Watch Us In Your Living Room
Enjoy Very Local on the big screen.
Visit your favorite app store to download.

Oodles of Noodles: How to Eat Vegan at Noodlehead

Noodlehead offers some stellar vegan options. Here’s a spotlight on six plant-based dishes you can try at the Shadyside restaurant.

by Alexa Peduzzi
December 16, 2019

My favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh changes quite a bit, but the current reigning champ is Noodlehead, a Thai noodle restaurant, in Shadyside.

You really can’t ask for anything more than a heaping pile of noodles and veggies in expertly-flavored sauces. And that’s a good thing because Noodlehead’s menu is fairly small. Not limited; focused.

And I love that because they know what they do well. And they do it so well.

They have 10 different noodle dishes on the menu, a handful of appetizers, and that’s about it. Each of their noodle dishes cost $9.50, regardless of the protein you choose, and their appetizers range in price from $3.50 to $7.

Looking for more vegan restaurants in Pittsburgh?

That said, a nice chunk of their menu can be made vegan. Actually, 69% of the menu. That’s right. I did that delicious math.

For an omnivore restaurant, that’s pretty impressive. Nay, that’s super impressive. And I’ve never gotten a confused look when I ask for something “vegan.” They know what to do and they do it.

Now, because all but one of their noodle dishes can be made vegan (exception being the Beef Soup, for obvious reasons), I decided to try a handful of their vegan noodle dishes (and an appetizer) to help you choose the best of the best during your next trip to good ol’ Noodlehead.

An assortment of entirely vegan dishes available at Noodlehead. Photo: Alexa Peduzzi

Eating Vegan at Noodlehead: what to order

You know. Doing the hard work. Just for you.

I ordered:

  • See Yew with tofu
  • Chiang Mai Curry with tofu
  • Pad Thai with tofu
  • Green Curry Linguine tofu
  • Crispy Veggie Spring Rolls
  • Kee Mao with tofu*
https://www.instagram.com/p/B1jd3bTBiz3/

You can get their noodles vegan with tofu (fried or steamed) or with veggies. I always go for the fried tofu, and it has never ever disappointed. Especially in the dishes with darker sauces like the See Yew and the Kee Mao. The little tofu nuggets are tossed in each sauce and are slightly caramelized before making their home nuzzled in noodles.

But what do you get if you’re only ordering one dish, not four, like a normal person? I have to say, even though I broke out of my comfort zone for this trip, the Kee Mao is still #1 in my heart. Let’s review.

See Yew

See Yewbig flat rice noodles, broccoli, napa cabbage, sweet black soy sauce, tofu

We decided to get this at a 1 on the spice scale, and it was way more tame than the Kee Mao (more on this in a bit).

That said, it’s really similar to the Kee Mao with the big rice noodles veg. That said, Yew was more salty and a bit more savory, while the Kee Mao channels more of the sweet/spicy vibes.

Alexa Rating: 8/10

See Yew at Noodlehead. Photo: Alexa Peduzzi

Chiang Mai Curry

Chiang Mai Currypickled mustard greens, crispy shallots, yellow curry coconut milk sauce, tofu

This is my boyfriend’s go-to. When it’s not vegan, it comes loaded with chicken and a nest of crispy egg noodles on top, and he goes crazy for it every time.

Luckily, you don’t lose any flavor when you make it vegan. The flavor is so balanced–rich and creamy from the coconut milk, tangy from the pickled greens, a little sweet, definitely savory, and full of that flavor that keeps you coming back for “just another bite.” Even when you’re way too full.

Alexa Rating: 9/10

Chiang Mai Curry at Noodlehead. Photo: Alexa Peduzzi

Pad Thai

Pad Thairice noodles, bean sprouts, peanuts, scallions, tamarind sauce, tofu

Out of all the dishes we ordered, this is the one that underwhelmed us the most. There were some things we liked, like the bean sprouts, toasted peanuts, and fresh lime to squeeze over the top. But there were also some things we didn’t like, like the overpowering vinegar-y flavor of the sauce.

This was a near-miss for us. Definitely not our favorite, but I wouldn’t be mad about picking off of someone else’s plate if they ordered this.

Alexa Rating: 6/10

Pad Thai (with tofu) at Noodlehead. Photo: Alexa Peduzzi

Green Curry Linguine

Green Curry Linguinesemolina noodles, green curry sauce, eggplant, broccoli, green beans, green peppers, basil, tofu

I had been curious about this dish every time I went to Noodlehead, but I never actually ended up ordering it until this time. I’m now kicking myself because woah. SO many flavors!

This was the surprise of the night for me. Green curry has such a unique flavor, and this dish completely nails it. It wasn’t super spicy (I think we ordered a 0 for this), but it was rich, slightly citrusy, and full of fresh vegetables and herbs.

The only slightly odd thing about this dish was the big ol’ basil plant served whole on top. That said, we happily plucked the leaves off the stem and mixed them into the curry.

