There are oodles of noodle houses scattered all over the City of London - serving ramen, laksa, soba, udon and biang biang noodles to hungry workers of the Square Mile.
The humble noodle is used in so many different cuisines; they’re thrown into a hot Vietnamese pho, Korean japchae, Japanese ramen, Malaysian laksa, and even made into a Chinese fried chow mein.
And then there’s the huge variety of noodles themselves. You’ve got your udon, somen, la mian, hokkien, soba, vermicelli, chow fun, glass, tapioca, and so many more.
There are oodles of noodles out there – in general and more specifically here in the City of London.
Being overwhelmed by the choice is totally understandable. Especially, as once you decide on a destination, it’s so much harder to then land on a dish to order. We feel your pain.
That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to all the best noodle houses in the Square Mile, and what to order when you get there.
Chef Wei Guirong and Zhang Chao opened Highbury’s tiny Sichuan noodle restaurant, Xi’an Impression, a few years back. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to get a table here, but this success has allowed each of the founders to open up their own restaurant. Chao runs Biang Biang Noodles in Spitalfields while Wei runs the kitchen at Master Wei. Both specialise in biang biang noodles which are of the thick and wheaty variety (much like a pappardelle pasta). They are then served in a thick spicy, garlicy sauce with meat or in a room temperature broth full of fresh herbs and spices. They’re perfectly situated for those of us who don’t want to line up outside their popular Highbury haunt.
13 Cosmo Place, Bloomsbury WC1N 3AP & 62 Wentworth Street, Spitalfields E1 7AL
Type the words ‘udon’ and ‘London’ into Google and the search yields pages and pages of results that point to one restaurant. Koya, a small udon-ya in both Soho and the City of London has become famous for their rich broths and fresh noodle dishes, alongside their extensive list of other Japanese specialities. Frequent visitors to Koya will know to take a look at the specials blackboard before diving in, but you can’t go wrong with their classics either.
10-12 Bloomberg Arcade EC4N 8AR
Perched upon London Wall, this banh mi deli is a hotspot for City residents and workers. Saigon street food is served at a feverish pace throughout the week, with banh mi baguettes and large rice bowls hugely popular. But they specialise in making Vietnamese noodle dishes. Newbies should start with the house favourite, the My Tho Noodles, made up of pork cooked three ways, prawns, rice noodles, slow-poached egg, Chinese celery and a 24-hour pork bone broth. It is a steaming bowl of heavenly deliciousness.
168 London Wall EC2M 5QD
Press your nose up on the glass-walled kitchen and admire the speed and skill of Yen’s top chefs as they expertly make their signature buckwheat soba noodles (served either hot or cold). They’ve brought the recipe for these bad boys all the way over from Japan, by way of Paris – where their original restaurant was born. Now, in London, the high-end but unfussy food has become a huge hit with the help of their long menu of traditional Japanese dishes and long list of sakes. You’re going to lose your noodle at Yen.
190 Strand, 5 Arundel Street WC2R 3DX
This small fast food chain churns out super easy and tasty Korean food throughout the week – mostly to workers around Aldgate and Spitalfields. They have delicious ramen, but we are totally obsessed with their bibimbab dish. On a bed of glass noodles (or rice) sits an assortment of fresh, pickled and cooked vegetables, as well as your choice of meat and sauce (we are all about the BBQ pork). Think of it like a warm noodle salad; healthy, tasty and huge.
4 Commercial Street E1 6LP &12 Hooper Street E1 8BP
Malaysian food is hard to find in London – let alone good Malaysian food. Thankfully, there a few small Ekachai canteen-style restaurants scattered about the City. They aren’t strictly Malaysian (there are a lot of Thai dishes on the menu) but Ekachai still makes a banging seafood curry laksa. The thick curry laksa gravy is made of coconut milk, mixed spices and herbs before the vermicelli or egg noodles are tossed in with plenty of calamari, prawns and mussels. If you have never had laksa before, get around the one at Ekachai.