One of the joys of feeling frosty is warming up with a tasty, big bowl of hot Asian noodle soup. We love sprinkling all sorts of condiments into a beautiful broth, making perfect spoonfuls and slurping soft noodles as they splash down our front. From ramen to pho, with wontons and pork, we’ve narrowed it down to five of our favourite places to get stuck in.
1: Grandpa's Pho at Bolaven
597 Mount Eden Rd, Mt Eden
This perfect pho reflects owner Sip Mounlath's Laos heritage. We're told her 80-year-old grandmother came into the kitchen to teach the chef how to make this well-balanced family recipe, using taste, smell and not a word of English. The result is one of the best soups you will try in Auckland. The hearty broth makes the mouth hum with every spoonful, and the soft beef melts. Don't be afraid to play with the various condiments on offer such as pickled cabbage, lemon chilli flakes, crushed peanuts and fried shallots.
2: Wonton Noodle Soup at Chinese Kitchen
Mercury Plaza, 23-29 Mercury Rd, Newton
This scungy foodcourt off K Road isn't going to win any awards for its ambience or outlook, but just inside the door sits Chinese Kitchen, a friendly and thrifty joint boasting pics of patrons including Richie McCaw and his All Black mates. Get yourself a bowl of the $10 wonton noodle soup and may we suggest adding some sweet and crispy barbecue pork. The silky handmade wontons are packed with pork and we praise the perfect ratio of broth to noodles, wontons, pork and bok-choy.
3: Ramen at Chop Chop Noodle House
Ponsonby Central, 140 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
An extension of popular Blue Breeze Inn, Ponsonby Central's Chop Chop Noodle house serves up a killer ramen noodle dish made with rye noodles. All appeal, but the $18 roasted pork belly with pickled cucumber is our favourite - crispy bits of meat and a soft boiled egg bob in the beautiful broth. If you're feeling ravenous try your hand at the Cobra Kai Super Mega Ramen ($25) packed with all sorts of Asian delights like kimchi, crispy fried chicken and barbecue pork. The service here is stand-out, with hip hospo folk dressed in Hawaii shirts working their magic in this kind of hidden-away Tiki hut.
4: Laksa at Selera
487 Khyber Pass Rd, Newmarket
This has been our number one laksa outlet for a while now, and we're not alone, the Malaysian cheap eat has been known to sell-out of its steaming noodle soup on a busy Newmarket night. The huge bowl will fill your belly and warm you up - it's creamy, it's spicy, it's rich, it's thick and will only set you back $13.50. We bet you go back more than once.
5: Kung Fu soups at Shaolin Kung Fu Noodle
636 Dominion Rd, Balmoral
We've seen this colourful Dominion Rd restaurant packed early on a Monday night, its hand-pulled Chinese noodles are that good. The menu is massive, but we reckon you don't need to go past the first dozen or so "Kung fu" dishes - these $12 bowls of hot, meaty broth are all laced with knots of the thick, slightly chewy noodle. We say the sour lamb noodles are the winner (and our waiter agrees), best dressed with glugs of soy sauce, vinegar and chilli to your taste.