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Winter’s best comfort food is easy to find, with this PDX guide.

Has the wintry grey sky of Portland got you down?  When the gloom hits hard, nothing will lift your spirits like a piping hot bowl of Chinese noodles or ramen or pho or Thai egg noodles. And luckily, Portland serves up all sorts of bowl to satisfy every noodle lover.  Whether your palate calls for a clear broth with rice noodles or tangy soup that packs a fiery punch, Portland has what you crave to get you through the long rainy winter.

Mom’s Kitchen Vibe

Rose VL is the kind of humble eatery that becomes your cozy go-to joint for a bowl of pho that hits the spot.  This unassuming James Beard-nominated restaurant is famous for brewing only two types of soup each day, ranging from classics like beef pho to more rare and exotic dishes like pork cao lầu noodles from the Hoi An region of Vietnam.

Rose VL’s soups sell out fast so get there early for lunch.  Once they’re sold out, that’s it for the day!  Also check out their sister location Ha VL (owned and operated by the owner’s children) for similar broths and flavors. 

Classy Ramen Bar Vibe

Afuri is one of the largest ramen chains in Japan known for their unique yuzu citrus broth ramen.  So why did Afuri pick Portland as the first place stateside to set up shop?  According to the chefs at Afuri, it's because Portland has some of the cleanest water in the U.S., an essential ingredient for making exceptional ramen.

Take in Afuri’s stylish decor of minimalist-Japan-meets-chic-modern as you enjoy their signature dish: yuzu shio ramen.  Don’t forget to pair the order with a juicy plate of pan fried gyoza.

Trendy Thai Cafeteria Vibe

Looking for a place to rest and grab a bowl of noodles after a busy day of shopping in Southeast Portland’s Hawthorne Street?  Khao Moo Dang’s intimate cafeteria setting is the perfect fusion of laid-back cafe meets neighborhood bar. 

The Ba-Mhee Tom Yum Soup will deliver on your noodle needs with its sweet-and-sour broth, combined with crispy pork and sausage from the restaurant’s iconic Khao Moo Dang dish.  Don’t forget to pair your noodles with a Thai-inspired cocktail like the Thai Daiquiri made with Mekhong Thai Rum and tropical fruit flavors.

Street Food Vibe

When a longtime China expat from Portland and a local chef combined forces, they created Danwei Canting: a Portland favorite serving up China’s most recognizable street food.  Danwei Canting’s decor will transport you to China with its colorful floor-to-ceiling street art that evokes the pop art vibes of Beijing.  

For chewy noodles that hit your spice craving, try the Lamb Kuan Mian: wide, hand-pulled noodles topped with shredded lamb meat in a spicy Szechuan sauce.  Don’t forget to try their unique Chinese liquor (bai-jiu) cocktails, like the Beijing lychee lime mojito.

Fast and Easy Vibes

Hungry and need a bowl of Asian noodles, fast?  Pho Mekha whips up mouth-watering noodles at a dizzying speed, with most dishes served in under ten minutes from order.  

Pho Mekha’s claim to fame is their unique Phnom Penh dish served with rice or egg noodles in a clear and refreshing broth that strikes the perfect balance of crisp-yet-vibrant flavors.  If you’re feeling like a second or third round, the turmeric mi quang noodle soup and beef pho will make the oncoming food coma worth it.

About the Author:

Mary Halloran

Mary Halloran is a global traveler with roots in the mountains of Utah, but now calls Portland, Oregon home. She is an expert in all things Japan and China and spent nearly seven years living in Beijing, Shanghai, and rural Japan. When Mary isn’t updating her blog The Ruby Ronin, you can find her watching foreign films, practicing Chinese calligraphy, slurping down a bowl of pho, or hiking the forests and valleys of the Pacific Northwest.