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A white bowl filled with thick, cold noodles topped with crushed peanuts and green cilantro.
Hot days are vastly improved by a bowl of cold noodles.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Where to Find Refreshing Cold Asian Noodles in Chicago

Korean naengmyeon, Japanese soba, Vietnamese bun, and more

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Hot days are vastly improved by a bowl of cold noodles.
| Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Chicagoans know that no matter the month, the city’s temperatures are hard to predict: Don’t like the weather? Just wait five minutes. As such, cool mornings that seem like a cue to seek out a belly-warming meal can turn into sweaty afternoons spent shedding layers. For a refreshing break, order a bowl of cold noodles. From Korean naengmyeon to Vietnamese bun and Japanese udon and soba, Chicagos restaurants have plenty of varieties to try. Some of the dishes listed below are seasonal, so patrons would be wise to scan the latest menus before making plans.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Me Dee Cafe

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Ravenswood’s Thai hideaway is open late, which is good news for its many fans in the area. The menu is long and expansive with lots of familiar standbys, but tucked in the salad section patrons will find a delectable combination glass noodles, ground pork, shrimp, and vegetables. It’s a nice counterpoint to the restaurant’s popular congee, best suited to cold temperatures.

Cho Sun Ok Restaurant

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Lincoln Square’s bustling Korean staple puts out a can’t-miss version of Mul NaengMyeon — thin, cold buckwheat noodles in a chilled beef broth. A study in clarity and depth of flavor, a bowl is at once comforting and refreshing. Mix it up with YeolMu NaengMyeon, a variation with radish kimchi, or Chik NaengMyeon, with arrowroot noodles.

Sochi Saigonese Kitchen

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The couple behind this Vietnamese hotspot in Lakeview have made a splash with their menu of dishes inspired by their hometown of Ho Chi Minh City. The flavors and textures are well suited to cold dishes, and Sochi’s Bến Thành Market salad — a tangle of rice noodles and juicy grilled pork with lettuce, basil, mint, daikon, peanuts, and sweet-and-sour fish sauce — is both light and satisfying.

Strings Ramen Shop Lakeview

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Popular ramen destination Strings usually errs on the hot and spicy side of soup noodles, but in the summertime, diners can stop in for seasonal hiyashichuka, a traditional warm-weather dish in Japan featuring cold noodles with ham, woodear mushrooms, cucumber, tomato, egg ribbons, and washi mustard. Vegans and vegetarians can substitute carrots for pork. It’s also available at locations in Chinatown, Hyde Park, and suburban Aurora.

Hello Jasmine-Lincoln Park

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Local Taiwanese cafe Hello Jasmine has blossomed from a tiny shop in a shared space to a mini-chain with locations in Lincoln Park and Chinatown. Much of the menu is focused on a wide variety of milk, fruit, and bubble teas, but there’s also a selection of habit-forming street food, including a cold noodle salad with a range of spice levels. Ownership aims to soon open a third outpost in Lincoln Square.

A blue and white bowl of chilled noodles with grated carrot and cucumber.
Hello Jasmine is growing quickly in Chicago.
Hello Jasmine

urbanbelly

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Chef Bill Kim has long made Chicago his playground for novel and engaging interpretations of Asian flavors. His Wicker Park restaurant aims to beat the heat with chilled ramen noodles in coconut-peanut dressing with marinated cucumber and cilantro. It’s also available at Urbanbelly’s stall inside the Time Out Market Chicago food hall in Fulton Market.

Oiistar

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One of Chicago’s top ramen spots, Oiistar doesn’t play by the rules — in lieu of traditional bowls of Japanese noodles, it puts out versions with ingredients like mussels and chicken masala. Cool off without sacrificing kick with a bowl of spicy zzolmen, chilled noodles with spinach, pulled pork, avocado, crispy almond, radish, and a fried egg.

Lao Peng You

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Chicagoans from all over the city beat a path to West Town to taste Chinese noodles and dumplings from a pair of suburban brothers sharing their family recipes. Lao Peng You’s perfectly springy, toothsome cold noodles with carrot and cucumber are seasoned with soy, chili oil, peanuts, and cilantro. Omnivores can supplement the dish with sliced beef or chicken.

A white bowl filled with thick, cold noodles topped with crushed peanuts and green cilantro.
The restaurant’s name translates to “Old Friend.”
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Momotaro

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Boka Restaurant Group’s glamorous from chef Gene Kato Japanese destination also ventures into cold noodles: delicate somen with umami-rich bonito, myoga (Japanese ginger), shiso, and tensuyu for dipping. The team makes its noodles on-site. Kato and Boka will soon open a small sibling restaurant in Lakeview, but it’s unclear if the cold noodles will make their ways north.

TenGoku Aburiya

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The izakaya-style sister spot to Michelin-starred Omakase Yume, Ten Goku is a rare spot in Chicago for cold udon, thick Japanese wheat noodles that hold up beautifully under sauces and broths. The restaurant’s Bukkake Udon comes with crispy vegetable tempura, daikon oroshi, umami-rich tsuyu, and an optional additions like Japanese pickles and onsen eggs. It’s exclusively available at lunch, so interested patrons should plan accordingly.

Nine Bar

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Chinatown’s first cocktail bar, run out of the back room of Moon Palace Express, has garnered plenty of buzz for a cocktail menu that plays on Asian ingredients and flavors. Drinkers should be sure to also peruse its food menu, which includes a cold vegan lo mein dish with spicy sesame sauce and chili oil.

