Asian Noodles

Asian Noodles
Until recently, the U.S. government required a noodle to contain flour, water, and eggs to be rightly called a noodle. Since most Asian noodles aren't made with eggs, this left them without much of an identity. The FDA permitted names like "alimentary paste" and "imitation noodles," but Asian noodle producers--from the birthplace of the noodle no less--could not use the n-word. The government finally relented, and we can now use the name "Asian noodles."
agar noodles
agar noodles
These are strips of agar agar gelatin, which are usually served cold in a salad. Before using, soak them in boiling water until they're soft.
Learn more
arrowroot vermicelli
These slender white Asian noodles are made from arrowroot starch. They resemble bean threads.
Learn more
Asian noodles, alimentary paste, imitation noodles
Asian noodles
Until recently, the U.S. government required a noodle to contain flour, water, and eggs to be rightly called a noodle. Since most Asian noodles aren't made with eggs, this left them without much of an identity. The FDA permitted names like "alimentary paste" and "imitation noodles," but Asian noodle producers--from the birthplace of the noodle no less--could not use the n-word. The government finally relented, and we can now use the name "Asian noodles."
Learn more
Asian rice noodles
Asian rice noodles
Rice noodles are made with rice flour, and are especially popular in Southeast Asia. It's easy to find dried rice noodles in large supermarkets, but you'll probably have to visit an Asian market to find them fresh. Rice noodles should be soaked in hot water before using. When they're soft and transparent, drain them and…
Learn more
Asian wheat noodles
Asian wheat noodles
These are made with wheat flour, salt, water, and sometimes eggs and flavorings. Always cook wheat noodles in plenty of boiling water. Some Asian cooks recommend cooking them until they're al dente (cooked through, but still firm), while others suggest cooking them a bit longer to make them softer. Rinse the noodles in cold water after they're done and let them drain. Toss them about to prevent them from sticking together, then fry them, or add them to your stir-fry or soup. Supermarkets often carry several varieties of dried Asian noodles, which can be stored indefinitely. Asian markets often carry fresh noodles, which can be kept for two or three days in your refrigerator.
Learn more
bean curd skin noodles
These Chinese noodles are made from yuba, the skin that forms on soy milk when it's heated. They're chewy and very nutritious.
Learn more
bean threads, bai fun, bean thread vermicelli, bun tao, bun tau
bean threads
These slender, gelatinous noodles are widely used throughout China and Southeast Asia. They're made from mung beans and almost flavorless, though they readily absorb other flavors. They're commonly used in soups, stir-fries, salads, desserts, and even drinks. Before using, soak them in hot water until they're soft and transparent (about 15 minutes), then add them to boiling water and cook them for no more than a minute. Rinse them in cold water and drain. The dried noodles can also be deep fried to make a crunchy garnish or bed for sauces.
Learn more
Chinese egg noodles, dan mien
Chinese egg noodles
These wheat noodles are made with eggs, which adds flavor, color, and body. They're often used to make chow mein (in which the cooked noodles are formed into a pancake and fried on both sides) and lo mein (in which the noodles are stir-fried along with the other ingredients). Chow mein noodles are usually cut a bit thinner than lo mein noodles, but the two can be used interchangeably. Chinese egg noodles are available both fresh and dried; and some are flavored with shrimp. Cook fresh noodles in boiling water for about 3 minutes, dried for about 5 minutes. Don't confuse these with fried chow mein noodles, which are used in Americanized Chinese dishes, particularly Chinese chicken salad. Some brands are labeled "imitation noodles"; these aren't made with eggs, but have yellow food coloring added.
Learn more
Chinese noodles, mein, mian, min
Chinese noodles
The Chinese like their noodles long and slippery, the better to slurp down noisily. They're especially fond of wheat noodles, which they use in soups, and wheat and egg noodles, which they use in stir-fries and chow mein, their famous fried noodle dish. Rice noodles and bean threads are also popular.
Learn more
Chinese wheat noodles, Chinese wheat starch noodles, ganmien
Chinese wheat noodles
These delicate noodles are mostly used in soups. They're available fresh, dried, or frozen, and they come in various sizes, some as thin as vermicelli, others as thick and wide as fettuccine. Before using, the Chinese boil the noodles (about 3-4 minutes for fresh, 5-10 for dried) and then rinse them in cold water.
Learn more
chow mein noodles
chow mein noodles
These egg and wheat flour noodles are used to make chow mein, in which the cooked noodles are formed into a pancake and fried on both sides.
Learn more
chuka soba noodles
chuka soba noodles
These are Japanese ramen noodles that are dyed yellow and usually lower in fat.
Learn more
cornstarch noodles, pancit luglug, pancit lug-lug
cornstarch noodles
These Filipino noodles are made with cornstarch. Before using, soak them in hot water until they're soft.
