How to use this guide
I’ve separated the categories into Chinese and Vietnamese to make it easier to match the noodle with the recipe’s suggestion.
There are also some variations that have the same English name but are actually quite different depending on the cuisine. Keep in mind that Chinese and Vietnamese recipes use the noodles interchangably and are not limited to their particular recipes.
So if there’s one you’d prefer to use over the recommended type, then I say go for it!
Fresh Egg Noodles
Hands down, these are one of my favorites. There’s a subtle eggy flavour (hence, the name) and when al dente, egg noodles have a ‘crunch’ that no other noodle can replicate.
Thinner egg noodles are great with simple broths while wider egg noodles work well in soupless dishes because they soak up all of the delicious sauce flavours.
Where can I get them fresh?
In the fridge of your local Asian supermaket, you can get them thin or wide, depending on your preference.
Try me in:
- Wonton Egg Noodle Soup – A classic Cantonese noodle soup where the egg noodles shine. You’ll find restaurant secrets on how to get the springiest noodles.
- Easy BBQ Pork Lo Mein – A family favourite that comes together quickly. Find out the difference between Chinese ‘lo mein’ and ‘chow mein’.
- Crispy Egg Noodles with Seafood (海鲜炒面) – Fried until crispy, the bed of mein is smothered with a delicious seafood combo.
Hokkien Noodles (福建麵)
Hokkien noodles originated from the Fujian province in China. Today, they are a popular choice among lovers of stir fried noodles.
Where they shine are in their size and texture. Hokkien noodles tend to be thicker (similar to the thickness of Japanese udon or Italian cooked spaghetti) and have a nice chew that others don’t.
Where can I get it?
Hokkien noodles can be found in the fridge section of Asian supermarkets, often packaged air-tight with some moisture in the bag.
Try me in:
- Hokkien Mee – You’ll find this everywhere in the Hawker centres of Singapore and Malaysia.
Rice Vermicelli (米粉)
Chinese rice vermicelli, pronounced ‘may fun’ in Cantonese, has an upperhand compared to its noodle counterparts. It can be stir fried in intense wok heat and still retain its springiness.
Recipes that call for may fun like Singapore Noodles usually have a simpler flavour profile with texture as the main focus.
Where can I get Chinese rice vermicelli?
They’re quite easy to get from your local Asian supermarket. Simply look where the dry noodles are stored and you’re sure to find some.
Find me in:
- XO Pipis with Crispy Rice Noodles (XO 蜆煎米底) – Left on the pan to fry until crisp, they’re enjoyed with fresh pipis stir fried in an aromatic homemade XO sauce.
- Chinese Roast Duck Noodle Soup (雪菜鴨絲湯米) – There’s everything to love about how easy this recipe is. We use roast duck from the shops and tinned vegetables for a comforting meal.
Wide Rice Noodle (河粉)
If there’s a Chinese noodle you’ve come across, chances are it’s the wide rice noodle (known as ‘hor fun’ by the Cantonese community). When its cooked with the right wok temperature and technique, it accentuates any dish with a smokey flavour that’s infused in the noodle itself.
Where to get it
Hor fun is delivered fresh to the Asian supermarket. You’ll find it in the noodle section with all the other freshly made noodles. Also, if you get when its going up onto the shelves, it’ll still be hot!
Find me in:
- Beef Stir Fry with Rice Noodles – The most iconic Cantonese noodle stir fry. Make sure your wok is smoking hot for that delicious char.
- Silky Egg and Prawn with Rice Noodles – The saucier cousin of Beef Stir Fry with Rice Noodles. Another family noodle favourite!
Cellophane Noodles (粉丝)
Made from mung beans, these delicate bean thread noodles have a slightly chewy texture when cooked. They are divine with saucy dishes that have deep flavour profiles because they soak up all the rich goodness.
How to get the right one
Just like the Chinese may fun, you’ll find these in the dry section of your Asian grocery store.
Just keep in mind that bean thread noodles look quite similar to Chinese rice vermicelli when still in its uncooked form, but they are usually packaged in smaller bundles.
Try me in:
- Buddha’s Delight (Lo Han Jai 罗汉斋) – A Chinese New Year must-have. The cellophane noodles are one of many ingredients that make this vegetarian stew amazing.
