A peek behind the half-wall that separates kitchen from dining room shows a busy, boisterous crew, hard at work preparing sushi, noodles, bao buns, and even boba. Servers with tablets slung over their shoulders sing along to K-Pop songs, and between filling tea and dropping off gigantic bowls of steaming hot ramen, they kindly redirect a toddler who has begun following them around and visiting with other diners. The atmosphere is light—actually, the atmosphere is Fun.
Fun Noodle Bar is a relatively new establishment in Amarillo. After opening in 2021, it has carved out a name for itself as the go-to (for this diner, anyway) for all manner of steamed buns. The perfectly pillowy pork buns adorned with a bright green crunch of lettuce dipped in the accompanying hoisin sauce are what this diner craves at the start of every meal. They are that good—but second only, perhaps, to a brothy soup dumpling that delivers an adventure beyond taking a first bite (first, nibble a small hole, then pour the soup from inside the dumpling into a spoon, slurp the broth, then finally eat the rest of the dumpling). Or maybe the perfect starter is steamed dumplings, which come eight to an order, enough to share, or to mix-and-match a variety: a couple vegetarian—flavorful, bright and veggie-centric, a couple stuffed with a salty and savory pork filling, and a couple of the crowd-pleasing and hearty beef-filled options.
Although it can be tempting to fill up on starters, save room for Fun Noodle Bar’s namesake noodles. The menu notes that Tonkotsu Ramen is its top-rated and most-popular ramen, and it is easy to understand why. Steaming hot and flavorful, with fresh noodles that somehow remain slurpable until the last drop, the Tonkotsu is topped with mushrooms, corn, crunchy and fresh onions, fish cake, meat of your choice, and crowned with a perfectly soft-cooked and seasoned boiled egg.
Dry noodle dishes also do not disappoint. The chow mein is served with a sauce much more akin to gravy than its distant cousin broth. Crisp-tender veggies and the diner’s choice of protein perfectly balance the boiled noodles. Although many diners might choose to add meat to the noodles or soups, Fun Noodle Bar provides truly tasty options for vegetarians, who may often see salads or fries as their only option on franchise menus.
Although its specialty is noodles, Fun’s sushi is reliably good. My tip is to order a roll to share with the table. Try the Dynamite roll—it is fire. Literally spicy, but also literally served in an aluminum boat that protects most of the roll from the lake of fire on which it sits.
A dish almost too adorable to eat, the dessert red bean buns are served in a steamer basket, delicately folded and carefully painted to resemble a piece of fresh fruit. They elicited a soft “aww” from this diner’s tablemates and those around us, as well.
Maybe it’s the carbs consumed, maybe it’s the positive and energetic servers who will pack your soup into leak-proof containers if you happen to have leftovers, maybe it’s the pop music—but you cannot leave this place unhappy, and the menu is extensive enough to keep you coming back for favorites and more Fun.