Our best noodle soup recipes can be slurped anytime, no matter what the season. These noodle soups – chicken noodle soups, fish noodle soups, pork noodle soups and so on – will warm you up in winter and in summer they’ll cool you down – which explains why you’ll find Southeast Asian sweating over big bowls of spicy noodle soups in the hot season. That perspiration on the brow evaporates and keeps you cool.
Here in Southeast Asia, noodle soups are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks in between. Noodle soups can be just as warming in winter as stews, and yet while they are filling, they are light, fuelling you up for a day in the rice fields, rather than sending you back to bed. The noodles will give you energy, the fragrant herbs will refresh you, while the spicy condiments will warm you up or cool you down, depending on the season.
Before I share our best noodle soup recipes, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve cooked our recipes and enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo by using our links to buy travel insurance, rent a car or campervan or motorhome, book accommodation, or book a tour on Klook or Get Your Guide. You could also browse our Grantourismo store for gifts for food lovers, including fun reusable cloth face masks designed with Terence’s images.
Another option is to support our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon; or buy us a coffee, although we’ll probably use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing; or buy something on Amazon, such as these cookbooks for culinary travellers, James Beard award-winning cookbooks, cookbooks by Australian chefs, classic cookbooks for serious cooks, travel books to inspire wanderlust, and gifts for Asian food lovers and picnic lovers. Now let me tell you about our best noodle soup recipes.
Best Noodle Soup Recipes for Slurping Any Season – Broths to Keep You Warm in Winter, Cool in Summer
Khmer Nom Banh Chok Recipe
This authentic nom banh chok recipe is one of our best noodle soup recipes. It makes Cambodia’s beloved ‘Khmer noodles’, nom banh chok samlor proher, a popular breakfast dish of freshly-made rice noodles doused in an herbaceous yellow-green coconut-based fish gravy.
You’ll need a heavy mortar and pestle to make the gravy. At its best, it is richer and creamier than other iterations of nom banh chok, which are served with thinner broths.
Garnished with fragrant herbs, seasonal vegetables, edible flowers, and wild herbs, it’s Cambodia’s most quintessential breakfast dish, and Cambodia’s national dish for so many Cambodians – indicative by the fact that locals translate the dish to foreigners as ‘Khmer noodles’.
Nom banh chok has long been ‘Cambodia in a bowl’ for me and is perhaps my most favourite Cambodian food.
Singapore Curry Laksa Recipe
This Singapore laksa recipe makes the rich coconut milk-laced version of this classic Southeast Asian noodle soup and it’s another of our best noodle soup recipes. While there’s an infinite array of laksas to be slurped, there are two main types: one with coconut milk and one without.
The laksa with coconut milk combined with a stock and curry paste broth ubiquitous in Singapore and southern Malaysia, where it’s typically called curry laksa or curry mee (‘mee’ means noodles).
The other type is asam laksa or Penang laksa, Penang being the dish’s spiritual home, and the broth is a fish stock commonly made from mackerel and sardines, with no coconut milk to sweeten up the sour tamarind.
A great laksa isn’t made from a jar of paste, but starts with a homemade curry paste pounded from scratch in a mortar and pestle. Trust us, the final result is worth the effort!
Classic Cambodian Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
Our classic Cambodian chicken noodle soup recipe makes the chicken version of Cambodia’s popular breakfast noodle soup called kuy teav and it’s another of our best noodle soup recipes.
Kuy teav is one of Cambodia’s most beloved street food dishes and kuy teav sach moan – ‘sach moan’ is chicken meat in Khmer – is one of the most popular, alongside kuy teav sach chrouk with pork (chrouk) and kuy teav sach ko with beef (ko).
A good clear flavourful stock is the hallmark of this soup rather than a bowl abundant with ingredients, but make sure to provide plenty of condiments on the table when you make this.
Set out dishes of lime quarters, fresh fragrant herbs such as basil, coriander, and mint, extra blanched bean sprouts, and finely sliced birds-eye chillies.
Also provide pepper, sugar and fish sauce – Cambodians tend to use fish sauce instead of salt in soups – and soy sauce, chilli sauce, chilli flakes, and perhaps some homemade chilli oil.
Phnom Penh Pork Noodle Soup Recipe
This Phnom Penh pork noodle soup recipe is another of our best noodle soup recipes. It makes kuy teav Phnom Penh, named after Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, where it’s one of the most popular breakfast noodle soups.
One for pork lovers, ‘Phnom Penh noodles’ is distinguished by its pork broth, minced pork and plump prawns, but can also include any combination of pork loin, pork belly, pork ribs, pork blood cake, pork liver, and offal.
Known for its abundance, this soup should be served with plenty of garnishes and condiments, such as lime wedges, bean sprouts, fresh coriander, fried garlic, fried shallots, chilli sauce, fish sauce, and homemade chilli oil.
The dish also has a cousin in Vietnam called Hủ tiếu Nam Vang. Nam Vang is the Vietnamese name for Phnom Penh.
Burmese Chicken Coconut Noodle Soup
This ohn no khao swe recipe for Myanmar’s beloved Burmese chicken coconut noodle soup makes another of our best noodle soup recipes.
Perhaps the most popular dish alongside mohinga, ohn no khao swe consists of egg noodles in an aromatic chicken curry soup with a coconut milk base that is typically garnished with crunchy fried noodles, boiled eggs, shallots, fried garlic, dried chilli, lime, coriander (cilantro), and sometimes fried chickpea fritters.
