Asian Noodles are the ultimate comfort food. They're fulfilling, delicious, and versatile. They can be served hot or cold in soups, salads, spring rolls, and so much more. Do you know that there are three different classifications of Asian noodles? The categories are wheat, rice, and cellophane noodles. Each noodle type has a unique shape, flavor, and texture. We've got 13 types of Asian noodles you should know, so keep reading to find out more.
Ramen is the most popular type of Asian noodles you can find in grocery stores everywhere. Made of water, salt, wheat flour, and kansui (alkaline water), the noodles are fried, dehydrated, and shaped into blocks before packaging. These packages come with seasoning packets like chicken, beef, soy sauce, and shrimp to create a savory broth.
There are ramen shops dedicated to serving these delicious bowls of noodles in Japan. These bowls are served with various toppings, including boiled eggs, bean sprouts, seaweed, and sliced pork.
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Cellophane noodles, or glass noodles, are transparent noodles made from different starches and water. The types of starches used for cellophane noodles are potato, mung bean, and tapioca. Sold in dried batches, cellophane noodles will need to soak in warm water for about 15 minutes to make them flexible for cooking. Glass noodles don't have much taste on their own. Instead, they absorb the flavors cooked with them, making them a perfect addition to a saucy stir fry.
Cook some of these up and see why they're called glass noodles. Click here to see these cellophane noodles on Amazon.
Egg noodles are a simple mix of flour, salt, and eggs. The addition of eggs gives the noodles their rich flavor and yellow tint. Traditionally sold in a wide, loose corkscrew spiral, their thick shape, and chewy texture add heartiness to dishes. Try them in beef stroganoff, chicken noodle soup, and tuna noodle casserole.
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4. Lo Mein and Chow Mein
Lo mein and chow mein noodles both contain the same ingredients. The difference between the two lies in how you prepare them.
The Chinese translation for lo mein means tossed noodles. Lo mein noodles are similar to spaghetti noodles in size, texture, and taste, with the only difference being that lo mein noodles contain eggs. Chinese lo mein is a delicious mix of noodles combined with meat, vegetables, and an oyster sauce.
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Chow mein means stir-fried noodles in Chinese. Traditional Chinese chow mein dishes contain soft noodles with meat and vegetables, similar to lo mein. Chow mein is also available crunchy. These crisp noodles are great sprinkled on salads, ate by themselves, or even made into candy! Make haystack candy by combining chow mein noodles, butterscotch morsels, and peanut butter.
Crispy chow mein noodles make perfect toppings and haystack candy. Click here to see these chow mein noodles on Amazon.
Udon is white, thick noodles primarily made from wheat flour. These lightly flavored noodles are a comfort food staple in Japan and are served in various hot and cold dishes. Hot udon soup consists of a flavorful broth, meat, vegetables and topped with thinly sliced fish cakes and a raw or cooked egg. To make a refreshing chilled salad, toss udon noodles with cilantro, garlic, vegetables, and an oil-based dressing.
Try your own udon soup at home. Click here to see these udon noodles on Amazon.
Rice noodles contain rice flour and water. They boil quickly, have a very delicate taste, and are gluten-free. With their light, slightly nutty flavor, rice noodles are used for numerous Asian recipes. Since rice noodles absorb flavors immensely well, they are commonly used in Pad Thai, stir-fries, curries, and salads.
These noodles are a good choice for gluten-sensitive diets. Click here to see these rice noodles on Amazon.
Like rice noodles, soba noodles are gluten-free. Soba contains buckwheat flour packed with antioxidants for a distinct, earthy taste. When shopping for soba noodles, look for at least 70% buckwheat on the nutrition label for that authentic Japanese soba taste.
To cook soba noodles, boil them in unsalted water for approximately six minutes, then immediately put them in a bowl of cold water. Gently rub the noodles in the water to remove excess starch; doing so ensures your noodles won't be gooey. Serve soba noodles hot or cold as an entrée or side dish; they taste incredibly delicious coated in a sesame dressing.
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The main ingredient in somen noodles is wheat flour. Somen is very thin, resembling angel hair pasta. These white noodles work best in refreshing cold dishes because of their light, delicate texture. After boiling, serve them in a bowl of ice water accompanied by a chilled dipping sauce containing ginger and soy sauce.
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These noodles have gained recent popularity due to their keto-friendly status and are even dubbed "miracle noodles." Made from konjac yam, these noodles boast a high water and fiber content, making them almost calorie and carb-free.
Shirataki noodles take on any flavor you cook with them and work well paired with pasta sauces and added to soups and stir-fries. To help with the gelatinous texture after cooking, try pan-frying them with no oil to remove excess water.
See for yourself why they're miracle noodles. Click here to see this variety pack of shirataki-based noodles on Amazon.
10. Rice Vermicelli
Rice vermicelli is thin noodles made from, you guessed it, rice flour. Vermicelli noodles are very long and narrow. Due to their dainty structure, it's unnecessary to boil them; pouring hot water over them will suffice. They can also be deep-fried for a crispy salad topping. These noodles are prevalent in Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese cuisine.
Rice stick is another name for rice vermicelli. Click here to see the rice vermicelli noodles on Amazon.
11. Silver Needle
Also called Loh Shi Fun or rat tail's noodles, these short white noodles have a small ingredient list, including flour, tapioca starch, and cornstarch. They are straightforward to make from scratch. Just add boiling water to your flour and starch mix, stir, and roll small pieces of dough between your palms to make short, elongated shapes. Then, boil with water and oil until the noodles float to the surface. Add silver needle noodles to soups, stir-fries, or any other dish that calls for noodles.
12. Lai Fun
Lai fun noodles are short, like silver needle noodles, but have flat ends rather than tapered. The ingredients are tapioca and rice, making them naturally gluten-free. The noodles are soft, slightly chewy, and pair well with meat, shellfish, and vegetables. Gon Loh Lai Fun is a recipe that uses minced meat, garlic, and fish sauce to create a savory noodle dish.
13. La Mian
La mian means hand-pulled noodles. They are stretched thick or thin and contain vegetable oil, flour, water, and salt. In China, they are traditionally served for Lunar New Year to symbolize prosperity and long life. One famous recipe that incorporates these noodles is Lanzhou La Mian. It contains fresh noodles with beef or mutton, broth, chili oil, and coriander.
La Mian noodles can take on curry flavor, too! Click here to see this curry La Mian on Amazon.
We hope that you've enjoyed learning about these 13 types of Asian noodles. Now that you know about all of these delicious varieties, grab your chopsticks and start slurping!
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