Noodles, a staple dish of Asia, is just as diverse as its sibling, rice. From instant or 2-minute cups of delight to a full plate of mie goreng (meaning fried noodles), noodles is a meal for all reasons and seasons.
Unsurprisingly, the varieties of dishes made from noodles are only present because there are so many types of noodles to choose from. The different noodles vary from each other in shape, size, flavour, base ingredient and texture, amongst other factors!
Here are the 5 popular types of noodles used in dishes of all styles from savory to sweet that you may have tried (some even without your knowledge!) but didn’t know about.
Grab a bowl — it’s noodle time!
The taste of ramen noodles is nothing short of a trip down memory lane, if there was a food stall on that street. Of Japanese origin and made from regular wheat flour added with salt and an alkaline agent, kansui or lye water, ramen is the most popular form of noodle we see around.
Picture from Chowstatic
What it’s like: Usually found dried in blocks of crispy, curly noodles, once cooked, it turns wavy. When cooked, it’s easy to slurp and chewy or soft to eat.
2. Chow mein
Chow means crispy, which is exactly what these noodles are like. Originated from China and made with wheat flour, chow mein is stir-fried and served as a bed under a thick flavorful sauce with vegetables.
Picture from Wendy’s Noodle Cafe
What it’s like: Thicker than vermicelli, chow mein is available as short sticks unlike your regular noodle. When fried, it gets crispy and retains its crispiness even when served with any gravy.
3. Glass noodles
Originated from China and made with mung-bean starch, glass noodles, also known as cellophane noodles, are transparent or clear, long threads that are used in all kinds of dishes like soups, stir-fried noodles or even hot pots. In India, glass noodles are primarily used in the sweet dish, falooda!
Picture from TripAdvisor
What it’s like: Thin and brittle when dry, it can range from hair-like width to strips and sheets. Once cooked, it retains a clear colour but becomes extremely soft to eat.
4. Rice vermicelli
Vermicelli differs from glass noodles since it’s made from rice. These vermicelli strands are eaten stir-fried, in soups and broths or as noodle dishes. The similarity between vermicelli and glass noodles is that they’re both used in Indian sweet dishes. Vermicelli features in popular servings like sevai, seviya kheer and payasam!
Picture from Bawarchi
What it’s like: Thin, long, fragile vermicelli strands are sold in bunches – sometimes, they’re also sold as short sticks by the kilo. If cooked, they are cream-colored and soft to eat. If fried, they have a crunchy texture.
Originating from Italy, pasta is also a type of noodle made from durum wheat. Although pasta is noodle, pasta has just as many varieties as there are noodles! From long, thin spaghetti strings to short, tubular penne pasta, there’s too many dishes and too many variations of pasta to suffice a lifetime of eating.
Picture from The Good Shopping Guide
What it’s like: Hard, uncooked pasta is sold in many shapes and sizes. Once cooked, it retains its original shape and size and is firm, yet soft and chewy to eat.
A lot of food for thought? Let’s get you some food for your tummy as well. Fire up the Swiggy app and order in some pan Asian delicacies from restaurants near you now!