Dining Out: Fortune Noodle House, Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro, Maki Express

Dining Out: Fortune Noodle House, Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro, Maki Express

I love Asian food, especially Thai curry sauces and Vietnamese pho. I also like fresh Chinese food (especially vegetable based dishes) and rich Japanese ramen. Korean hot clay pots with kimchi is masterful. I am always on the lookout for good Asian restaurants. Luckily I found three great places I’d recommend if you want to try good food locally. Both are located near the University of Cincinnati within walking distance of each other, so consider visiting in the summer when parking is more available and the lunch crowd not so large.

Fortune Noodle House

If you’ve never visited Fortune Noodle House you are missing out. Yes, it’s not much to look at inside but you won’t care. They specialize in hand pulled noodles and you can usually see someone turning them over in the kitchen on your way to your seat. I have visited here several times and have found everything to be fresh and delicious. I suggest the spicy pig ears (below) with fresh cilantro as a starter. They are tender and flavorful. The hand pulled noodles are the main draw but every dish I’ve had so far has been well prepared and fresh. Get a bubble tea while you’re there if you’ve never had one before. Website

Pig Ears from Fortune Noodle House
Pig Ears from Fortune Noodle House
Beef and Hand Pulled Noodle Soup at Fortune Noodle House
Beef and Hand Pulled Noodle Soup at Fortune Noodle House

Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro

I love pho. The combination of long rice vermicelli noodles and rich beef broth is my idea of comfort food. Combine bean sprouts and a few slices of jalapeno and the dish just seems complete in every respect. I found my visit to Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro very pleasurable. The interior is a little more updated and spacious, and the food is very fresh. The fried spring rolls were crisp and tasty. Their pho, of course, is extremely good. UPDATE: Unfortunately this restaurant closed in January of 2020!

Vietnamese beef pho
Vietnamese beef pho

Maki Express

When sushi was a thing ten years ago or so I was all on board. At that time ramen was the overlooked bastard cousin in Japanese cuisine here, but its time has finally come. I ate a LOT of ramen my junior year in college and have trouble eating it now, except for the authentic stuff you get at good Japanese restaurants. Maki Express is a small establishment with a really cool, albeit stuffed into a smaller space, Japanese big city decor. It’s what I imagine a small noodle shop tucked away in a hip section of Tokyo might look like.

The ramen is what what you should be eating with a thick, rich broth and a hard boiled egg tossed in. Website

Maki Express Ramen
Maki Express Ramen
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