As the weather temperatures drop with the changing of the seasons, I immediately begin to think about which of the best soups in Raleigh I’m going to order. Indulging in delicious dishes that warm me up are vital during cold months. I am such a warm weather girl that any reports of temperatures below 60 degrees (about 15 degrees Celsius) have me yearning for warmth. What better meal to warm up your insides than soup?
1. Crispy Pork Belly Soup from Bida Manda
This Raleigh soup packs a big punch of flavor. The coconut curry broth at this Laotian restaurant is loaded with rice noodles, carrots, peanuts, cilantro and, of course, crispy pork belly. It’s incredibly delicious and filling. The restaurant is kind enough to split one big bowl into two smaller ones if you’re sharing it. (We love to share it with each other or a friend when we visit, then get an additional dish to share.)
It’s hard to get a reservation here last minute if a craving strikes but if you go at non-peak times you might luck out and get a table or, my favorite, enjoy sitting at the bar. There’s always take out too, which they do and separate noodles from the broth so nothing gets soggy before you’re ready to eat!
Note: they have been closed during COVID month in 2020 and do not have take out.
2. Zanyu Noodles
This restaurant quickly became a personal favorite for some of the best food in Raleigh as soon as I had my first bite of soup from Zanyu. Then I learned Michael, the owner and head chef, had culinary experience in Japan and it all made sense! Their ramen, especially, is the most authentic I’ve had in the area. It’s hard to select a favorite from their menu of warm soups though. So instead of choosing just one I’m writing Zanyu Noodles, overall as one of the top 5 soups in the area. If you go or you’ve been let us know your favorite in the comments below!
3. Ramen from M Kokko
I’m a tough critic when it comes to ramen. (Visiting Japan twice will do that to you.) The best ramen I’ve found in the area aside from Zanyu Noodles, is at M Sushi’s “sister” restaurant, right behind the main entrance to M Sushi, called M Kokko. It’s a hidden gem of sorts because the entrance and small restaurant are literally hidden behind M Sushi. But once you know it’s there and you taste their delicious soups you’ll never forget it. I always get the classic Tonkatsu Ramen.
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4. Malaysian Curry Soup from David’s Dumpling and Noodle Bar
There’s a phenomenal Asian soup at a restaurant called Raku in Washington, DC. It has a curry based broth, noodles and veggies. I never thought I’d find anything close to it in the Raleigh-Durham area. Yet one evening at David’s Dumpling and Noodle Bar changed that! The Malaysian Curry Soup at David’s Dumpling and Noodle Bar, right by NC State’s campus in Raleigh, has a rich curry broth, chewy egg noodles, tofu and a few small dumplings. It’s very hearty and packs a lot of yummy flavor. Note it’s only available on their dinner menu.
5. Pho from Pho Super 9
We love pho. Pho has a light, transparent broth (usually beef broth) so it’s a little less heavy than an opaque curry soup. (But don’t let that fool you – the noodles and protein in the huge portions of pho are very filling.) We’ve been to a lot of Vietnamese pho restaurants in the triangle and Pho Super 9 is the best we’ve had. They make a delicious bowl of pho. I enjoy the Seafood pho, while Dan always orders and loves a Rare Beef option.
Bonus: Duck Noodle Soup from H Mart
Technically this is in Cary, but it’s worth the short trip for. H Mart is a chain Asian supermarket in the United States. And if you adore Japan, Korea, Thailand (or any other Asian nations and their cuisine) you’ll adore this place. They have a food court with great options from bibambap bowls to delicious noodle dishes like Pad Thai, or curry meals. A favorite is the Duck Noodle Soup. (I have to thank Linda, of Girl Eats World, for turning me onto it.) The beef broth has yummy pieces of duck in it, bean sprouts add the best crunch, and it hits the spot no matter the weather.
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