In Search of Asian Noodle Soups
By Seoung Lee, of Chowdown Detroit
Follow Seoung Lee’s food adventures on Chow Down Detroit at instagram.com/chowdowndetroit.
For many years, I had the hardest time finding great Asian noodle soups. However, there’s been a big boom in Asian cuisine in Metro Detroit, and these restaurants deliver incredible meals to fulfill my cravings.
Madison Heights is the unofficial Vietnamese town of Metro Detroit. It’s one of my favorite cities for a great meal — so many Vietnamese restaurants, bakeries and markets in a small radius — it’s easy to find amazing places to eat.
A few of my favorites are Que Huong, Pho Hang and Saigon Diamond. I frequent Saigon Diamond the most for many reasons. It has excellent service, great food and a spacious dining area. It’s a family business owned by Quy Mai, Henry Mai and Denise Mai. The Mai family really cares about their quality and service, and it shows. At Saigon Diamond, my go-to dishes are rare beef pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and the $3 Vietnamese a la carte pork chop. It’s an excellent combo I get every time I visit Saigon Diamond. The most important ingredient of a great pho is the broth, and they deliver!
In Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, there’s Johnny Noodle King, Katoi (now closed after a fire) and Ima for great Asian noodle soups. Ima is the newest Asian restaurant of the bunch, and it delivers excellent Japanese cuisine. This noodle house is owned by Chef Michael Ransom, who has deep love for Asian cuisine.
I recently tasted Chef Mike’s amazing meals, and I was highly impressed. I tried the Forest Udon, Japanese Curry and Spicy Pork Udon. Everything I had was flavorful and made with great attention to detail. Forest Udon is actually vegan, and it’s very tough to make a great vegetarian or vegan broth. However, this vegan broth had complex flavors; I did not miss the beef or chicken broth at all.
There was a time when I had to drive to Ann Arbor to curb my Asian noodle soup craving. Now those days are gone because I have so many great places to choose from in Metro Detroit. NS
31075 John R Road,
2015 Michigan Ave., Corktown