By Jason DeRusha


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We are in the middle of a historic cold snap, so cold we feel it from the inside. When it comes to comfort foods that warm our souls, there isn’t much that beats soup.

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The Twin Cities have tremendous excellence in Ramen, a Japanese noodle-soup, and in Pho, a similar Vietnamese noodle soup. So to help warm you up, morning news anchor and WCCO food critic Jason DeRusha has put together this guide to the best ramen and pho in town. Order take-out, and stay warm in front of the fire.

BEST RAMEN

1. Zen Box Izakaya: John Ng’s Instagram account is called Ramen Architect for good reason, he and his wife Lina Goh have mastered their luscious broth and layered flavors.

2. Tori Ramen and Tori 44 (St. Paul and Minneapolis): Jason Dorweiler is the only ramen chef crazy enough to make his own ramen noodles in house (next door to Tori 44 in North Minneapolis), and it is a worthy endeavor. His noodle is springy and stretchy and compliments the ramen bases he’s worked on since 2013 at Tori Ramen in St. Paul

3. Ramen Kazama: 3400 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis – You can’t take out the Ramen here, but it’s worth making the time to take a seat and enjoy. Matthew Kazama built his ramen empire by doing specials on Wednesdays at Fuji Ya, and then opened his own places. First in Minneapolis, now in St. Paul, I like the Karamiso, spicy miso broth.

4. Kyatchi: Minneapolis/St. Paul: The ramen is like everything else at Kyatchi – made with organic and sustainable ingredients, with a precision that results in incredible flavor.

5. Masu: Northeast Minneapolis/Mall of America: How does braised beef short rib with poached egg and mushrooms in a spicy kimchi broth sound? Sounds like perfection.

BEST PHO

1. Quang Restaurant: WCCO viewers picked this as the best in Minnesota, and they’re not wrong. The Tran family has been perfecting their pho on Eat Street since 1989 and they make their labor-intensive deeply complex broth in giant batches with 190 pounds of beef soup bones!

2. Kim Anh Restaurant: Brooklyn Park: try the Pho Tai Bo Vien, with rare beef and meatballs.

3. Pho Ca Dao: A cash-only hole-in-the-wall on University Avenue in St. Paul, it’s quick, easy and cheap.

4. iPho: Cheesy name, awesome pho. Get the Saigon Special with round, flank, brisket, tripe, tendon and beef meatballs.

5. Pho 79: 2233 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul: The Pho Tai with rare lean beef is my favorite (and just $8.50!), but newcomers to pho might enjoy the shredded chicken (Pho Ga).

Jason DeRusha

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