Top 10 Asian Noodles to Try For National Noodle Month

Top 10 Asian Noodles to Try For National Noodle Month

Noodles are loved all around the world, and this month of March officially marks National Noodle Month! While you may have heard of ramen noodles, there are TONS of other Asian noodles that you may have never even heard of with a variety of textures and tastes. Some are chewy; some soft and gelatinous; others are even crunchy! Most Asian noodles fall under three categories: Rice, Wheat, and Other Starches. To commemorate National Noodle Month, we’ve pulled 10 different Asian noodles that you should definitely try (that aren’t ramen)! If you’d like more information on delicious ramen recipes, check these recipes out: Jjapaguri and Seaweed Ramen.  

Rice Noodles

1. Vermicelli

Image from Google

The first of our rice noodles is the notorious vermicelli noodle that you see in most Vietnamese pho restaurants in the United States! These noodles are very thin, soft, slippery, and chewy, which makes it perfect for any dish. It is most commonly used in stir fries, soups, and fresh spring rolls! These noodles are not to be mistaken with banh pho, which is flat, while vermicelli is a round bun noodle. Beware not to overcook these, as they can get soggy and break!

Recipes: Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl, Fresh Spring Rolls, Semiya Upma, Malaysian Laksa Noodle Soup

2. Chow Fun

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Another highly recommended rice noodle is chow fun! As pictured above, chow fun is a flat, wide noodle that is soft, shiny, and chewy. This noodle is best when eaten right after it’s made, since overcooking or sitting it in broth for too long can cause it to crumble. While it is used in broths, chow fun is most popularly used in Cantonese stir fries. If you have a wok, make sure to stir fry these noodles over high heat to give it that unique umami, “breath of wok” (wok hei) taste. These noodles are the best when it comes to soaking up sauces, making it especially flavorful and delicious.

Recipes: Beef Chow Fun, Singapore Beef and Seafood Hor Fun

3.  Rice Sticks

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Rice sticks refer to three different sizes of noodles: rice noodles (thin), banh pho (medium), and pad thai or jantaboon (wide). These noodles are all straight, flat, soft, and slippery. These noodles are on the chewier and firmer side of our list, which makes them perfect in broths and stir fries. You’ll most likely have tried these noodles in pho or pad thai. When cooking, make sure to make enough for one sitting, since reheating these noodles cause them to break and crumble. They also absorb any broths, so eat these noodles fresh!
Recipes: Authentic Pho, Pad Thai, Penang Fried Rice Noodles, Pad Kee Mao (Thai Drunken Noodles), Pad See Ew

4. Kway Teow

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Kway Teow is like the vermicelli noodle but thicker, wider, and stronger. Similar to the other rice noodles, kway teow also holds a lot of sauce, which makes it perfect for flavorful stir fries. Char kway teow is the name for the Southeast Asian stir fry noodle dish.This noodle is also good with gravy sauces, much like the wider chow fun noodles!
Recipe: Char Kway Teow

Wheat Noodles

5. Lo Mein and Chow Mein

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You may have already tried the popular Chinese takeout noodle, lo mein, tossed with a variety of vegetables and a protein. Known as the spaghetti noodle of China, lo mein is a thin, soft, yellow noodle that is round and long. It’s not very chewy, like spaghetti noodles, but can give you that “bite” if you cook it al dente. The only difference between lo mein and chow mein is how it is prepared. Chow mein noodles are crispier because they’ve been fried while lo mein noodles are softer and soak up more sauces since they’ve been tossed. We highly recommend trying extra crispy chow mein, which simply requires more frying time, with a gravy sauce. It’s just *chef’s kiss.*
Try it with: Veggie Lo Mein, Chicken Chow Mein, Chinese Crispy Noodles with Gravy

6. Udon

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Udon is a popular noodle dish in Japan that is quite thick, big, and chewy. We recommend you make this simple dish with frozen or fresh udon noodles (dried isn’t as tasty). This dense noodle is popularly enjoyed in a broth, topped with vegetables and meats of your choice. There is also an instant version of this noodle that you can buy here. Definitely try making this warm, filling dish on lazy days! We also highly recommend trying chilled udon noodles if you’re looking for different ways of preparing this. 
Try it with: Chilled Udon Noodles with Sudachi Citrus, Lemon Udon with Greens, Vegan Udon Bowl with Tofu, Yaki Udon (Stir Fried), Kimchi Udon Stir Fry

7. Soba and Somen

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Soba noodles are a Japanese buckwheat noodle full of protein and fiber. This noodle is nutty, savory, earthy, thin, and round. When cooked, they are more firm than chewy. Soba noodles are popularly served in a cold broth or with dipping sauces on the side (as pictured above). While soba noodles are brown, somen noodles are white, but this is not the only difference. Somen noodles also tend to be thinner, more delicate and refined, and less nutty. This noodle can also be served cold, but is also popularly served in hot broths. 
Try it with: Cold Chile Noodles, Soba Noodle Soup, Cold Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce, Somen Noodles with Vegetables and Poached Egg, Korean Chilled Soy Milk Somen Noodle Soup, Korean Warm Somen Soup, Spicy Cold Kimchi Somen Noodles

8. Naengmyeon

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Naengmyeon noodles are quite similar to soba noodles since it’s made mostly of buckwheat. However, the Korean naengmyeon noodles usually have a variety of other starches like potato, arrowroot, or kudzu starch as well. Due to these added starches, the noodles are springier and chewier than soba, which makes it perfect for colder soups. There are two popular ways of preparing naengmyeon, with a cold, icy broth or a spicy paste. We recommend you make these dishes in a steel bowl to retain the chill of the noodles and broth! These dishes take longer to make, so the instant packet version is a popular and equally delicious alternative! 

Try it with: Mul Naengmyeon (Korean Cold Noodle Soup), Bibim Naengmyeon (Korean Spicy Cold Noodles)

Other Starches

9. Japchae (Cellophane/Glass Noodles)

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Japchae Noodles are called glass noodles (or cellophane noodles) because of its unique transparency. Made from sweet potato starch, glass noodles are rubbery, slippery, dense, and chewy. These noodles are famously added to the Korean dish, japchae, which features a variety of vegetables and meats. However, it is also used in many hot broths, inserted right at the end because it soaks up a lot of the sauce or broth!  
Try them with: Japchae (Korean Glass Noodle, Beef, and Vegetable Stir Fry), Kimchi Soup with Glass Noodles, Yukaejang (Korean Spicy Beef Soup), Bulgogi Hot Pot with Glass Noodles

10. Shirataki

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Shirataki noodles have been on the rise lately amongst those on a plant-based diet. This is because the Japanese noodle is made from yam starch (glucomannan starch), which is a type of fiber that derives from the konjac plant. Boasting almost no calories (yes, you heard that right), these noodles contain about 97% water, 3% glucomannan fiber, and no digestible carbs whatsoever. These noodles are virtually flavorless, round, and thin, much like vermicelli. Like the glass noodles mentioned earlier, shirataki noodles are also chewy, springy, and gelatinous. These noodles cook very quickly, so be careful! These noodles are commonly eaten in Japanese sukiyaki or even in little noodle nests
Try it with: Cold Sichuan-Style Noodles, Japanese Sukiyaki with Marbled Beef and Vegetables (Broth), Vietnamese Pho with Noodle Nests, Black Garlic Shirataki Knots with King Oyster Mushrooms, Shirataki Keto Recipes , Miracle Noodle Nests , Paleo Shirataki Almond Butter Noodles

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