There are oodles of ways to enjoy these Asian staples, and with the right tips, every noodle dish can be delicious.
Snaking through Asia
The slurp of slippery noodles held aloft in chopsticks, aromas of soy and broth, and vegetables and steaming meat simmering in a big bowl are quintessentially Asian.
Across the vast dry and cold north of China, at the portable food stands called Dai Pai Dong in Hong Kong, and all the way down to the steamy jungles of South-East Asia, noodles have been sustaining people for centuries. The variety and use of noodles is as numerous as the number of countries they can be found in. Here's a guide to oodles of noodles.
Soup it up: The Japanese use soba noodles made from buckwheat flour or ramen, which are actually adapted from the northern Chinese wheat flour noodle. Thousands of noodle houses in Japan serve soba and ramen with seafood and chicken, as do 300-year-old restaurants.
Much further South, medium-sized rice noodles called Banh Pho are used to make Vietnam's popular pho, with either beef or chicken broth and topped with fragrant herbs, including mint and chilli.
Laksa is the satisfying spicy noodle soup found in Chinese-Malay cuisine across Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, served with chicken or seafood.
Egged on: Egg noodles are just that – egg, flour and water. Hokkien noodles are one of the most popular types of egg noodles and vary in their intensity of yellowness. Most are made with egg powder or egg coloring, hence that unmistakable, bright yellow hue.
Egg noodles can be thin and flat in shape, or round and tubular, like thick spaghetti. The thin, flat ones are delicious when served in soup or in dishes which contain lots of sauce. They are delicate and similar in shape to Italian tagliatelle, but thinner.
Wok On With Hokkien: Hokkien noodles are also great in soups, expanding like an Udon noodle and becoming slippery and unctuous, yet most people always prefer Hokkien stir fried, with the scent and taste of the smoky wok, imbuing every strand.
The robust hokkien provides an excellent "chew" and can handle rich sauces.
Rice noodles: Made from rice powder and water, they are steamed and have the most extraordinary velvety, slippery, silky texture. Again, they are wonderful in soups or stir-fried or steamed. You may serve them with a simple dipping sauce of soy and chilli.
In the clear: The Mung Bean Noodle, or glass or cellophane noodle, is made from mung bean flour and water, these noodles are transparent. They are the slipperiest of them all, and although their flavor is rather bland, they absorb all flavors around them. Best served with chilli-vinegary sauces, the heat and the sharpness of the acid balances out the gelatinous, wobbly nature of the noodle to make for a incredibly delicious meal.
Cellophane noodles are also refreshing served as a cold salad with julienne of cucumber, shredded chicken, fresh herbs, pickled carrot and Sichuan chilli dressing.