Mike’s Noodle House

One winter night, I put some cash in my pocket and drove to Mike’s Noodle House solo. It was crowded, and I was asked to share a two-top with older Chinese man who was already seated. He lives in Alaska, and was just returning from several months of travel in South America. He planned a long stop-over in Seattle specifically so he could come enjoy this bowl of soup.

Let’s be clear on the setting. Mike’s is on a side street in the International District, barely signposted, un-renovated, crowded with seating for maybe 30, and takes cash only. The menu is extensive, but most items are variations on either congee or Hong Kong-style thin wonton noodles.

So what elevates this place to specific Seattle stop-over soup? To paraphrase the Chinese man, it’s the broth, baby. The soup is thin and clear but rich in flavor from long-simmered seafood shells. The aroma is distinct and unusual– maybe like a farmhouse haystack. It’s easy to drink down and enjoy without appreciating just how special it is, but once pointed out it’s hard not to notice.
Soaking in this broth are delicious wontons, siu kai, a generous portion of those thin wonton noodles, and a little scallion for garnish.

I’ve sought after this broth elsewhere, and I have yet to match it. Don’t miss Mike’s Noodle House on your next long layover.

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