The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Asian Noodles

By Eddie Chai

Noodles have been around for a long time and different cultures have made a distinct version of their own. Unlike pasta noodles that many people are familiar with; Asian noodles have several different types that can range from sweet, salty, and earthy flavors. Noodles in Asia are more than a food, they are important staple in Asian cuisines. In Thailand, it’s actually being considered as the “fast food” of choice.

If you’re thinking of going out and eating at a noodle shop, you might want to learn the various styles of noodles that are available out there. Here’s a list of the most common noodles available in Asian groceries in the U.S.

1.) Rice Noodles

Rice noodles are usually made with rice flour and water. Since it doesn’t contain gluten, it cooks extremely fast so it only needs to be soaked in hot water (not boiled) before you add it to your soup, salad or stir-fry. The texture of rice noodles can be thin and delicate, or soft and thick. Rice noodles are common in Chinese, Thai, and Malaysian cooking. It’s the one used in Vietnamese pho and Pad Thai, as well as an assortment for all these delicious dishes.

2.) Wonton Noodles

This type of noodles is excellent for soaking up curries and other sauces in heartier dishes. It’s made with wheat flour and egg giving the noodles some chewiness. Wonton noodles are common from Chinese dishes in the form of “chow mein” and “lo mein”.

3.) Japanese noodles

Soba are made from buckwheat flour and can refer to any thin Japanese noodle. This type of noodles has a nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture. On the other hand, Somen is another type of thin Japanese noodles but is more delicate. It’s made from wheat flour and a bit of oil. Both Soba and Somen are usually served chilled during summer with a simple dipping sauce while in chilly weather; they are usually served as a soup.

The thickest type of noodle in Japan is the Udon noodles. It’s made from wheat flour, salt, and water. These noodles are commonly served in a brothy soup, generally flavored with mirin and soy sauce. Ramen is another Japanese noodle which is made from wheat flour, egg, and salt. It has a chewy bite and is available fresh, fresh-frozen, or dried.

4.) Cellophane Noodles or Glass Noodles

These gluten-free noodles are made from mung beans, yam, or potato starches. They don’t need to be cooked nor boiled to be eaten, instead they only need to be soaked in hot water. When done, they become soft, clear, and almost rubbery and can be added to any stir fries and soups. Some cuisines do prefer glass noodles to be deep-fried to be used as a crunchy garnish or Chinese “bird’s nests.”

Get a refreshed view of what Thai fusion noodle place is at ST Noodle Bar. Only one block away form Long Beach City College, it’s a hip place to hang out but a place they can rely on for quality food. Owned by Eddie Chai, ST Noodle Bar specializes in Thai-baised noodles and will also offer ramen and other Thai dishes. Visit

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