It’s hard not to like noodles. They taste delicious, can be combined with a variety of accompaniments, and are simple to cook.
No one knows for sure who first invented the noodle, but we do know that they’ve been around for thousands of years. Further, noodles are a staple in Asian cuisine where you’ll find various incantations across the region.
Here are some of the most popular types of Asian noodles, including how each is prepared and served.
Ramen noodles seem to have gotten a bad rap in the past, but that has been changing in recent years. More people are taking Ramen seriously and for good reason. These delicious noodles, made from flour, baking soda, and water, originated in Japan. They are to be enjoyed hot and paired with broth, vegetables, meat, eggs, and a host of other culinary treats.
Similar to Ramen, most people have heard of Lo Mein noodles, but not everyone knows the details. These noodles are made from egg, wheat, salt, and sometimes other additives. Lo Mein noodles are boiled until al dente and are excellent in stir-fries with chicken, beef, or shrimp. You’re most likely to find them in American Chinese dishes as well as Cantonese cuisine.
While you may not know them by this name, those crispy Asian rice noodles that commonly come with spicy dishes are called Vermicelli. These are made from ground rice and are cooked by adding the noodle to heated oil until they “poof up” and turn white. These are an excellent accompaniment to pho soup and also used as garnishes. You’ll find these noodles most often in Malaysia, Vietnam, and India.
Lanzhou Ramen are hand-pulled noodles that have a robust meat flavor thanks to a recipe that chefs must follow exactly. The rules require that these noodles be 4 x 2.5 x 0.2 centimeters and also use beef blood, beef bones, whole chicken, lamb liver, and a long list of other ingredients. The result is a delicious and unique dish that has a flavor you won’t soon forget. The noodles originated in Lanzhou, China and have a history going back thousands of years.
Soba is the Japanese name for wheat, and this simple noodle is the perfect choice when you want to avoid heating up your kitchen in hot weather. Soba noodles do need to be cooked in advance but can be served later chilled with a light soup or salad. You’ll find these noodles most often in Japan.
Another Japanese noodle, Udon is made from wheat flour and can be served either hot or cold. You’ll more often find these noodles in soups, where the noodles are topped with such things as braised beef, raw egg, and even a heavy sauce.
Hokkien noodles are wheat based and contain high levels of alkaline agents, which gives the noodles a yellow color. Popular in Malaysia and Singapore, these are the basis of well-known hawker dishes such as curry mee, Hokkien mee, and loh mee. They require only about one minute in boiling water before you can add them to a soup or stir fry dish.
These translucent noodles, also called glass noodles, are made from vegetable starch, or bean in this instance. Instead of cooking them straight out of the package, bean thread noodles must be soaked in water to soften before you cook them. Usual cooking methods include boiling, stir-frying, and deep frying. These noodles are used in soups, salads, and as stuffing for spring rolls. They are most often found in China, Japan, Korea, and India.
This is just a taste of some popular Asian noodles since there are too many too name at once. What’s clear is that, whatever your appetite, you should be able to find the perfect noodle to satisfy your taste buds.
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