Indeed, in Cook and Entertain the Burmese Way, published in 1978, author Mi Mi Khaing, who was of the Mon ethnic group but married a royal from the Shan States, writes that garnishing your ohn no khao swe is one of the most fun bits about eating this noodle soup.
Chiang Mai Khao Soi Gai Recipe
This Chiang Mai khao soi gai recipe makes the heavenly curry noodle chicken soup that foreign visitors to the Northern Thailand city tend to become a bit obsessed by and it’s another of our best noodle soup recipes.
The one-bowl meal of egg noodles in a rich and oily, coconut cream-based soup, features a leg or thigh of bone-in chicken (‘gai’ is Thai for chicken) topped with crunchy noodles.
One of the sure signs of a good khao soi gai is a slick of bright red oil on top, created from the splitting of the coconut cream and stock – which only really happens with fresh coconut cream. What this does is help coat the noodles with oil and stock with each mouthful.
Yogyakarta Style Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
This soto ayam recipe for the beloved Indonesian chicken noodle soup is based on the aromatic breakfast noodle soup we became smitten with on our last day in Yogyakarta and it’s easily another of our best noodle soup recipes.
The old capital of East Java is best known as a base for exploring the archaeological wonders of Borobudur and Prambanan, but it’s also home to some fabulous street food. ‘Soto’ means soup and ‘ayam’ is chicken and this chicken soup with noodles is the go-to breakfast for many locals.
Terence’s soto ayam recipe was inspired by the soto ayam we sampled, which stood out for the consommé-like clarity of the light soup and fragrant stock, however, some recipes Terence spotted during his research called for coconut milk, so don’t be surprised if it differs from others you’ve tried.
There seems to be a soto ayam recipe for every village, town, city, and region on Indonesia’s 18,307 islands, but if there’s one thing that Indonesians seem to agree on, that’s that soto ayam is the country’s chicken noodle soup for the soul.
Luang Prabang Style Lao Khao Soi Recipe
This Lao khao soi recipe makes another of our best noodle soup recipes – a hearty soup with wide rice noodles and a generous dollop of a rich tomato-based pork mince sauce that resembles an Asian take on an Italian ragu Bolognese.
The recipe is one Terence has been perfecting for years, since we first fell in love with Lao khao soi on our inaugural trip to Luang Prabang, Laos, after our guide Bounmee pointed out a rustic noodle joint in a ramshackle corrugated iron shed that he claimed ladled out the best Lao khao soi in town.
It’s served with plenty of fresh greens – crispy long snake beans, aromatic mint, basil, and lime halves – and that Luang Prabang cook gave us an array of condiments to add, including shrimp paste, fish sauce, chilli sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper, but all I reckon this needs is a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes.
Hanoi Style Vietnamese Bun Cha Recipe
Bún chả must be one of the most quintessential Hanoi dishes after phở and this recipe makes one of our best noodle soup recipes for the bun cha we used to lunch on in the Vietnam capital a few times a week.
Our favourite bún chả cook set up her stall each morning on the curb-side to grill the smokiest char-grilled pork patties and pork belly (the ‘chả’), which she served in a warm soup-like sauce with fresh rice noodles (bún).
She provided plenty of aromatic herbs and greens (perilla, ﬁsh leaf, basil, mint, coriander, butter lettuce, maybe sprouts), and Vietnamese fried spring rolls in a dish on the side.
While the pork is clearly centre-stage, bun cha would be nothing without noodles. Of all the Vietnamese specialties we’ve been craving during the pandemic, bún chả is the one we crave the most.
Korean Instant Ramen Noodle Soup Recipe
Terence’s best Korean instant ramen noodles recipe jazzes up Nongshim Shin Ramyun, which are the best instant ramen noodles as far as we’re concerned, and it’s another of our best noodle soup recipes.
Instant ramen noodles get a bad rap as fast food for lazy people or poor students. But as I said in my post on my now not-so secret formula for upgrading instant ramen noodles, all you have to do is take the dried instant noodles, discard those little packets of dehydrated veg and seasoning, and add your favourite ingredients to really take instant ramen to the next level.
Terence likes to use those little packets of seasoning sometimes as he loves the spicy soup seasoning of Nongshim’s Shin Ramyun, especially the Shin Black Noodle Soup, so he just adds melt-in-your-mouth slices of char siu pork, crisp Chinese greens, blanched bean sprouts, a boiled egg, deep-fried shallots, and his heady homemade chilli oil.
Russian Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe with Chicken Meatballs for a Comforting Old-Fashioned Soup
Our Russian chicken noodle soup recipe with chicken meatballs makes another one of my Russian family recipes, my Russian grandmother’s chicken noodle soup – with a few tweaks. It’s an old-fashioned chicken noodle soup – let’s call it a retro soup – but it’s also a comforting soup as only chicken soups made from scratch can be.
This Russian chicken noodle soup recipe is also an easy soup to make, coming together quickly, in just 30 minutes or so. The juicy chicken meatballs cook in the soup and there’s no stock to make, the flavour coming from the meatballs and subtle use of spice. It’s also a fantastic soup for leftovers, refrigerating well, and tasting even better the next day.
The flavours are well balanced, but if you want even more punch, you could add a little paprika to the chicken meatballs, or a sprinkle of chilli flakes to the broth to give it a little kick.
That’s not such a Russian thing to do, but plenty of fresh fragrant dill, a dollop of sour cream, and a dish of dill pickles and slices of dark rye bread on the side, will well and truly ensure this Russian chicken noodle soup recipe doesn’t lose its identity.
Please do let us know if you make any of our best noodle soup recipes in the comments below. We’d love to hear how they turn out for you.