Five Great Vegetarian Noodle Soups in NYC

An Choi's Pho Chay
An Choi's Pho Chay

There are pros and cons to being a vegetarian, and for a long time, giving up bowls of hot, steamy, noodle soup was a con: It was difficult to find a version in the city that wasn't meat-based. Now, though, vegetarian soups have made their way onto ramen and pho menus all over the city. Just in time for the cold weather, here are five vegetarian noodle soups worth trying, delicious even if you're an omnivore.

Pho Chay at An Choi, 85 Orchard Street, $9.50 We'd be inclined to put An Choi on this list just for utilizing the smartest noodle soup takeout Tupperware we've ever seen: Everything but the broth in one usable, covered soup bowl, and the broth in a separate container. All you need to do is pour, no giant bowl of your own needed. But carryout containers in themselves do not a top veggie soup make--so it helps that the slurping is good. The vegetable broth is light and redolent of fresh vegetables instead of additives like soy sauce, and it swims with the traditional mushroom and bok choy plus the unusual addition of fresh asparagus. The soup's only weakness is the tofu, which has great texture but no taste.

Vegetable Broth at Minca, 536 East Fifth Street, $13.50 We'll admit we were struck by the price of this vegetarian ramen when we first spied it on the menu at Minca: It costs more than many of its pork and chicken counterparts. But when our first bowls arrived, our wallets stopped complaining. Topped with cabbage, mushroom, bamboo, corn, seaweed, and an egg, we almost forgot there were noodles underneath it all. (Stick with the recommended wavy noodle, by the way.) But the soup doesn't hide behind the toppings: The broth is savory and thick, and it can easily distract from all of accoutrements.

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