Learn more
crispy chow mein noodles, crunchy chow mein noodles, fried chow mein noodles
crispy chow mein noodles
These fried noodles add crunch to Chinese chicken salad. They're also used, improbably enough, to make chocolate haystack cookies. Don't confuse this with Chinese wheat noodles, which are also sometimes called chow mein noodles.
Learn more
e-fu noodles, yee-fu noodles, yi mien, yi noodles, yifu noodles
e-fu noodles
These are flat Chinese egg noodles that are formed into round 8"-diameter patties, fried and then dried. Before using, cook them in boiling water briefly, then drain. The noodles can then be added to stir-fries, soups, or salads.
Learn more
Filipino noodles, pancit
Filipino noodles
In their soups and stir-fries, Filipinos like to use pancit canton, yellow noodles made of wheat flour and coconut oil. Slippery cornstarch noodles (called pancit luglug), are used in soups and salads.
Learn more
gook soo, gougsou, kooksoo
gook soo
A staple of Korea, these flat wheat noodles resemble fettuccine. They're usually served in a soup.
Learn more
harusame, harusame sai fun, harusame saifun, Japanese vermicelli
harusame
These thin, translucent Japanese noodles are typically made with potato, sweet potato, rice, or mung bean starch. They're similar to Chinese bean threads.
Learn more
hiyamugi
hiyamugi
These slender Japanese noodles are often served cold. They're made of wheat flour.
Learn more
Hokkien noodles
Hokkien noodles
These egg and wheat-flour noodles are popular in Malaysia and Singapore. They look like thick yellow spaghetti.
Learn more
Hong Kong noodles, Hong Kong-style noodles
Hong Kong noodles
These egg and wheat-flour noodles are used to make chow mein. Cook them first in boiling water, drain, and then fry.
Learn more
Indonesian noodles, mi, mie
Indonesian noodles
Indonesians like to use bean threads (which they call su un), and rice vermicelli. They also use egg and wheat-flour noodles to make bami goreng, a fried noodle dish.
Learn more
Japanese noodles, menrui
Japanese noodles
The Japanese like to serve noodles in soups and salads. It's customary to make loud slurping sounds when eating noodle soup, though younger Japanese are rebelling and eating more quietly. Kishimen, udon, hiyamugi, ramen, chuka soba, and somen are all wheat noodles, while soba is made from buckwheat, shirataki from yams, and harusame from mung bean or other starches.
Learn more
kishimen
kishimen
These are flat and slippery Japanese wheat noodles. They're served both hot and cold.
Learn more
Korean buckwheat noodles, naeng myun, naengmyon
Korean buckwheat noodles
These Korean noodles are made with buckwheat flour and potato starch. They're usually served cold, but sometimes added to soups. Boil the noodles for about 3 to 4 minutes before using.
Learn more
Korean noodles, myun
Korean noodles
Korean sweet potato vermicelli (which they call tang myon) is very slender, and has a somewhat rubbery texture. Korean buckwheat noodles are also chewy, and usually served cold. Koreans are also fond of rice sticks and Chinese egg noodles.
Learn more
Korean sweet potato vermicelli, dang myun, dangmyun, Korean vermicelli
Korean sweet potato vermicelli
A Korean specialty, these long, chewy noodles are made with sweet potato starch. Before using, soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes, then add them along with some broth to stir-fries.
Learn more
laksa noodles
laksa noodles
These rice noodles look like white spaghetti. They're used to make laksa, a noodle dish popular in Indonesia and Malaysia. Don't confuse the noodles with laksa leaves, a kind of mint that's often used to season the noodles.
Learn more
lo mein noodles
lo mein noodles
These popular Chinese egg noodles are often used to make lo mein, in which the noodles are stir-fried along with the other ingredients. They come in various sizes; use the flat ones for stir-fries and the round ones for soups. They're available fresh, dried, and frozen in Asian markets.
Learn more
Malaysian noodles, mee
Malaysian noodles
Malaysians are fond of yellow Hokkien noodles and white laksa noodles, which they use in soups. Malaysians also use rice vermicelli (which they call beenhoon), medium rice sticks (kway teow), beans threads (tanghoon), and Chinese wheat noodles.
Learn more
medium rice sticks, dried rice noodles, gway tio, haw fun, ho fun, hor fun
medium rice sticks
These rice noodles are especially popular in Southeast Asia. They come in different widths; the thinner ones are best for soups, the wider ones for stir-fries. Before using, rice sticks should be soaked in hot water until they're soft and transparent. They can then be used in soups, or add along with some broth to stir-fries.
Learn more
mi chay, mì chay
mi chay
These are Vietnamese wheat noodles.
Learn more
miswa
miswa
These Filipino wheat noodles are very slender. The dried noodles can be deep-fried to make a crunchy nest, or boiled for 2-3 minutes to make a salad, or added directly to soup.
Learn more
pancit Canton, flour sticks, pancit mian
pancit Canton
These dried yellow Filipino noodles are used to make a dish called pancit. They're made with wheat flour, coconut oil, and yellow food coloring.
