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Chicken and prawn laksa at Ho Jiak
Photograph: Sharnee Rawson

The best noodle soups in Sydney

These dishes combine broth and carbs to great comforting effect

Written by
Sharnee Rawson
&
Elizabeth McDonald
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There are few things more satisfying than hunkering down with a bowl of piping hot noodle soup. The basic broth and noodle combination is a staple in so many cuisines for good reason. Apart from the obvious deliciousness, the steaminess and hydration factor help to relieve cold symptoms, and with 2022 shaping up to be the year of inevitable Omricon, it certainly helps that the broth is often laden with immunity-boosting ingredients like garlic and ginger. Not that we need an excuse. 

Whether you prefer your bowl filled with rich tonkotsu, deeply herbal pho, or scattered with tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, there’s no shortage of soupy goodness in Sydney. Here are 10 of our favourite noodle soups to warm your cockles.

Some like it hot. Why not sweat it out with one of Sydney's five spiciest dishes?

Sydney's best noodle soups

  • Restaurants
  • Haymarket
  • price 1 of 4

Chef Dan Hong calls this ramen 'The Chronic' and after the first spoonful, you'll know what he means. You'll find the stall at the far end of the Eating World. There's no phone number, no menu except what's on the board. It takes seven days to make the pork stock for the tonkotsu ramen and three ingredients: water, miso and 120kg of pork bones. This incredibly collagen enriched noodle soup is so thick, rich and porky that one between two is enough. Yowza.

  • Restaurants
  • North Sydney
  • price 1 of 4

Order the: Ramen #2

Ryo’s fans swear this is some of the best ramen you’ll find in all of Sydney. Duck your way past the traditional Japanese noren curtains hanging out the front and you’ll think you’ve been transported straight to a Tokyo noodle house. Everywhere you look it’s heads down, as diners hoe into steaming bowls of soup filled with crinkly ramen noodles. There are ten types of ramen to choose from – half with chicken soup, the other half with a rich pork tonkotsu broth, brimming with collagen that is said to be good for the skin. Ramen #2 ($12.50) is the biggest seller: a tonkotsu soy sauce soup with slices of fatty roast pork, squidgy boiled egg, a nori seaweed sheet and wilted vegetables. You can load up your noodles with extra toppings like butter, sweet corn, garlic and pickles.This venue welcomes American Express

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Darlinghurst
  • price 1 of 4

Order the: Fat Soy ramen

Chaco Bar’s ramen menu is limited to a tight three choices, which makes it very hard to pick just one. The chilli-coriander chicken ramen is often namechecked by chefs about town (Neil Perry is a big fan), but for pork lovers, the fat soy is impossible to resist. 
The style sits close to tonkotsu, but the base is actually chicken stock, made in-house to utilise the offcuts from the bar’s chicken-heavy yakitori menu. To serve, it’s laced with soy sauce and a choose-your-own-level of pork back fat. (Tip: ‘normal’ level turns the soup completely opaque and leaves your lips slicker than Osher Günsberg’s hair.) Charcoal-kissed chashu, crunchy black fungus and shallots are the finishing touches, and a bed of springy noodles awaits underneath. This is a dish every self-respecting Sydneysider should try once.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Redfern
  • price 1 of 4

Order the: Vegan shio soy ramen

The building blocks of many noodle soups are bone-based stocks, or fermented fish sauces and pastes, meaning the great options are rarely vegan friendly. You might find a light and brothy number, but rarely anything with the heft of a meaty tonkotsu. 
This may be one of the many reasons why RaRa Ramen is often a full house with a queue that stretches out the door ten minutes into lunch service. The concise menu offers one pork ramen, two vegan options, and a couple of mazesoba (dry ramen). Grab a stool by the open kitchen and watch the deft chefs draw ladlefuls of stock to start each bowl. The vegan shio soy ramen uses soy milk for creaminess and amps it up with house-made tare, soy sauce and salt. Hakata-style noodles are made on-site with plenty of bite, and round out the bowl, along with grilled tomato, bamboo shoots and an optional soft egg. The resulting ramen has a creaminess offset by the sweetness of the tomato and soy, with a whack of black pepper thrown in for good measure. It’s completely unlike any other ramen in Sydney. RaRa's Newtown outpost, Lonely Mouth, also holds a place in the hearts of vegan comfort eaters, as Sydney's only 100 per cent plant based ramen shop. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Asian
  • Marrickville

Order the: Pho dac biet

Just like any good aunt, the team at this Marrickville favourite are determined to send you home with a full stomach. Case in point: their pho dac biet. 
It’s a deeply satisfying bowl of soup, served with all of the requisite trimmings and a side of the restaurant’s signature chilli and lemongrass oil. The broth veers more towards richness and umami than super-fragrant clove and star anise flavours. Fresh rice noodles come with thin slices of rare Angus beef, chunky meatballs, braised brisket and a hunk of bone-in just-blackened beef rib, to seal the deal. If your mum isn’t available for a hug, we reckon this soup might just be the next best thing.

  • Restaurants
  • Malaysian
  • Haymarket

Order the: Chicken and prawn laksa

Ho Jiak’s laksa is considered Nyonya-style, the coconut-and-curry-heavy variation popular in Malay-Chinese cuisine. The soup is equal parts creamy and spicy, tinged red with a hefty layer of chilli oil that plays off against the richness of the coconut, and a served with a side of dried shrimp-laced chilli oil for extra funk. 
Opt for the chicken and prawn number (though there’s also Hainan chicken, seafood and vegetable options), and you’ll score a calorific boon big enough for two. Yellow mee and vermicelli noodles are loaded up with braised chicken, sweet little prawns, fried tofu chunks, thick slices of fish cake and half a soft boiled egg. As if that wasn’t enough, a generous handful of bean sprouts and fried garlic finishes off the party. 

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  • Shopping
  • Delis
  • Rose Bay

Order the: Matzo ball chicken broth

Bianca’s Deli is a rare beast, catering to both homesick South Africans and the local Jewish community. It also caters to those who simply love the fare, letting you replenish your stocks of biltong and matzo ball soup at the same time. Who knew you could do such a thing? Chicken broth aka Jewish penicillin is proven to have healing properties for when you're feeling under the weather, and it's one of those hug-in-a-bowl dishes that you can stash in the freezer for when you need a little pick me up.

  • Restaurants
  • Haymarket

Order the: Khao soi

Throughout northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai, tiny roadside stalls dishing out bowls of khao soi are a common sight. Laksa might seem like the most immediate point of reference for this coconut curry-based soup, but the flavour profile sits somewhere between that and massaman curry. 
Sydney stalwart Chat Thai follows the bone-in chicken tradition, but subs chicken wings for the traditional Maryland cut. House-made chilli oil delivers the spicy component of that crucial spicy-salty-sweet-and-sour complexity, backed up by pickled Chinese mustard greens and a wedge of lime. Sturdy, fat egg noodles are also a point of difference, providing a more elastic bite than laksa’s yellow mee, and so is the crowning glory – a hearty garnish of crisp fried noodles to finish.

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