tantalize your cold, needy taste buds right here in DC. And just to make things easier for you, Penang also delivers so you have no excuse to not try this place out.
Pho 75 – Vietnamese
A photo posted by @yourmonologue on May 10, 2015 at 2:20pm PDT
Widely known as the best pho joint in the District, Pho 75 serves up more types of pho (traditional Vietnamese rice noodles in a beef broth with beef slices) than you even knew existed. Student-friendly prices just make this place even more seductive to the desperate warmth-seeking crowd this winter. With options including tripe, beef flank and traditional Vietnamese beef balls, Pho 75 is set to make you a happy (warm) camper this winter!
Before coming to Pho 75, you must be warned of the long lines that could form around the block outdoors if you go during peak times for lunch and dinner. Also, remember to take a trip down to the ATM before even stopping by this place because they only take cash.