If you adore noodles but the thought of hovering over a bowl of steamy ramen makes you sweat, we’re with you. The good news is there are many chilled noodle options to enjoy in Austin this summer.
Here are the top cold Asian noodle dishes that will cool you down when the hot weather is bumming you out.
The top cold noodles contender is tucked away at this inconspicuous spot that opened in the spring. The chefs from Osaka focus on introducing the art of handmade Japanese noodles to Austin. While the buckwheat soba is fantastic, the udon truly sets this spot apart. Don’t miss the Ten-Zaru udon, chilled udon served with a house-made dashi broth for dipping and a generous basket of assorted tempura. Be sure to add the accompaniments (nori, sesame seeds, green onion, grated ginger and grated daikon) into the broth before dipping. For the adventurous, try the chilled, slippery Bukkake-udon. The chilled noodles are topped with onsen (hot spring) egg, slimy grated Japanese yam, tempura, tobikko and green onions.
Another spot to enjoy cold Japanese noodles is at this well-loved eatery on Airport Boulevard. In fact, Kome houses two different versions. Kome offers a traditional Ten-Zaru soba, served with shrimp tempura and dipping sauce that's garnished with quail egg, fresh wasabi and grated daikon. The Hiyashi Chuka is a modernized cold ramen noodle salad loaded with vegetables, crab stick, salmon sashimi and pickled ginger. The refreshing plate is dressed with a tangy combination of Kewpie mayo, spicy mustard and house vinaigrette.
Xian Sushi and Noodle
This Chinese kitchen is best known for hand-pulled noodles. Each serving is pulled to order and diners can even choose the thickness according to the broth or sauce base. The cold sesame chicken noodles opt for spaghetti-width noodles and traditional toppings: shredded steamed chicken, cucumber and a creamy sesame dressing. For a modern spin, Xian adds red bell pepper strips and crushed peanuts for crunch and a dash of wasabi for kicks. Good news for noodle fans up north, Xian recently unveiled a new Northwest location on Ranch Road 630N.
Together Korean Restaurant
When craving spicy and fried drinking food, this unassuming mom and pop shop always delivers. This hidden gem is no looker, but don’t let the lack of decor fool you. Gather some friends over chilled makegolli (unfiltered Korean rice wine) and load up on Korean fried chicken, pajeon (seafood scallion pancakes) and nakji bokkeum (spicy stir-fried baby octopus). To balance out the bold flavors, order the kongguksu, chilled somyeon noodles in house-made soy milk. The soy milk’s subtle nuttiness, mixed with the thin wheat noodles, creates a satisfying, cooling effect.
Liang pi, literally translating to "cold skin" is a popular noodle dish that’s often enjoyed as an appetizer. Many Chinese provinces fix up their own version of thin, slippery noodle sheets dressed in vibrant sauces. In Shaanxi, they often serve wheat noodles in a garlicky black vinegar dressing, while a thicker sesame sauce often coats clear bean noodles in Southern regions. Here, the Sichuan kitchen dishes up chilled mung bean noodles with shredded chicken, cucumber and a slathering of fiery chili oil with toasted garlic and peppercorns. This spicy and cold combo will satisfy anyone's appetite on a muggy day.