1. XINH XINH VIETNAMESE BISTRO
970 SE Morrison St., 971-229-1492, xinhxinhbistro.com. 11 am-8 pm Monday-Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; 11 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday.
Tucked inside a small strip of businesses on Southeast Morrison, Xinh Xinh is best known for its banh mi and soups. It makes some of the best vegetarian pho in town. The broth puts less emphasis on anise and more on clean, herbal notes. In person, its bowls overflow with fresh broccoli, carrots, bok choy, mushrooms and green onions. When packed to go, it’s like Christmas morning—so many presents to open!
2 SARI RAMYUN
2713 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-841-5149, sari.smartonlineorder.com. 11 am-8 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-8:30 pm Monday.
Typically, “ramyun” refers in Korea to instant noodles, the peninsular answer to Top Ramen. But chef Tommy Shin’s stall in the Zipper food court specializes in a chicken noodle soup—well, technically chicken and beef broth, with melt-in-your-mouth brisket slices floating on top. This is a heretical opinion, given the proximity of Basilisk, but Sari makes the best chicken in the Zipper.
3. HAPA PDX RAMEN & WHISKEY
3848 SE Gladstone St., 503-376-9246, hapapdx.us. 11:30 am-2 pm and 5-9 pm Wednesday-Friday, 5-9 pm Saturday and Monday, 5-8 pm Sunday.
Lots of food carts make the leap to brick-and-mortar, but rarely is the effect quite so sexy as it is at Hapa. The soup here is a blend of two beloved cuisines: In the “G-Special” ramen, you’ll recognize elements of a Hawaiian plate lunch and a Tokyo ramen. But this is very much an izakaya, and drinks are as much the attraction as the soup: The ginger ale-sake highball is worth traveling across town for.
4600 Watson Ave., Beaverton, 503-646-9382. 5-8:30 pm Monday-Saturday.
One of the area’s best Korean spots is back—finally. After a prolonged reopening process following the initial statewide pandemic lockdown, Nak Won has returned, now just a pot sticker’s throw from Old Town Beaverton’s impressive new outdoor dining hall that features several Portland standouts. Despite the new neighbors, though, Nak Won remains the king of the ‘hood, serving authentic, tasty bites, along with the best soup names in town: Comfort Buttercup, When Miss Piggy Met Hot Potato, etc.
5. CULLY CENTRAL
4579 NE Cully Blvd., 503-206-8911, cully-central.business.site. 4-9 pm Monday-Friday, 11 am-9 pm Saturday, 11 am-8 pm Sunday.
Cully Central is something unique in Portland: a Lao beer bar with 20 handles boasting favorites from Breakside and pFriem. It turns out dishes you can’t find anywhere else, in particular a subtle khao piek sen chicken noodle soup with thick and chewy rice noodles and a light cinnamon and pepper broth.