Noodles are a staple dish in Chinoy culture. Whether it’s for birthdays, New Year’s celebrations or simple family dinners, you are bound to see a plate of noodles on the table. However, did you know that there are different types of noodles being used for every dish? This might be obvious when you’re eating at a restaurant, but when you’re at home, you might just have a pack of all purpose noodles (*ahem* instant noodles) in your pantry, which is not always suitable for the noodle dishes that you want to make. So without further ado, here’s a list of the common types of noodles, along with the dishes that you can make with them, for optimal noodle enjoyment.
Egg noodles are probably the most common type of noodles you will encounter in Chinese restaurants. As its name suggests, they are made with eggs and wheat flour, which gives it the characteristic yellow color. They are slightly thicker than spaghetti and are more chewy in texture. They are also very versatile and can be either boiled, stir-fried or even deep fried. The common dishes made using egg noodles are Birthday Noodles, Wonton Noodle Soup, and Lomi, which is made with the thicker variety of egg noodles.
Wheat noodles are a broad category to describe noodles that are made with wheat flour, sans the eggs. Wheat noodles are white in color and are made by pulling and stretching the dough, which develops the gluten and gives it a springy texture. There are different varieties of wheat noodles, and the most well-known would probably be hand-pulled noodles, or La Mien in Chinese. La Mien has a silkier and springier texture compared to machine pulled noodles, and they are usually used in Beef Noodle Soups. There is a thinner variety called Vermicelli wheat noodles, which are used to make Misua. Udon noodles are also a type of wheat noodles and are thick like Lomi noodles. There is also a gluten-free variety called Soba noodles, which are made with Buckwheat flour and are typically brown in color.
Rice noodles are made with rice flour and water, which makes it a great gluten-free alternative to egg and wheat noodles. They are white in color and turn translucent when cooked. Some types are cylindrical (called rice vermicelli), while others are flat and wide with varying thicknesses. Rice vermicelli noodles are usually used to make Bihon and Palabok, while the flat rice noodles are used to make Pad Thai, Hofan, and Rice Noodle Rolls.
Glass noodles are slightly similar to rice noodles in appearance and texture, but the difference is that glass noodles are made with mung bean flour. They are also transparent when cooked, hence why they are called glass noodles. Rice and glass noodles are usually interchangeable, although the known dishes that use glass noodles specifically are Japchae and Sotanghon.
Ramen noodles are the most universally recognized noodles, likely because of their instant noodles counterparts, but fresh ramen noodles actually taste different and can even be a bit luxurious. Ramen noodles are Chinese in origin but later became popular in Japan. They are made with wheat flour, salt, hot water and kansui, which is an alkaline ingredient that gives the ramen its firm texture and yellow color. The most obvious dish that uses ramen noodles is the classic Tonkotsu Ramen, and if you haven’t tried eating anything other than instant ramen, then you’re definitely missing out!
Pasta technically isn’t among the common Asian noodles mentioned above, but it is also one of the Chinoy staples. Fresh pasta is similar to egg noodles, as they are both made with eggs and wheat flour, but egg noodles have a higher ratio of eggs mixed in. Dried pasta, on the other hand, does not contain any eggs and are instead made with semolina flour. Pasta comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be paired with many different sauces.
Have you tried all of these noodles yet? Comment down below which ones are your favorite!