Learn more
ramen
ramen
A staple of Japanese salarymen and American college students, these Japanese noodles can be used in soups or salads. You can find bricks of instant ramen in many supermarkets, packaged in cellophane along with seasoning packets which you can use or discard. These noodles are usually fried in oil before they're dried, so they tend to be high in fat. They cook in about 2 to 3 minutes. Asian stores also carry fresh or frozen ramen noodles.
Learn more
rice flake noodles, banh uot mien, kuay chap, kuay jabb
rice flake noodles
These big, flat rice noodles look like tortilla chips. They're used in soups and stir-fries. Before using them, soften them in hot water, then boil or stir-fry them briefly, usually not more than a minute.
Learn more
rice noodles, rice-flour noodles
rice noodles
Rice noodles are made with rice flour, and are especially popular in Southeast Asia. It's easy to find dried rice noodles in large supermarkets, but you'll probably have to visit an Asian market to find them fresh. Rice noodles should be soaked in hot water before using. When they're soft and transparent, drain them.
Learn more
rice sticks, rice stick noodles
rice sticks
They come in many shapes and sizes, but they can be roughly classified as thin, medium, and wide. Thin rice noodles are used in soups, salads, and spring rolls. Medium noodles are the most versatile, and can be used in soups, stir-fries, salads, or as a bed for meat or fish. Wide noodles are best used in soups, stir-fries, and braised dishes. Before using rice noodles, soften them in hot water. This will take anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour, depending upon the thickness of the noodles. After they've softened, boil or stir-fry them briefly, usually not more than a minute. It's easier to stir-fry noodles if you break them into shorter lengths.
Learn more
rice vermicelli, banh hoi, bee hoon, beehoon, bihoon, mai fun, maifun, mee fun
rice vermicelli
These are used throughout Asian in soups, spring rolls, cold salads, and stir-fries. They're similar to bean threads, only they're longer and made with rice flour instead of mung bean starch. Before using, soak the dried noodles in hot water until they're soft (about 15 minutes), then boil them briefly (from 1 to 3 minutes) and rinse with hot water. You can also deep-fry the dried noodles until they're crunchy and then use them in Chinese chicken salad, or as a garnish or bed for sauces.
Learn more
river rice noodles, chow fun guo tiao, fen noodles, hieu tieu, hu tieu
river rice noodles
These chewy rice noodles are popular in southern Vietnam, where they're often served with seafood. They're usually sold as fresh sheets, which are either left whole or sliced into various widths. Rinse them in warm water before using, then add them to stir-fries or soups, or use the sheets to wrap meat fillings before steaming them.
Learn more
saimin
saimin
These noodles are so popular in Hawaii that a soup based on them has been served at McDonald's restaurants there. They're similar to ramen noodles, only they're made with eggs and not deep-fried.
Learn more
Shanghai noodles, mi xau, pancit Miki, Shanghai-style noodles
Shanghai noodles
These thick noodles are often used in stir-fries or soups.
Learn more
shirataki
shirataki
These Japanese noodles are a form of konnyaku, a rubbery, gelatinous substance derived from devil's tongue yams. The noodles come in white or black versions; black is preferred for sukiyaki. Look for them in Japanese markets, either in cans or fresh in plastic bags in the refrigerated section. Drain and cook the noodles before using.
Learn more
silver pin noodles
These are thick, round rice noodles that are usually homemade.
Learn more
soba, buckwheat noodles, cha soba, chasoba, nama soba, yamaimo soba
soba
These chewy Japanese noodles are popular at soup counters in Tokyo. They're made with a blend of wheat and buckwheat flours, the more buckwheat the better. They're often sold fresh (called nama soba) in Japan, but foreigners usually have to settle for dried. Soba comes in different widths and flavors, including green cha soba = chasoba, which is flavored with green tea, and yamaimo soba, flavored with yams. Cook them for about 3 minutes.
Learn more
somen, cha somen, omago somen
somen
These very thin Japanese wheat noodles are almost always served cold. There are different colors, including cha somen, which is colored with green tea, and tomago somen, which is flavored with egg yolks. Cook them for about 2 or 3 minutes.
Learn more
tapioca sticks, hu tieu bot loc, tapioca starch noodle
tapioca sticks
Look for these noodles in Asian markets.
Learn more
Thai noodles
Thai noodles
Thai cooks use rice noodles of various sizes, as well as bean threads and Chinese egg noodles.
Learn more
thin rice sticks, bun, pancit palabok, sen yai, thin rice stick noodles
thin rice sticks
These are used throughout Asian in soups, spring rolls, cold salads, and stir-fries. They're similar to bean threads, only they're longer and made with rice flour instead of mung bean starch. Before using, soak the dried noodles in hot water until they're soft (about 15 minutes), then boil them briefly (from 1 to 3 minutes) and rinse with hot water. You can also deep-fry the dried noodles until they're crunchy and then use them in Chinese chicken salad, or as a garnish or bed for sauces.
Learn more