Bonus points for this dish: it reheats the best out of the four! The flavors intensify in the best way possible. Almost worth asking an extra order to-go.

Alexa Rating: 8/10

Green Curry Linguine at Noodlehead. Photo: Alexa Peduzzi

Kee Mao

Kee Maobig flat rice noodles, bok choy, napa cabbage, spicy chili garlic sauce, tofu

It’s spicy, garlicky, sweet, and savory, yet it’s totally balanced. It’s not loaded with veggies, swimming in sauce, or topped with any flashy toppings. It’s just a big ol’ plate of spicy Thai noodles, and I’m convinced it’s the best thing on the menu.

On Noodlehead’s spice scale, I can only handle a 1 with this dish (and I love spice!). And pro tip: be sure to take leftovers home and eat it cold. Cold Thai noodles are wildly underrated.

*Full disclosure: I didn’t order the Kee Mao during our most recent trip because I get it every time I go to Noodlehead. Even so, it deserves to be included in this review because it’s truly that good.

Alexa Rating: 12/10 (yes, really)

Appetizer: Crispy Veggie Spring Rolls

Like I mentioned, we got an appetizer, the Crispy Veggie Spring Rolls. They were good, and the dipping sauce was sweet and tangy. There were only two rolls in an order, but for $3.50, we didn’t mind.

That said, I’d probably skip them next time. The food at Noodlehead comes out wickedly fast, so you don’t really need a little snack to tide you over until your meal comes out. We had just finished our rolls when all four of our entrees came to our table.

Crispy veggie spring rolls with dipping sauce at Noodlehead. Photo: Alexa Peduzzi

Noodlehead: Know Before You Go

A few other things to note: Noodlehead is BYOB! No corkage fee, but there is a small recycling fee.

They also accept cash only, but don’t worry if you forget; there’s an ATM in the back.

I adore Noodlehead in their simplicity, mouthwatering flavors, and vegan options.

So go forth! Eat vegan! And slurp up all the noodles your mouth can handle.

  • Location: 242 South Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
  • Hours: Open Daily 12pm – 10pm
  • Holidays: Noodlehead is closed 4 days a year (July 4th // Thanksgiving // Christmas Eve // Christmas Day)
Noodlehead
$$$$
Getting there
242 S Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, USA
Hours
Mon-Sun 12–10pm
More Info

Alexa Peduzzi is a 20-something lover of animals, books, and all-things cozy. She’s the author, photographer, and doer of things for Fooduzzi, the plant-based food blog. Alexa been featured in publications like Buzzfeed, Country Living, Brit + Co., Greatist, MSN, and MindBodyGreen, and she works with sponsors like DeLallo and Bob’s Red Mill. She also works full-time at a food blogging membership site called Food Blogger Pro. By day, Alexa loves to cook, photograph, and write to all of her invisible internet friends on her blog, and by night she’s typically in bed by 10, preferably snuggling with her calico,...

More Local Stories

What’s On The Menu?: Global Flavors

his episode features four chefs with roots across the globe share mouth-watering specialties you won’t find anywhere else. From Wakanda braised beef to lamb Kibbeh and Chicken Tikka Masala, find some of Pittsburgh’s best international eats!

What’s on the Menu?: Vegan Restaurants

Eating vegan is good for animals, the environment, and your health. Can it also be good for your taste buds? In this episode, we take a behind the scenes look at some of Pittsburgh’s most popular vegan restaurants.

Four Pittsburgh Restaurants You Didn’t Know Have Great Vegan Options

Here are some restaurants in the city that you wouldn’t expect to have phenomenal plant-based plates.

Ep 25: Meet Alexa Peduzzi, the woman behind the vegan food blog Fooduzzi

In this episode we talk to Alexa Peduzzi, author of the blog Fooduzzi, about plant-based eating in Pittsburgh, share details on the Pgh Open for Business Map and talk about the new All Together Beer that is available from several local breweries.

A guide to finding the best vegan wings in Pittsburgh

I bought seitan wings from five different local restaurants to figure out which reigns supreme.

Not your typical Asian takeout — a guide to international takeout food in Pittsburgh

Let’s talk international food from Korea, Thailand, India, Uzbekistan and more! This isn’t your typical takeout box.

Homestead’s Golden Age Beer Co. is ushering in a golden age of lagers

Homestead’s Golden Age Beer Company is in business to shine a light on the time-honored brews.

What’s On The Menu?: Pittsburgh Staples

Pierogies Plus, Salem’s Market & Grill, Big Jim’s, and Max’s Tavern and staples in the Pittsburgh community. Find out what it takes to create a business that lasts in the Steel City.

The East End Brewing Keg Ride: Pedaling for pale ale and a good cause

We rode along during this year’s Pedal Pale Ale Keg Ride – an East End Brewing tradition. Watch for the surprise destination and hear from founder Scott Smith about how it all came to be.