If the Healthy Noodle House (2716 West 4th Avenue) was a food truck in downtown Vancouver, it’d be seeing lineups at lunch hour and garnering lots of raves on blogs and review sites. Alas, it’s a modest Chinese noodle shop in Kitsilano, overshadowed by the overrated Naam Restaurant (2724 West 4th Avenue) a few doors away.
My advice: skip the ketchup-infused “Thai” noodles at the Naam and dive into a satisfying bowl of vegetarian noodle soup at the Healthy Noodle House. Order slips make it easy to customize your MSG- and oil-free meal.
First, you pick what vegetables you’d like. Options include bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, green onions, snow peas, cilantro, peppers, baby bok choy, celery, and “all above”.
Second, you select your preferred kind of noodles. There’s fine and thick “regular” (ramen), udon, rice, and buckwheat soba noodles to choose from.
Third, you have the option of picking a “meat”. For vegans, the menu offers tofu, veggie ham, and veggie fish balls. Lastly, you mark down whether your meal is “for here” or “to go”.
A basic vegetable noodle soup will cost you $6.75. Tofu brings the price up to $7.25. Adding veggie ham or veggie fish balls makes your soup $8.25.
During our first visit to the Healthy Noodle House, its friendly chef-owner told us his delicious broth contains no animal products, as it’s based on seaweed and mushrooms. He also makes the hot sauce on the restaurant’s tables. If you like it, you can buy a jar of the spicy stuff.
Business has apparently been slow during the Healthy Noodle House’s eight years of existence, but it’s gradually picking up. All I know is we’ll definitely be back, and we won’t miss waiting in line outside the Naam.
The Healthy Noodle House is open Monday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.