If you’ve ever been to Lafayette Village in North Raleigh, you know that when you’re there, it feels like you’re transported to a different world. The narrow alleys make it feel like a European city, and the smells take you to Italy, France, and now Asia. Zanyu Noodles, the new addition to Lafayette Village, takes you all the way to Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan. Owner Michael worked in food service in several hotels around the world, including the three that the restaurant represents, and finally settled down here in Raleigh. While living in each different country, Michael made sure to learn how to cook some of his favorite traditional dishes of that culture. Now that he has opened Zanyu Noodles, he can share those dishes with us!
Zanyu Noodles is a quaint little spot with a small, but extremely diverse menu. There are several dishes from each of the three countries (Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan), so anyone who loves Asian food will find something they enjoy. Michael informed me that almost everything on the menu is traditional and has not been Americanized in any way, with the exception of the Buns, which he and his employees like to experiment and have a little fun with. Speaking of Buns, we started out our meal with Pork Belly Buns ($4) and the Spicy Yuzu Shrimp Buns ($5). The Pork Belly Bun consisted of tender pork belly, cucumbers, sesame seeds, scallions, cilantro, and Hoison Sauce. I love the taste of this bun and found that the pork belly wasn’t too fatty, like some have the tendency to be. The Spicy Yuzu Shrimp Bun consisted of kewpie, Yuzu Kasha, tobiko, sisho, salted cucumber, and seaweed. Michael described this as their take on a Lobster Roll, and I can totally see that. It also had a very subtle spice; so if you aren’t into spicy food don’t let the name scare you! We also got the Agedashi Tofu ($4) as an appetizer. This was tofu with dashi, shredded daikon, Bonita flakes, and shredded ginger. I had never had tofu like this, and it was delicious! The tofu was nice and soft, so it really soaked up the flavor of the broth it was served in.
Now onto the restaurant’s namesake: noodles. We were lucky enough to try four different noodle dishes, each of which was very different from the next. We started with the Wonton Noodle Dry ($12), which consisted of thin egg noodles tossed in a caramelized soy sauce, served with Char sui BBQ Pork, crispy dumplings, bok choi, fried shallots, and pickled green chili. The noodles were full of flavor and the crispy dumplings really added a nice touch. My boyfriend isn’t a huge soup fan, so he really appreciated that there was a non-soup option available, and this was his favorite dish. Next we moved on to the Koh Soi Noodles ($12.50), which were egg noodles in a spicy Thai curry broth. The noodles also had chicken, cilantro, shallots, pickled mustard greens, and roasted chili sauce. It was also topped with a ton of crispy noodles, which added an awesome crunch to the dish. The broth of this dish was nice and creamy. If you like spice you’ve got to try this one! Our next bowl was Niku Udon ($13.50), which had udon noodles, braised beef, caramelized onions, sweet dashi broth, scallions, and kamaboko. This dish sounds so simple, so I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor it was packing. The noodles are nice and thick, so they soak up the delicate, yet flavorful broth. This was actually one of my favorite dishes of our whole meal. Our final bowl was the popular Pork Belly Confit Miso Ramen ($13.50), which had ramen noodles, caramelized pork belly, miso dashi, Ajitsuke egg, scallion, Inari tofu, and Nori. Any ramen lovers out there will go crazy for this dish. For me, the other dishes felt more traditional and exciting, but if you are looking for pork belly ramen in Raleigh, you can’t go wrong with this one.
As a soup and Asian food lover, I thoroughly enjoyed each dish I had at Zanyu Noodles. I loved that everything felt very traditional, plus for the portion sizes you can’t beat the price. You can also order Zanyu from next door at Crafty Beer Shop and they will come bring it over. Who doesn’t want a big bowl of noodles when they’re drinking?! So if you are in Raleigh and want some traditional, delicious noodles you should definitely give Zanyu a try. I know I will be back soon to get my noodle fix.
8450 Honeycutt Rd, Unit 112
Raleigh, NC 27615
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or to taste new menu items. This meal is usually comped, as this one was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest review of the place whether or not the restaurant provided us with the meal at their cost.