Used in soups, salads or stir-fries, made from rice or wheat, eaten hot or cold, noodles are incredibly versatile and ubiquitous in Asian cuisine. Here’s a small guide to noodle varieties and how to cook them to help you get your bearings!
If you’re familiar with one kind of Asian noodle, it’s probably rice noodles. Made from rice flour and water, they have a tender and delicate texture, with a subtle taste that pairs well with lots of different dishes. They’re also easier to digest, since they’re glutenfree.
There are all kinds of different rice noodles in a variety of sizes, colours and flavours, but the most popular are rice vermicelli. These superthin noodles only need to be soaked in hot water for a few minutes before they’re ready to serve. You can add them to soups, like the always popular pho, as well as salads, and even stirfries as a rice substitute. Wider rice noodles are also common, used in stirfries and classic dishes such as Pad Thai.
Made from wheat flour (and often powdered eggs), wheat noodles have a firmer texture and a slightly stronger taste than rice noodles. They also come in a wide range of sizes and flavours—you can even find green tea-flavoured noodles! Popular in China, wheat noodles are a key ingredient in chow mein, chop suey and noodle bowls.
Japanese udon noodles are thick noodles made from wheat flour. They have a uniquely soft and elastic texture, making them a particularly versatile ingredient. They are extremely tender and are delicious in stirfries and soups, as well as traditional Japanese hot pot.
Ramen noodles look a lot like udon noodles, but they’re smaller and wavier. They often have a salty taste from the broth they’re cooked in. Although they’re a key ingredient in delicious ramen soup, of course, they’re also great in a number of recipes, both classics and those a bit more out there.
Visit the recipe section of our website for a whole host of interesting ways to cook Asian noodles!