Who doesn't love noodles? With an extensive list to cook with, it CAN get a little overwhelming. That's why I've compiled a list of all the different types of noodles we use in our family recipes so that you only have to look in one place - right here!
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 noodles that have the same English name but are actually quite different depending on the cuisine. Chinese and Vietnamese recipes use the noodles interchangably and are not limited to their particular cuisine. So if there's a noodle you'd prefer to use over the recommended one, then I say go for it!
Stay tuned for these must-try noodle recipes!
Fresh Egg Noodles
Hands down, these are one of my FAVOURITE noodles. There's a subtle eggy flavour (hence, the name) and when al dente, egg noodles have a 'crunch' that no other noodle can replicate.
In the fridge of your local Asian supermaket, you can get them thin or wide, depending on your preference. I personally love the thinner egg noodles with simple broths and wider egg noodles in soupless dishes so that they soak up all of the delicious sauce flavours.
Hokkien noodles originated from the Fujian province in China. Today, they are a popular choice among lovers of stir fried noodles.
Where these noodles shine are in their size and texture. They tend to be thicker (similar to the thickness of Japanese udon or Italian cooked spaghetti) and have a nice chew that many of the other noodles don't.
Hokkien noodles can be found in the fridge section of Asian supermarkets as they are packaged slightly moist.
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Rice Vermicelli (米粉)
Chinese rice vermicelli, pronounced 'may fun' in Cantonese, has an upperhand compared to its noodle counterparts as it can undergo the intense heat of wok frying and still retain its innate springiness.
Often, recipes that call for may fun lend themselves to showcasing ingredient texture because the flavour profile of the dish itself is much simpler.
Chinese rice vermicelli is quite easy to source at your local Asian supermarket. Simply look in the noodle section where their dry noodles are stored and you're sure to find some.
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Vegetarian Stir Fried Rice Vermicelli
Wide Rice Noodle (河粉)
If there's a Chinese noodle you would have come across, chances are it's the wide rice noodle (known as 'hor fun' by the Cantonese community). I have fond memories of this noodle - when cooked with the right wok temperature and technique, it accentuates any dish with a smokey flavour that's infused in the noodle itself.
Hor fun is generally delivered fresh to the Asian supermarket and you will find it in the noodle section with all the other freshly made noodles. Also, if you get to there at just the right time, you can still feel the noodles' warmth!
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Beef Stir Fry with Rice Noodles
Silky Egg and Prawn with Rice Noodles
Cellophane Noodles (粉丝)
Made from mung beans, these delicate bean thread noodles have a slightly chewy texture when cooked. They are absolutely divine with saucy dishes that have deep flavour profiles because they soak up all the rich goodness.
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 because you use fewer servings at a time.
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Buddha's Delight (Lo Han Jai 罗汉斋)
Claypot Crab with Cellophane Noodles (粉絲蟹煲)
Chicken Glass Noodle Soup (Miến Gà)
Longevity Noodles (伊面)
My memory of longevity 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.
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.
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. If I'm craving some soulful Vietnamese noodles, these would be my first go-to.
Dried bún is easy to source at your local Asian grocery store because of its popularity. You can buy them thicker or thinner, depending on the dish or your personal preference.
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.
I often buy these rice noodles fresh at the Asian supermarket. In their package, they are slightly oiled to avoid clumping and can be found in the fresh noodle section.
Tapioca Rice Noodle (Bánh Canh)
If I could choose another favourite noodle, this would be it. I absolutely adore the chew of tapioca rice noodles. They have some resemblance to Japanese udon except for the fact that bánh canh is made from tapioca flour (hence, the name) while udon is from wheat flour. When cooked, these noodles are semi-translucent.
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. 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.
Clear Rice Noodles (Hủ Tiếu)
These noodles have married 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-ish shape and size as phở. The recipes that star these noodles are popular breakfast items that are equally loved soupless or with soup.
A quick search through your Asian grocery store should result in finding hủ tiếu along with all the other dried noodles.
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Vietnamese Pork and Prawn Noodle Soup