Xi'an Cuisine

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This Chinatown favorite pays special attention street fare of China’s northern region, and touts a selection of cold noodle dishes. There are lots of enticing options, like slippery black rice noodles and refreshing jelly noodles, but don’t overlook the top-notch vinegar and sesame sauce thin noodles with lamb.

Me Dee Cafe

Ravenswood’s Thai hideaway is open late, which is good news for its many fans in the area. The menu is long and expansive with lots of familiar standbys, but tucked in the salad section patrons will find a delectable combination glass noodles, ground pork, shrimp, and vegetables. It’s a nice counterpoint to the restaurant’s popular congee, best suited to cold temperatures.

Cho Sun Ok Restaurant

Lincoln Square’s bustling Korean staple puts out a can’t-miss version of Mul NaengMyeon — thin, cold buckwheat noodles in a chilled beef broth. A study in clarity and depth of flavor, a bowl is at once comforting and refreshing. Mix it up with YeolMu NaengMyeon, a variation with radish kimchi, or Chik NaengMyeon, with arrowroot noodles.

Sochi Saigonese Kitchen

The couple behind this Vietnamese hotspot in Lakeview have made a splash with their menu of dishes inspired by their hometown of Ho Chi Minh City. The flavors and textures are well suited to cold dishes, and Sochi’s Bến Thành Market salad — a tangle of rice noodles and juicy grilled pork with lettuce, basil, mint, daikon, peanuts, and sweet-and-sour fish sauce — is both light and satisfying.

Strings Ramen Shop Lakeview

Popular ramen destination Strings usually errs on the hot and spicy side of soup noodles, but in the summertime, diners can stop in for seasonal hiyashichuka, a traditional warm-weather dish in Japan featuring cold noodles with ham, woodear mushrooms, cucumber, tomato, egg ribbons, and washi mustard. Vegans and vegetarians can substitute carrots for pork. It’s also available at locations in Chinatown, Hyde Park, and suburban Aurora.

Hello Jasmine-Lincoln Park

A blue and white bowl of chilled noodles with grated carrot and cucumber.
Hello Jasmine is growing quickly in Chicago.
Hello Jasmine

Local Taiwanese cafe Hello Jasmine has blossomed from a tiny shop in a shared space to a mini-chain with locations in Lincoln Park and Chinatown. Much of the menu is focused on a wide variety of milk, fruit, and bubble teas, but there’s also a selection of habit-forming street food, including a cold noodle salad with a range of spice levels. Ownership aims to soon open a third outpost in Lincoln Square.

A blue and white bowl of chilled noodles with grated carrot and cucumber.
Hello Jasmine is growing quickly in Chicago.
Hello Jasmine

urbanbelly

Chef Bill Kim has long made Chicago his playground for novel and engaging interpretations of Asian flavors. His Wicker Park restaurant aims to beat the heat with chilled ramen noodles in coconut-peanut dressing with marinated cucumber and cilantro. It’s also available at Urbanbelly’s stall inside the Time Out Market Chicago food hall in Fulton Market.

Oiistar

One of Chicago’s top ramen spots, Oiistar doesn’t play by the rules — in lieu of traditional bowls of Japanese noodles, it puts out versions with ingredients like mussels and chicken masala. Cool off without sacrificing kick with a bowl of spicy zzolmen, chilled noodles with spinach, pulled pork, avocado, crispy almond, radish, and a fried egg.

Lao Peng You

A white bowl filled with thick, cold noodles topped with crushed peanuts and green cilantro.
The restaurant’s name translates to “Old Friend.”
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Chicagoans from all over the city beat a path to West Town to taste Chinese noodles and dumplings from a pair of suburban brothers sharing their family recipes. Lao Peng You’s perfectly springy, toothsome cold noodles with carrot and cucumber are seasoned with soy, chili oil, peanuts, and cilantro. Omnivores can supplement the dish with sliced beef or chicken.

A white bowl filled with thick, cold noodles topped with crushed peanuts and green cilantro.
The restaurant’s name translates to “Old Friend.”
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Momotaro

Boka Restaurant Group’s glamorous from chef Gene Kato Japanese destination also ventures into cold noodles: delicate somen with umami-rich bonito, myoga (Japanese ginger), shiso, and tensuyu for dipping. The team makes its noodles on-site. Kato and Boka will soon open a small sibling restaurant in Lakeview, but it’s unclear if the cold noodles will make their ways north.

TenGoku Aburiya

The izakaya-style sister spot to Michelin-starred Omakase Yume, Ten Goku is a rare spot in Chicago for cold udon, thick Japanese wheat noodles that hold up beautifully under sauces and broths. The restaurant’s Bukkake Udon comes with crispy vegetable tempura, daikon oroshi, umami-rich tsuyu, and an optional additions like Japanese pickles and onsen eggs. It’s exclusively available at lunch, so interested patrons should plan accordingly.

Nine Bar

Chinatown’s first cocktail bar, run out of the back room of Moon Palace Express, has garnered plenty of buzz for a cocktail menu that plays on Asian ingredients and flavors. Drinkers should be sure to also peruse its food menu, which includes a cold vegan lo mein dish with spicy sesame sauce and chili oil.

Xi'an Cuisine

This Chinatown favorite pays special attention street fare of China’s northern region, and touts a selection of cold noodle dishes. There are lots of enticing options, like slippery black rice noodles and refreshing jelly noodles, but don’t overlook the top-notch vinegar and sesame sauce thin noodles with lamb.

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