Noodle soup as a whole meal for a fully grown adult seems more popular in Asia than the United States, but Buffalo area restaurants provide bowlfuls aplenty to challenge that orthodoxy.
In this corner, from Malaysia, you eat laksa, a funky sour coconut milk broth with shrimp paste, only in Tonawanda. Other competitors include roast duck starring in an Amherst Vietnamese bowl, and Riverside’s pork barbecue in Chinese noodle soup with pork wontons.
Pho, Vietnamese beef noodle soup, deserves its own guide, in time. For now, consider all the ways that Buffalo soupsters are using their noodle.
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Wakame ramen at Thang’s Family Japanese Ramen
25 Grant St.; 716-715-5053; thangsfamilyramen.com.
West Side Bazaar’s ramen specialist offers 15 diverse styles of noodle soup, including kimchi and tom yum versions, plus wakame ramen, with sliced chashu, seaweed, menma (fermented bamboo shoots), egg and mushrooms ($12.99).
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3268 Main St.; 716-835-7286; satorestaurantgroup.com.
Pork and chicken broth offers a balanced backbone to the springy noodles, sliced pork and bamboo shoots, with a trembling-yolked egg, bean sprouts and scallions ($12.99). Tonkatsu ($14.99), with broth like pork gravy and spicy miso ($13.99) are also popular.
Mohinga at Mandalay Restaurant
6621 Niagara Falls Blvd., Niagara Falls; 716-283-8100.
Burmese catfish soup, or mohinga, with rice noodles, hardboiled egg, stewed onions, chopped green and a fried bean cracker, is a traditional breakfast, but you can tuck in for lunch or dinner on Niagara Falls Boulevard, two blocks from the 190.
Vietnamese roast duck noodle soup at Red Pepper
3910 Maple Road, Amherst; 716-831-3878.
Chinese-American and Vietnamese standouts at this Amherst mainstay include mi vit, Vietnamese duck noodle soup. That’s half a roast duck chopped up, bones and all, as the guest of honor atop thin egg noodles, in chicken broth with cilantro and heartier greens ($15.95).
Bun bo hue dac biet at Pho Cali II
1915 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls; 716-299-7117.
One Vietnamese noodle soup that doesn’t get enough respect is bun bo hue, lemongrass and chile broth with rice noodles. Dac biet means full assortment of fixings, here including sliced pork and beef, chrimp, scallops, crab stick, squid and fish meatballs ($12.95).
Chongqi little noodle soup at Home Taste
3106 Delaware Ave., Kenmore; 716-322-0088; hometaste88.com.
Notable noodle soups at the standout Northern Chinese restaurant include N1. Chonqi little noodle, a straightforwardly spicy bowl of broth with smoky minced pork, greens and peanuts ($9.99) or homemade sour napa cabbage with pork and clear noodle ($13.99).
Laksa at Aung Family Restaurant
2768-B Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; 716-575-6467; aungfamilyrestaurant.com.
Coconut curry broth with a backbone of fermented shrimp paste makes the sour-spicy noodle soup a Malaysian hit. Spoon in the thimble of chile-fish paste that comes alongside, squeeze in the lime wedge and even with packet ramen noodles, it’s a soup to be reckoned with ($12.99 to $13.99).
Mutee at Rakhapura Restaurant
302 Main St.; 716-856-0508; rakhapurarestaurant.com.
Rice noodles in chicken broth alive with black pepper and lime juice, holding sliced chicken breast, cilantro and copious amounts of fried garlic, it’s fairly sedated by itself. Ask for balangchuang, a dose of dried spices and roasted ground shrimp paste, if you want a walk on the wilder side.
Wonton noodle soup at Family Thai
863 Tonawanda St.; 716-783-9285; familythai-restaurant.com.
One of the most popular traditional Chinese noodle soups is available in Riverside, with egg noodles and chicken broth serving as backdrop to sliced roast pork, greens and pork-stuffed wonton dumplings ($10.99).
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