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All about Asian Noodles
Most supermarkets in Singapore stock an array of Asian noodles from China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and from around the region. These noodles, which are of different shapes, lengths and textures, are made from many different kinds of flour including wheat, buckwheat, rice, mung bean and more. Find out more about the different varieties of noodles and how they should be cooked – some should be soft after its cooked, while others should have a firm bite.
1. Thin Chinese Egg Noodles
One of the most common noodles used in Chinese dishes, thin Chinese egg noodles are made from rice flour or mung bean starch and wheat flour. It is easy to cook and can be used in many dishes.
2. Flat Chinese Stir-Fry Egg Noodles
Made with wheat flour and egg, this variant of egg noodles are commonly used in stir-fry dishes – paired with shiitake mushrooms and sliced scallions. A great stomach-filler and also a delicious linguine look-alike, this noodle is a popular option of carbohydrates at Chinese wedding dinners.
3. Hokkien Noodles
A spaghetti look-alike, these noodles, which are made from wheat flour and eggs are commonly used in an array of Asian dishes including Laksa, Mee Goreng, Lor Mee and even the stir-fried version of the Hokkien Noodle. It is very easy to cook and prepare – simply cover the noodles in boiling water and let stand for a minute, drain and add to your soup or sauces.
4. Mee Pok
This egg noodle, which is characterised by its flat and yellow appearance, is most commonly used in “bak chor mee” – minced meat mee pok and “yu wan mee” – fish ball mee pok. The former is a staple offered in most hawker centres and coffee shops in Singapore, and is well loved for its al-dente texture and flavourful sauce.
5. Kway Teow
Also known as stir-fried strips of rice cake, “hor fun” or “kway teow”, is usually stir-fried over high heat with a slew of ingredients including pork lard, dark and light soy sauce, vegetables, cockles, Chinese sausages, eggs and chilli (optional). Kway Teow can also be prepared in soup dishes like fish ball noodles or kway teow soup with minced meat.
A popular noodle used in spicy coconut broth, this rice vermicelli is easy to handle and cook. It can be served two ways – in a spicy coconut milk broth or in sour asam. Both are equally favoured among locals in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.
A simple way to identify Udon noodles would be it’s fat and round appearance – it is the thickest type of Japanese noodles. These thick and chewy noodles, which are made from wheat flour, salt and water, are usually served in broth, topped with sliced scallions, fish cakes, nori and sweet bean curd.
8. Bee Tai Mak
Also known as “silver needle noodles” or “rat noodles” because of its short and white appearance, bee tai mak is commonly served in a stir-fried dish or in soups. Made from ground rice flour, this variant of noodles has the texture of flat rice noodles (kway teow) – chewy and smooth to the palate.
9. Ban Mian
Made from egg, flour and water, ban mian is usually served in a tasty soup with anchovies, vegetables, minced meat and an egg. This variant of noodles is commonly found in China, Malaysia and Singapore.
10. You Mian
You mian is a thin whole egg noodle, which is used in dishes like wanton mee, lo mian and Hong Kong noodles (xiang gang mian). There are also other ways to prepare you mian – it can be used in any soups or tossed in a flavourful sauce
Made from wheat flour, somen is first stretched and pulled to make very thin strips before it is air-dried. Similar to soba, somen is usually served chilled with a dipping sauce but it can also be served in hot soups. This variant of noodles, however, is thinner and more delicate as compared to soba – they are less than 1.3mm in diameter.
Often made from buckwheat flour or with flavouring such as green tea, Soba, which features a delicious nutty flavour, is usually served chilled on a bed of ice. For those who prefer to have it warm, they can either serve it in in soup or in a special dipping sauce made from dashi, mirin and soy sauce. Soba are readily available in most Japanese convenient stores and local supermarkets.
13. Rice Sheet Noodles (Hor Fun)
Often used in Chinese dishes, these thick white flat noodles, which are made of rice flour, are usually served in a thick and gooey brown sauce “Hor Fun”. You can also opt for the soy sauce – a version lighter on the palate.
14. Glass Noodles
Known by many names including cellophane noodles, Chinese vermicelli, bean threads and even crystal threads, glass noodles are a type of transparent noodles made from mung bean starch and water. This variant of noodles is usually used in soups, stir-fried dishes and even spring rolls. Once cook, glass noodles will appear translucent. Glass noodles are often mistaken for rice vermicelli, but the latter is made from rice, and appears white in colour rather than clear after it is cooked.
15. Mee Sua
A very thin variety of salted Chinese noodles made from wheat flour, mee sua signifies long life in Chinese culture, and as such is a traditional birthday food. This type of noodle cooks very quickly – usually less than two minutes, and is often served with ingredients such as eggs, oysters, pig’s large intestines, shiitake mushrooms, and shallots.
A popular Japanese noodle soup dish, ramen is a Chinese-style wheat noodle, and is usually served in a meat-based thick broth topped with delicious ingredients such as soft-centered eggs, charred meat, sliced scallions and nori. The broth is often flavoured with soy sauce or miso. Available in various shapes and lengths from wavy to straight, thin to thick, ramen noodles can be found in most supermarkets.
17. Wide Rice Noodles
These thick, flat noodles are widely used in stir-fried dishes and are very popular in Thai dishes, such as “pad si-iew”, where “siew” refers to soy sauce and “pad kee mao” which is shrimp with wide rice noodles. It is also used in Chinese dishes like “chow fun”, mostly found in Cantonese restaurants and Hong Kong Cha Chaan Tengs. Alternatively, get them in packages in stores, look out for names like “sen han” or “sha ha fun” for your jumbo noodle fix.
18. La Mian
As its name suggests, la mian, which originated in China, is hand-pulled noodles made by stretching dough that is dusted in flour. “La”, which is pull in Chinese, literally means to pull the dough into strands of noodles. Different parts of China does the twisting, pulling, tugging and looping of the famous “la mian” differently, which would affect the overall taste, texture and bite of the noodle.
19. Rice Vermicelli
Thin, round translucent noodles made from mung bean starch, rice vermicelli is commonly used in Asian cuisines. The Vietnamese serve it wrapped in rice paper with meat and vegetables, which is what we know as Vietnamese rolls. The Chinese, on the other hand, often cook it dry and fried to a nice fragrant brown, usually accompanied with dishes like vegetables and meat. This variety of noodles can be easily found in supermarkets packaged in a small, looped bundle, look out for words like “Mi Fen”, “Mai Fun” or “Banh Hoi”.
Learn how to make these featured Japanese cuisines.
All noodles featured are available at FairPrice Finest outlets.
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