In a city with a pho restaurant every three blocks and where banh mi shops are as common pizzerias, Vietnamese food is everywhere in Seattle. But, you might be wondering, where is it best? As anyone who has spent time in Vietnam will tell you, the key to great Vietnamese food is freshness: the freshest herbs, the freshest meat, and, if there are noodles involved, they darn well better be made fresh as well. Which is why you'll find Vietnamese noodle shops working hard day in and day out to produce the pounds and pounds of noodles needed to keep this city eating amazing Vietnamese food.
King Oriental Foods: This wholesale only facility in the International District started producing their rice noodles and rice noodle sheets in 1994. You can't purchase directly from them, but there's a good chance you've tried their product at restaurants around the city, and you can buy it from Lam's Seafood and other Asian grocers.
Thanh Son Tofu: While, as the name suggests, tofu is the specialty here (and the self-serve fried tofu buffet is well-worth ravaging), they also make banh cuon - thin rice noodles wrapped around pork and mushrooms--and wide rice noodles in house. Finish up with some sweet soy milk or tofu pudding, too.
Van Loi Noodle Company: Like Thanh Son, Van Loi makes the thin rice pancakes for banh cuon, but they also make another wonderfully delicate specialty worth trying: banh hoi. These thin noodles come woven into sheets like a flat nest of vermicelli, perfect to eat with sugarcane shrimp or barbecued pork.
Dong Thap Noodles: This Little Saigon storefront receives a lot of attention for their giant noodle bowls--including from our TV show and even nationally from Buzzfeed. But here's the secret people might have missed as they gape at the size of the stunt bowls: those noodles are all made fresh in-house here. And they're really good - both the thin pho noodles and the thick, almost udon-like ones.
Spring Roll House-Deli: Hidden on the backside of Little Saigon, it doesn't have the shiny signs of Thanh Son or the viral-video-fame of Dong Thap, but this little spot makes their own egg noodles. They also specialize in egg rolls--available cooked or frozen for taking home.