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Video:Different Types of Chinese Noodles

with Charli James

There are many different types of Chinese noodles, and they are used in different dishes. Learn more about the different types of chinese noodles, including how they're made and what they taste like.See Transcript

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Transcript:Different Types of Chinese Noodles

Hi, I'm Charli James for About.com. Today we're in New York City's Chinatown, to learn about -- and taste -- the different types of Chinese noodles.

The Chinese word for noodles is "mien." The most common types are wheat flour noodles, rice noodles, and cellophane noodles.

Wheat Flour Noodles Are a Common Type of Chinese Noodles

Wheat flour noodles are the most common Chinese noodle and come in many varieties. Made from wheat flour, water and sometimes salt, they can be made with or without eggs. Available fresh or dried, they may be white or yellow colored. They can be shaped thin like spaghetti, or very thick, like these here. And their texture can be chewy or soft.

The thinner varieties are often used in light soups, while the thicker ones are great in thicker soups and stir-fries. Lo mien and cold noodles are typically wheat flour noodles.

Egg Flour Noodles Are Similar to Wheat Flour Noodles

Wheat noodles made with eggs are also called egg flour noodles. Egg flour noodles are generally recognizable by their yellow color. These noodles are springy with a slight chew. You may recognize Instant Ramen noodles, which are a type of egg flour noodle.

Rice Noodles Are Popular Chinese Noodles

Rice noodles are made from rice flour, water and salt. They can be thick- or thin-shaped, or also seen in "stick" or rice paper "wrapper" form. Thin rice noodles are common in light soups while thick broad flat noodles are used in stir-fries and heartier soups.

Rice noodles generally have a smooth, slightly chewy texture. Rice noodles should be soaked in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes before using. Chow fun and Singapore noodles are made from rice.

Cellophane or Glass Noodles Are Common Chinese Noodles

Cellophane noodles are thin, clear noodles made from ground mung bean paste. Also called "glass noodles," they work well in soups, stir-fries and spring rolls. Cellophane noodles are less elastic than wheat noodles, absorb the flavor of the foods they are cooked with and have a slick texture when cooked.

Chinese noodles cook very quickly, usually requiring less than 5 minutes to become al dente. Today most noodles are made by machine, but in Chinatown it is still possible to find noodles being traditionally "hand-pulled." Hand-pulling is an art where dough is stretched and folded until it is transformed into long, thin noodles.

And now you know the different types of Chinese noodles. For more food tips, visit About.com.
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