Most soups are not an entirely satisfying meal. The clammiest clam chowder, the most barley-laden mushroom-barley are still, at their core, mere fluids.
But just add noodles, and it’s a different story. Not only do noodles add heft and body, they amplify the soup’s flavor by giving your mouth soup-slicked solids that require not only tongue, but teeth. Here are some noodle soups that qualify as a meal, and then some.
Splendid Noodle, Stony Brook: Noodles build bridges, and Splendid Noodle in Stony Brook offers a fine introduction to one of China’s under-sung culinary treasures. In the bare-bones dining room of this eatery, the open kitchen is the stage and Ken Chen is the star of the show as he demonstrates the art of hand-pulled noodles. Roast duck noodle soup with an extra helping of greens is an excellent choice here.
Rolling Spring Roll
Rolling Spring Roll, Syosset: Pho (pronounced like “fun” without the “n”) is Vietnam’s most famous soup, made with thin rice noodles, a clear, fragrant broth and a mélange of meat, scallions, jalapeños, bean sprouts and Thai basil. Beef pho, the most common, comes with thinly sliced beef, pieces of brisket and meatballs. The chicken pho, a lighter variant, features shreds of tender chicken. Bowls come small, $8; regular, $10; and extra-large, $13. Other location at 189 Main St. in Farmingdale.
SriPraPhai, Williston Park: The true noodle lover faces this Sophie’s choice: boiled or fried. The great Northern Thai dish kao-soy offers a way out: There are boiled egg noodles buried beneath the coconut-based, yellow-curry broth, and a crisp slab of fried egg noodles floating on top. As you eat, submerge the fried noodles into the broth and appreciate their textural transformation from crisp to chewy. To cut the richness of the broth, add your own chopped onion, pickled mustard greens and lime. Vegetarians won’t find a more satisfying dish than SriPraPhai’s tofu kao-soy with snow pea and cauliflower, $11. (It also comes with pork, beef or chicken.)
Zan's Kosher Deli
Zan's Kosher Deli, Lake Grove: During “soup season,” said Zan’s owner, Pat Ruggiero, the kitchen makes chicken broth twice a day, so strong is the demand for the deli’s chicken noodle soup. It’s a classic Jewish-style broth, with parsnips offering a sweet assist to the carrot. Soggy noodles, he has learned, are the enemy; the solution is to hold the noodles separately, draining them thoroughly and adding them to the soup once it is ordered. Homemade chicken-stuffed kreplach (a sort of giant Yiddish wonton that is, arguably, a noodle, too) are a popular addition. Chicken noodle soup is $5.25 for a bowl (eat-in), $4.62 a pint and $8.59 a quart (takeout). Kreplach are $1.55 apiece.
Chef Wang, New Hyde Park: Since it opened last year, Chef Wang New Sichuan Cuisine has been bringing authentic regional flavor to New Hyde Park. Robust to the very edge of overpowering, Sichuan cuisine is the polar opposite of the mild, clear, Cantonese cooking that forms the basis of most American Chinese food. Experience it in the form of noodle soup with shredded pork and pickled vegetable, a rib-sticking brew with an unexpected sour kick. A bowl is $8.95.
BBD’S, Rocky Point: Ralph Perrazzo has built his business on beers, burgers and desserts, but the chef harbors a passion for ramen, the Japanese noodle soup. An almost indecently rich, classic pork tonkotsu ramen, $15, is on the regular menu, and duck miso ramen, $16, is a frequent special. Duck ramen is not traditionally Japanese, but Perrazzo felt that a Long Island ramen menu wouldn’t be complete without it. He uses ducks from Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue to make a broth that’s “earthy, nutty and slightly sweet,” then completes the bowl with duck meat, soy-marinated soft-boiled egg, scallions, cloud ear fungus and menma (pickled bamboo shoots).
Momi Ramen, East Hampton: Tonkotsu ramen with pork belly is the essential dish at Momi Ramen, the East Hampton branch of a Miami restaurant that opened this summer. The rich pork bone-and-marrow broth is simmered, filtered and then simmered again for more than 15 hours. The thin, resilient wheat noodles are made in-house throughout the day. The dish comes together with braised pork belly, bamboo shoots, shimeji mushrooms, sesame, scallions and a soft-boiled egg. A bowl is $18.
Surasang Korean Restaurant
Surasang Korean Restaurant, Syosset: Here’s a soup to help you brave the cold Korean winter: sam sun jang bong, an incendiary seafood soup. The chili-pepper-red broth contains chewy noodles, clams, squid and vegetables and is surmounted by a proud, head-on shrimp. Like all Korean restaurants, Surasang covers the table with free appetizers (ban chan) before you even order. Those plus this enormous bowl of soup, $11.95, are all you need for a very filling meal.
NY Soup Exchange
NY Soup Exchange, Garden City: Grandma’s chicken noodle soup is one of the dozens of soups on soup savant Ken Kaplan’s rotating lunch menu. His classic, French-inspired stock is lean and bright, studded with pieces of chicken breast. For his noodles, Kaplan uses little tubular ditalini for two reasons: “It’s a durable pasta that doesn’t get mushy, and, because it’s not the cut linguine that Campbell’s uses, you know you’re not getting canned soup.” $4.75 for a cup, $7.25 a pint, $10 a quart. All orders come with sliced baguette.
Ten89 Noodle House
Ten89 Noodle House, Stony Brook: “Hearty” is an understatement when referring to the famous Taiwanese braised beef noodle soup, whose star anise-scented broth is a little sweet and a little spicy. It can be hard to see the thick noodles beneath the surface of an almost murky broth. But bright greens, scallions and big, tender chunks of beef rise to the surface. A bowl is $7.88.