Food & Drink

From ramen to pho, these are Portland’s 10 best noodle spots

Published On 09/03/2014 Published On 09/03/2014

You could wander all over Portland and... ugh, Beaverton like you do when you're looking for great dim sum, or try your luck in Oldtown/Chinatown, but if you really want to find PDX's best Asian noodle dishes, you should really just check out our list of Stumptown's 10 essential spots, here...

Flickr/Nick Welch

Chen’s Good Taste

Chinatown
From the homeless camp around the corner to the roasted ducks drying in the yellowing window, something about this place feels right. 
What you’re getting: The $5 wonton and dumpling soups are certainly a great bang for your buck, especially considering they aren't being served out of a truck and you can sit down and have tea, but the Super Bowls are where it’s at. Imagine the largest bowl you can think of and add a bit, then throw in rich broth, multiple pork preparations, roast duck, and fried shrimp. You might be spending more money in the short term, but this bowl could last another three lunches.

Flickr/Ron Dollete

Sen Yai

Division
Since opening, Sen Yai has been turning out traditional Thai dishes with complex flavors that are delicious while challenging to the typical American palate. Oh, and their breakfast is one of the most underrated in town.
What you’re getting: Kuaytiaw khua kai, a crispy noodle hailing from the streets of Bangkok. They’re tossed with cuttlefish, eggs, and your choice of protein before being cooked in lard.

Boxer Ramen

Boxer Ramen

Downtown
Micah Camden’s empire is all about creating a dish, executing it well, and selling it for a decent price in a good environment. His foray into ramen is no different. This place has been the best place to get ramen in Downtown since he gave it away last year.
What you’re getting: If you’re okay with a little heat don’t miss the spicy miso ramen and make sure to get an order of the okonomiyaki tots!

Flickr/Ron Dollete

Luc Lac

Downtown
Sure it’s one of our favorite places to head after a night at the bar, but Luc Lac has so much more going for it (like their pho). What really sets this place apart from most noodle houses is their fantastic bar program.
What you’re getting: The vermicelli bowl of your choice and a couple cocktails.

Flickr/Toshiyuki IMAI

biwa

Central Eastside
The big news here is that they’re opening up a new ramen-centric spot down on Water Ave. If the quality stays the same we can expect another hit.
What you’re getting: While they might have one of our all-time favorite burgers, this time go with the perfectly thick udon noodles and add whatever sounds good. (All of it.)

Flickr/Ron Dollete

Bun Bo Hue

Southeast Portland
Let’s get a few things out of the way first: this place is not for the faint of heart. Their namesake dish is an intensely spicy broth filled with gelatinous and often boney pork bits and crimson cubes of coagulated blood. Seriously, if you think too much about what you’re eating, you’ll never want pho again.
What you’re getting: The Bún bò Huế with complimentary ice tea.

Flickr/Ron Dollete

Ha & VL

82nd
Once every chef’s worst kept secret, Ha & VL has quietly usurped Portland’s soup mantle. Now their daily specials often sell out and hungry people grumble about having to settle for their almost equally delicious banh mis. So if you’re going in around lunchtime, make sure to call ahead.
What you’re getting: Soup du jour.

Frank's Noodle House

Frank’s Noodle House

Broadway
No noodle list would be complete without mention of Frank’s. I mean, c’mon, Guy Fieri went there! More important, though, is the family-run noodle house's quick and friendly service and phenomenal homemade noodles.
What you’re getting: Go for the stir-fried noodles, we’re partial to the squid.

Flickr/Krista

PaaDee

Southeast Portland
PaaDee isn’t breaking any new ground (although their spinoff pop-up Langbaan definitely is), the food here mostly consists of the typical Thai dishes, but they're served up with serious care. It’s comfort food at its best.
What you’re getting: Pad kee mao, also known as drunken noodles.

Flickr/Alpha

Pho Hung

Southeast Portland
Listen, everyone has a favorite pho spot, and it should be this one. Not only does the broth come out with the perfect flavor and aroma, but it also comes out at the appropriate temperature every single time. You can’t beat that.
What you’re getting: The #4: tái, chín, nạm, gân, sách, aka, eye of round steak, well-done brisket, well-done flank, soft tendon, and honeycomb tripe.

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1. Chen's Good Taste Restaurant 18 NW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97209 (Old Townchina Town)

With its concealed facade, you might just miss Chen's, but that would be a huge mistake, because inside, you’ll find sweet-smelling BBQ duck and other meats, plus their famous, delicate dumplings, which are stuffed with (surprise) even more meat.

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2. Sen Yai 3384 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202 (Clintondivision)

The Pok Pok empire continues to grow with this old-school noodle joint on Division St, where you can snag traditional Thai breakfast eats like porky Jok porridge and Sen Lek Naam Kai soup with poached eggs. They also serve up lunch and dinner (with cocktails) in case their 8a opening time is too aggressive.

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3. Boxer Ramen 1025 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205 (Downtown)

This place is all about creating a dish, executing it well, and selling it for a decent price in a good environment. Nestled at the front end of Union Way plaza, this place has been the best place to get ramen in Downtown since its opening, and a great place to stop for post-shopping lunch.

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4. Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen 835 SW 2nd, Portland, OR 97204 (Downtown)

Luc Lac sports an interior reflecting French influences and an expanded menu of recipes from a grandma nice enough to treat you to greens with Hennessy-seared cubes of tenderloin (Damn, you ballin’, nana!), and tomato fried rice or tamarind-lemongrass-broth-steamed mussels, aka Mike Katz if you steal his t-shirt.

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5. Biwa 215 SE 9th Ave, Portland, OR 97214 (Se Portland)

Biwa is a Japanese restaurant serving up yakitori, ramen, and the occasional burger in SE Portland.

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6. Bun Bo Hue 7002 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97266

This place is not for the faint of heart. Their namesake dish is an intensely spicy broth filled with gelatinous and often boney pork bits and crimson cubes of coagulated blood. Seriously, if you think too much about what you’re eating, you’ll never want pho again.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Ha VL 2738 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97266

Ha & VL has quietly usurped Portland’s soup mantle. Now their daily specials often sell out and hungry people grumble about having to settle for their almost equally delicious banh mis. So if you’re going in around lunchtime, make sure to call ahead.

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8. Frank's Noodle House 822 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232

This family-run noodle house's quick and friendly service and phenomenal homemade noodles. Go for the stir-fried noodles, we’re partial to the squid.

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9. PaaDee 6 SE 28th, Portland, OR 97214

PaaDee's mission is to provide Thai comfort food to the masses, specifically Portland's masses, and the menu contains some of the restaurant's founders' favorite dishes from childhood.

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10. Pho Hùng 4717 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97206 (Se Portland)

Everyone has a favorite pho spot, and it should be this one. Not only does the broth come out with the perfect flavor and aroma, but it also comes out at the appropriate temperature every single time. You can’t beat that.

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