Know your noodles: 6 Asian favorites
MANILA, Philippines – Noodles. The familiar, long strands of goodness continue to be a staple food in most Asian cuisines, and with good reason. Served in hot soup, wrapped up in rolls, fried and tossed with vegetables, noodles are extremely versatile and can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes.
But what is it that makes each kind of noodle special and where can we grab a bowl of it? Here are just a few of many, many noodle variations:
What is it? Soba is a common Japanese noodle made from buckwheat and wheat flour, and cut into strips by hand.
What it looks like? One of the most common Japanese noodles, soba noodles look a lot like the average spaghetti. They are thin and slightly brown-gray in color.
Enjoy! The great thing about soba noodles is that they can be enjoyed chilled with some dipping sauce, or hot in bowl of soup.
What is it? Udon noodles are Japanese noodles made by kneading wheat flour, salt, and water together.
What does it look like? Another popular type of noodle in Japan, udon noodles are differentiated from the rest by its thick and round shape, and its whitish color.
Enjoy! Udon noodles are usually chewy, soft, and neutral in taste. Much like soba noodles, they can be enjoyed chilled in the summer or hot in the winter.
3. RAMEN NOODLES
What is it? The noodle dish itself is called ramen, but the noodles in a bowl of ramen are usually made of wheat flour, sometimes with egg.
What does it look like? Ramen noodles vary in look, depending on the chef preparing them and what region of Japan he hails from. But usually, they are thin, long, and slightly golden.
Enjoy! These noodles are best enjoyed in a hot meat or fish-based broth that has been prepared for hours (sometimes overnight!) and flavored with soy sauce, salt, or miso.
4. LA MIAN
What is it? “La mian” means stretched or pulled noodles. It’s made by hand by continuously stretching and folding the dough into thin strands.
What does it look like? La mian noodles are typically long and ribbon thin, with the width depending on how many times the dough has been pulled.
Enjoy! In dishes, it is often served with beef and a brothy soup, but is also commonly served in a stir-fry fashion with veggies, seafood and sauce.
5. Cellophane/Vermicelli noodles
What is it? Cellophane noodles are noodles made from starch, yam, or mung bean.
What does it look like? This type of noodle is characterized by its translucent look when cooked. It is for this same reason that they are also often called glass noodles, though other types of noodles also take on a similar form.
Enjoy! Cellophane noodles are often used as filling for spring rolls and complete the combo of veggies and meat normally found in this appetizer. They can also be cooked along with meats and seafood, making a flavorful viand.
6. Rice Noodles
What is it? The kind of noodle commonly used in pho (a type of Vietnamese soup) and in pad thai noodles.
What does it look like? In its most basic form, rice noodles tend to look like white spaghetti. The thickness of the rice noodle varies depending on whether extra starch or tapioca was added in the process. The thinner variation of rice noodles is called rice vermicelli, often used in Cantonese noodle dishes. The slightly wider version is the type used in pad thai.
Enjoy! Whether used in a bowl of Vietnamese pho or a plate of pad thai, rice noodles prove to be a good complement to the medley of flavors in the dish.
Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below. – Rappler.com