Guide to Asian Noodles (Egg, Wheat, Rice, Bean and Soba Noodles Defined)
Here are the most common Asian noodles you're likely to see in stores or on menus. When shopping, remember that dried noodles will keep indefinitely; fresh ones can be refrigerated two to three days.
Egg Noodles - made from wheat flour and egg.
Varieties include dan mian and hokkien mee (China), ba mee (Thailand and Indonesia) and mee (Malaysia). Available fresh or dried and either thin and round or like wide ribbons in shape. It has a yellowish color. Use in stir-fry dishes or soups.
Substitutes: linguine, fettuccine, spaghettini,
Wheat-flour noodles - made from wheat flour, water, and salt. It is whiter in color than egg noodles. Lo mien (China) is a narrow or broad noodle that's available fresh or dried. Use in soups and stir-fry dishes. Substitutes: fettuccine or thin linguine. Udon (Japan) is a thick, white wheat-flour noodle that's available fresh (called nama udon) or dried, and resembles long, flat sticks. Substitutes: any ribbon-shaped pasta.
Rice Noodles - Noodles made from a dough of finely ground rice and water.
It is opaque in color, they vary in size and thickness, can be fresh or dried, and are available in two distict forms.
1. Rice Stick Noodles, such as py mee fun, ngunsi fun, lai fun (China), sen mee (Thailand), bee hun (Indonesia), banh pho (Vietnam) and chee cheong fun (Malaysia), are thin threadlike and grayish white. They are sold in hanks or bundlesand used in soup and stir-fry dishes. Deep -fried, they puff up and are a great topping for entrees. Substitutes: vermicelli or capellini.
2. Broad Rice Stick Noodles such as ho fun (China). Flat, ribbonlike, and grayish white, these noodles are used in soups and stir-fry dishes. Substitutes: linguine or fettuccine.
These dried noodles from Japan are made from finely ground buckwheat flour and are used chiefly in salads or soups. They come in two versions:
1. Yabu soba, made from the outer portion of the grain, are straight flat sticks 7 to 10 inches long and pale gray in color. Substitutes: whole wheat linguine or spaghetti.
2. Sarashina soba, although the same shape and length as yabu, are made from buckwheat flour milled from the center of the grain, are white in color and are often flavored with tea, sesame seeds or herbs. Substitutes: linguine or spaghetti.
Bean-based Noodles (also known as bean thread, cellophane, or glass thread noodles) are very thin, brittle and transluscent dried noodles made from mung-bean starch. Sold wrapped in bundles, the many varieties include fun see, fen szu, sai fun (China), harusame (Japan), wun sen (Thailand) and lak sa (Indonesia). Use in soups or, like rice-stick noodles, deep fry. Substitute: vermicelli.