Asian Noodles: A Short Guide

February 14, 2024 , ,

The world of Asian noodles is as vast and varied as that of Italian pasta, and one can get a little lost trying to figure out which noodles to use for certain recipes. Soba, ramen, udon, rice vermicelli, etc: which ones to choose according to your needs? I’m going to give you a short tour of the most well-known types of Asian noodles.

All of these noodles are usually cooked in the same way as any other type of pasta, in a large amount of boiling salted water until they are cooked al dente. The exception is soy vermicelli, which is so thin and tender that you just need to soak it in hot water until it’s tender.

Chow mein noodles

They are wheat noodles used in a dish of the same name, typical of Cantonese cuisine. In this dish, the noodles are stir-fried (crispy or not) with vegetables and pieces of meat or shrimp, all seasoned with a sauce with a soy sauce base.

asian noodles - Singapore noodles
See the Singapore Noodles recipe >>

Ramen noodles

They are made of wheat flour, water, salt and kansui, an alkaline agent that gives them their firm texture and yellowish color. Sometimes eggs are added. They can be smooth or wavy. They are cooked in minutes and served immediately. Although they are of Chinese origin, they are part of a typical Japanese dish, ramen soup. This pasta is also used in instant noodles.

Soba noodles

They are made of buckwheat flour – “soba” means buckwheat in Japanese. Wheat flour is often added to make it easier to handle, but you can find some that are made exclusively of buckwheat and are therefore gluten-free. The colour is dark and the taste is very pronounced, reminiscent of hazelnuts. It is the most consumed pasta in Japan, and there are variations and different flavors: wholemeal flour, green tea, seaweed, etc. Soba noodles are usually eaten in a bowl filled with hot broth, or in a salad, often accompanied by a peanut sauce.

asian noodles - Soba noodles
See the Soba Noodles Salad with Peanut Sauce recipe >>

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Cinzia Cuneo
Cinzia Cuneo, founder of, never wanted to neglect the quality of her food. She shares her special expertise to make good food quickly and without complications!

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