The Non-Ramen Noodle Soup Lovers List [Split from Ramen thread]
I'm not really a "Ramen" fan per se, since it usually applies to the weaker Japanese derivatives of hearty northern China/Korea noodle soups. (Why didn't they take the idea and run with it the way Taiwan did?)
I do dearly love my meaty (and sometimes veggy) noodle soups, however, and hope that this topic will embrace all such (but avoid the more southern wonton noodle soups, which are subject of many discussions elsewhere). I'm not much of a listmaker nor a fan of ranking, but I'll start by tossing out a mention of the Taiwanese Beef Noodle at Tea Garden in San Francisco.
No argument from me there as I too love a good bowl of beef noodle soup, shui gow or won ton cantonese noodles (which the broth is nothing but MSG), or Zam Pong spicy Korean seafood noodles, but you also have to take into account that ramen hasn't just become a fad here, but also integrated into pop culture worldwide. Ramen is huge in other parts of Asia. It is just like Japanese animation and even Japanese and Korean soap opera dramas and movies which have hit harder than typhoons and hurricanes.
So where else do you go for Northern Chinese style noodle soups? How about the Shanghainese style chicken and bok choy soggy noodle soup (luan ji huey mien?) which I have yet to find a decent version here (the MSG ladened ones in Hong Kong are sooooooooo good).
re: K K
I don't think chicken and bok choy soup is Shanghainese at all. I've never seen it in Shanghai or in my wife's cooking. (The white-stalk bok choy is almost unknown to Shanghainese to begin with.)
To tell the truth, when I hanker for noodles, I'll go somewhere where I'm playing to the strength of the establishment, which in my neighborhood means egg noodles at someplace like ABC, or pho (Golden Flower or Chick 'n' Noodle Too). I'll add that the "Shanghai" noodle soup at Hon's is a disappointment.
In Shanghai I can delight in going to a northern-style noodle shop (mian guan) for noodles, but you don't find "mian guans" here. At places like San Tung, even Shanghainese restaurants, we're usually there in mumbers for dinner, and while soup is alway a part of dinner it's never noodle soup, which is seen as a stand-alone meal.
San Tung has a lot of stuff to tempt me, but I've never thought of just going there for noodles, but maybe I should make a point of it. The main reason for asking that Chinese/Korean noodles be included in this thread is to get people to nudge me to go out for noodles someplace I wouldn't think of otherwise.
A&J's Cupertino - Taiwanese spicy beef flank and tendon noodle soup
San Tung Irving - five spice beef noodle soup San Dong style
Food Topia (San Jose, past Cupertino)- spicy beef noodle soup
Chef Liu (Mountain View) - beef tendon noodle soup (decent, but not the greatest, convenient for the area)
Egg noodle soups:
Ming Tai (Millbrae or Noriega SF) - shiu gow noodles
Vung Tau III (Newark) - they used to offer a duck leg egg noodle soup, it was superb. Next best thing is their duck salad with pho soup and bamboo shoots, tie with one of the egg noodle (dry or with broth) with shrimp cake and crab claw.
Pho Vi Hoa (Los Altos/MV borderline) - seafood egg noodle soup that reminds me of Vung Tau's.
Fat Wong's - Clear broth beef brisket (ngau lam) in egg noodle soup. This was great a year ago, but sadly last visit they went downhill, so the hunt is on for the next best place for this...wonder how Broadway Bistro or Cafe Selena's version (Millbrae) fares?
Not sure where to categorize this one...
Z&Y Chinatown (or something like that) - the crossing bridge noodle, Yunanese dish, was pretty good.