Nothing says late fall and early winter like a steaming bowl of incredible Asian noodles. San Diego is filled to the brim with incredible restaurants, food carts and food trucks. Residents and visitors can find just about any dish they’re craving if they try hard enough.
In recent years, all kinds of Asian dishes have garnered niche followings across the city. If you’re craving Vietnamese pho, for example, there are dozens of places in many different neighborhoods where you can enjoy this noodle soup dish. You can also find places selling other kinds of Asian noodles, like buckwheat soba or pale but chewy udon.
Shrimp & shiitake mushroom wontons made with fresh wrappers & noodles takes this entire experience to another level! Mixed homemade chili oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, mushroom soy sauce (dark soy sauce), garlic, sesame oil, and a splash of red vinegar. Now that I found a place to buy fresh wrappers & noodles, I’m gonna go crazy with it and try everything! Are you getting sick of seeing noodles & dumplings yet?! ☺️ #winaswontons #winasnoods #noodsanddumps
As with many foods, the best flavors and textures usually come from hand-made, fresh foods. Noodles are certainly no exception to that rule. While there are plenty of cheap and fast sources for noodles, both at the store or in restaurants, there are fewer choices if you want house-made noodles.
If you’ve never had fresh, house-made noodles, then maybe it’s time to plan an outing to one of many local eateries that diligently make their own noodles every day. Of course, it can be difficult to determine what places make their own noodles. Thankfully, you don’t need to scour Yelp, call a bunch of restaurants or keep trying until you find the perfect noodle.
We’ve done the legwork for you, hunting down four local places in Kearny Mesa to enjoy noodles that are made in-house. After you recover from your carb coma, you’ll definitely want to visit these places again!
Homemade Colors and Flavors
Location: 4681 Convoy Street
Hours: Monday and Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Closed Wednesday, Thursday-Sunday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Steamy Piggy bills itself as a fresh take on Authentic Chinese cuisine. The place has a modern, almost minimalist design, with shelves of teapots and hanging plants on display. Some touches, like the macrame plant hangers, could feel like a throwback, were it not for the otherwise modern feel to the décor. Of course, the decorations here won’t be your focus. The flavors will be.
Although Steamy Piggy has only been open since July of 2017, they already have a devoted following thanks to their homemade noodles and dumplings, as well as their housemade drinks. Their dumplings are made from scratch daily, and sometimes they even use all-natural dyes to create rainbow-colored dumplings. They use whole-wheat flour and do not add any MSG to these little packets of flavor.
The noodles at Steamy Pig, however, are in a class of their own. They come in a variety of dishes, from Piggy Noodles made with pork belly, shrimp and chicken to Vegetable Soup Noodles. Their Dan Dan Noodles, billed as a rather spicy dish, features ground pork or chicken with a host of powerful flavors, including housemade chili sauce and chili oil. Those seeking something less soupy can enjoy fried rice dishes, as well as Bao buns and wok stir-fried dishes.
A Wide Variety of Options
Shan Xi Magic Kitchen
Location: 4344 Convoy Street
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., Friday-Sunday: 11 a.m. to 9:15 p.m.
As the name implies, Shan Xi Magic Kitchen makes incredible dishes for you to enjoy. Their menu is massive, including burgers, soups, BBQ, and even salads and the standard stir-fry. They serve beer and wine, and the restaurant does have outside seating. They also welcome kids, so you can bring your whole family for an incredible meal.
If you’re looking to enjoy some truly authentic Chinese flavors, Shan Xi Magic Kitchen should be your first destination. They serve up dishes that chain Chinese restaurants would never dream of offering. For example, their appetizers include stir-fried lotus roots, peanuts pickles in aged vinegar and tofu with preserved eggs.
The do offer some American-influenced dishes for the less adventurous diner, including a sauced, stewed beef burger and a spicy cumin lamb burger. There’s even a pork and caraway burger. There are tamer Asian dishes, too, like stir-fried lamb or beef with scallions, or green beans and braised eggplant.
Of course, the noodles are the reason why we’re interested in Shan Xi Magic Kitchen. They offer hand-pulled house made noodles. They roll, rip and cook their noodles from scratch. Then, they serve them up with an assortment of sauces, soups, meats and vegetables. There are Biang-Biang hand-ripped noodles, noodles with stewed pork, beef and even tomato and egg sauce.
Not Just Dumplings
Location: 4625 Convoy Street
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Closed Monday
Although the focus is dumplings, at the Dumpling Inn, you can order chow mein with homemade noodles. These thick-cut noodles have enough density to make eating them enjoyable and flavorful on their own, without overpowering the rest of the ingredients in your dish. In fact, you can upgrade any noodle dish, whether you want lo mein or chow mein, with homemade noodles for just $2 more.
There are plenty of options on the menu here. Noodle dishes include spicy three ingredients lo mein, vegetable, pork, and stewed beef lo mein, and shrimp, lamb, chicken or vegetable chow mein. For those seeking something other than noodles. They have a range of incredible dumplings, including beef curry, fish and chive and even vegetarian dumplings. They also serve soups and a range of stir-fried dishes, including honey glazed shrimp and black pepper steak.
You can order up a drink in their Shanghai Saloon, which has Happy Hour specials from 4pm to 6pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Their specials include $5 house wine and select draft beers, as well as liquor and hot or cold house sake. They discount some of their appetizers, including eggrolls, sun sliders, fried pig ears and wontons.
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Location: 8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite M
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Closed Sunday and Monday
Unlike many Asian restaurants, Menya Ultra does not sell take-out or delivery food. If you want to try their impossibly good, homemade ramen noodles, you are going to have to stop in, in person. In fact, you should be prepared to wait, as they don’t take reservations and there’s almost always a wait list for a table. However, there’s a reason for that wait list. The food at Menya Ultra will convert you to a true believer in the power of noodles.
They make their noodles from scratch with imported Haru-Yo-Koi wheat, grown in Hokkaido. It’s known to be a softly scented form of wheat, which they then combine with nothing more than salt and lye water. These noodles are made from scratch daily, and you will definitely notice that in the flavor, textures and scent. They use fresh, natural ingredients to bring out the natural umami flavor in dishes, meaning that they don’t have to add MSG to get that crave-worthy flavor.
Menya Ultra is proof that doing simple things well can have fabulous results. Their noodles are available in a spectrum of ramen dishes. Their Tonkotsu ramen has pork chashu, boiled bean sprouts, green onion, wood ear mushrooms and roasted sesame seeds. They also make a miso ramen and you can pick your own toppings, if you wish.