A noodle nation
It hasn’t been that long since the Asian trend’s arrival on London’s food scene. Any restaurant worth its salt had something fried in tempura batter, drizzled with yuzu and garnished with daikon and it remains a popular food trend. It would be completely ignorant to lump all Asian restaurants into one category, especially when people are venturing further than just Chinese, and Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean foods have become just as popular. It’s safe to say the Asian takeover is bigger than ever. Despite similarities amongst the cuisines, each is fairly unique. One common denominator however is noodles, and particularly seem to be having their moment in spotlight. However, with each nation producing a different cuisine so varies their respective noodle dish. We sought out the best spots in London to slurp a noodle feast.
One of the newer Asian trends to take over the culinary world, Vietnamese phở is made from a light, flavoursome stock, generally beef or chicken, with rice noodles and can be topped with any number of aromatics. Sông Quê Café in East London offers up a true to form Vietnamese dining experience, but their phở in particular is outstanding with a special mention going to the Chicken Noodle Soup. Choose from a range of meats, vegetables and spiciness, and prepared to be wowed with whatever you go for.
Sông Quê Café is at 134 Kingsland Road, E2 8DY, for further information visit here.
Ramen noodles have to be the most popular Japanese export and London has no shortage of ramen restaurants. Tonkotsu, originally based in Soho, hand makes all their noodles in house. In their newest East London addition, if you can stop slurping long enough, you can see their staff hard at work on the ramen. Their Tonkotsu broth is a scene-stealer, richly flavoured and sticky, there really is nothing more delicious. Except perhaps their Chicken Kara-age and Prawn Gyoza that is. See our Tonkotsu East review here.
Tonkotsu is at 63 Dean Street, W1D 4QG, for further information visit here.
Korean noodles, usually made from buckwheat, are slightly more opaque than the rest of their Asian counterparts. Typical dishes include broths and stir-fries as well as chilled servings with chilli sauce dressings. The best spot in London to see all that Korean food has to offer is Koba in Fitzrovia. Hailed as the best Korean food outside of Korea, the menu is simple yet representative. For something different try the cold Kooksu, topped with spicy Kimchi.
Koba is at 11 Rathbone Street, W1T 1NA, no official website but check out their toptable listing for further information visit here.
Probably the most abused (but popular) of all the Asian cuisines, noodles feature heavily in Chinese dishes. The preparation and ingredients can vary based on the region of China but the London take on Chinese food is pretty representative and Royal China, particularly the Queensway branch, is to thank for that. Set in a grand dining room the food is deliciously authentic with nearly every dish begging for applause, and most specifically, the Crispy Noodles with Beef in a Black Bean Sauce.
Royal China Queensway is at 13 Queensway, W2 4QJ, for further information visit here.