All right, folks. Here’s the deal. My parents can’t cook Asian food at all but I love, love, LOVE it. And since I basically grew up in the most Asian part of the country, (NorCal for those who are wondering) I’ve basically tried every kind of Asian food imaginable. But I always go back to the classic comfort food, which for me, means noodles. In my eyes, classic noodle dishes have to be three things: delicious, authentic, and cheap. Coming to Philly, I wasn’t really sure I’d be able to find anything that fit all three of those requirements. Thankfully, through a lot of exploring, I’ve been able to find a taste of the homeland.
Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House
This place tops the list of many Philly must-eat lists, and even food critic Craig LaBan recommends it. They serve gigantic bowls of soup-y rich noodles. The noodles are thick, hand-shaved, and made freshly in-house. Portions are huge and there’s such a large variety that you’ll be sure to find something you like.
Everyone loves pho, and for good reason. Pho is always served really quickly, is warm and comforting, has meat that cooks in the soup (whoa!), and when you order it, you pretty much always know what to expect because it tastes pretty similar everywhere. Nam Phuong isn’t much different —the inside looks like your typical Vietnamese restaurant, with metal chairs and jars of sauce on each table —but the noodles taste fresh and the broth isn’t going to give you a sodium hangover the next day. Everything comes out within five minutes of ordering and nothing is over $10. Sounds good to me.
Han Dynasty is known for their signature spicy dishes that ramp up the heat and the flavor, and their Dan Dan noodles are no exception. Made with pickled vegetables (give it a chance), peanut butter, chili oil, and soft, chewy flour noodles, they definitely live up to all of the hype. They’re spicy, salty, and everything you could ask for.
Ramen doesn’t just come out of packets anymore. At Terakawa Ramen, this old college-student staple has now become a grown-up food, thanks to the addition of seaweed, bamboo, and mushrooms in a thick, pork-bone broth, topped with thick slices of pork belly or other kinds of meat. Ramen noodles at Terakawa are thick and hearty, not pre-cooked like the instant stuff, and they’re sure to be satisfying on a cold day.
Sang Kee Peking Duck House
Sang Kee Peking Duck House isn’t just known for their duck. Surprisingly, they also have a great noodle selection, and their pan-fried noodles are some of the best I’ve come across in Philly. The noodles are crispy and crunchy, topped with a flavorful sauce and sautéed vegetables. The noodles are fun to eat because they’re kind of like chips, but one serving is definitely more than enough for one person, so perhaps bring a friend along to share the noodle love.