- Claypot Crab with Cellophane Noodles (粉絲蟹煲) – We never skip this dish when we’re out at Chinese restaurants. All the seafood and sauce flavour gets soaked into the noodles.
- Chicken Glass Noodle Soup (Miến Gà) – This Vietnamese take on a chicken noodle soup is perfect for those days when you need something easy and simple.
Longevity Noodles (伊面)
My memory of longevity or e-fu noodles (pronounced ‘yi mein’) are almost all festive. Yi mein is a symbol for having a long life and is traditionally served during Chinese celebrations.
When cooked, it has a pleasant spongy chew that comes from the process of frying prior to being dried.
Where to get e-fu noodles
Yi mein can be found in Asian supermarkets where the dry noodles are kept, but I have found it in my local supermaket as they are quite the popular choice.
Try me in:
- E-Fu Noodles with Roast Duck – Perfect to use with any leftover duck. We often have it as the second course after Peking Duck.
- Lobster with Longevity Noodles (上湯龍蝦伊麵) – Made with Ginger Scallion Lobster, it’s a celebratory dish that we love having with New Year banquets.
Rice Vermicelli (Bún)
These light, silky noodles are a broth’s best friend. Whether you’re going for a rich or light palette, rice vermicelli will complement the flavours of any dish.
Where to find rice vermicelli
Dried bún is easy to source at your local Asian grocery store in the dry ingredients section. You can buy them thicker or thinner, depending on the dish or your personal preference.
Find me in:
- Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls (Gỏi Cuốn) – A fresh and healthy Vietnamese classic. Check out my expert tips on how to wrap the perfect roll!
- Vietnamese Tomato Noodle Soup (Bún Riêu Chay) – If you love a combination of tangy, sweet and salty flavors, this is the dish for you.
- Vietnamese Grilled Pork and Rice Noodle Bowl (Bún Thịt Nướng) – Summer heat doesn’t stand a chance when you cool down with a delicious porky noodle bowl!
Rice Noodle (Bánh Phở)
This may be one of the most recognised Vietnamese noodles simply because of the dish it’s associated with – phở. When al dente, it’s got enough substance to maintain its ‘bounce’ while its thicker width absorbs the broth’s essence.
Where to get Vietnamese rice noodle
I often buy these from the Asian supermarket. In their package, they are slightly oiled to avoid clumping and can be found in the fresh noodle section.
Try me in
- Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bò Kho) – The perfect way to enjoy some aromatic spices in a stew. You’ll never guess the secret ingredient we use for an extra tasty beef stew!
- Satay Beef Noodle Soup – Rich, creamy and indulgent. Find out how to make with less than 10 ingredients!
- Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (Phở) or its vegetarian equivalent Phở Chay – The most iconic Vietnamese noodle soup. So good, it’s worth the wait!
Tapioca Rice Noodle (Bánh Canh)
I adore the chew of tapioca rice noodles. They have some resemblance to Japanese udon except that bánh canh is made from tapioca flour (hence, the name) while udon is from wheat flour. When cooked, they become semi-translucent.
Where can I get it from?
Asian grocery stores would be the best place to buy them. There are two varieties:
(1) Freshly made tapioca noodles that are still doughy and white. It’s still coated in flour and you will need to cook it yourself.
(2) Pre-cooked and slightly oiled tapioca noodles in the fresh noodles section. A quick blanch will do.
Try me in:
- Vietnamese Chicken Tapioca Noodle Soup (Bánh Canh Gà) – Our most popular noodle soup recipe! Get tips on how to make the juiciest chicken drumsticks.
- Vietnamese Crab Tapioca Noodle Soup (Bánh Canh Cua) – A seafood spin on the original with delicious crab broth.
- Vegetarian Tapioca Noodle Soup (Bánh Canh Chay) – You’ll love Mum’s vegetarian version of a deliciously simple weekend favorite.
Clear Rice Noodles (Hủ Tiếu)
These noodles have the best parts of phở and bánh canh together. Hủ tiếu is inherently chewy from its tapioca flour base while they’re also the same square shape and size as phở. The recipes that star these noodles are equally loved soupless or with soup.
Where can I get them?
If you look through your Asian grocery store, you’ll find hủ tiếu along with all the other dried noodles.
Find me in:
- Vietnamese Pork and Prawn Noodle Soup (Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang) – Have this light meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner! It’s a classic