The Noodle Bar Experience: Newbie Primer on Asian Noodles

Asian Noodles in ThailandThere’s more to noodles than your typical Italian fare of spaghetti, lasagne, and angel hair. Asians have their own unique and colourful brand of noodles that can be deceptively simple for newbies. Here are some differences between them, including the etiquette needed to enjoy them thoroughly.

Ramen – This is perhaps the most popular Asian noodle, thanks to the widespread love for Japanese culture. Chopstix noted that ramen is a staple in most noodle bars. Restaurants usually serve it in broth and can be simple like shio (salt) and shoyu (soy sauce) or more filling like tsukemen and tantanmen. It is from wheat flour and is best when made fresh in the restaurant.

Soba – These buckwheat noodles are likewise as popular as ramen. Restaurants serve this in soup and sauce. However, you can eat in many peculiar ways that aren’t common in the Western dining table. Restaurants can serve soba chilled and with a dipping sauce on the side. There is cold soba where they add a thick sauce right at the table by the diner.

Glass – Popular in Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, and China, these noodles are made of bean thread, sweet potato, or mung bean. They have a gentle, translucent colour that takes up a lot of the liquid it’s cooked in, taking on its flavour and colour. Restaurants serve this noodle in a soup or deep fried. Chap jae, nyonya, and yum woonsen are some of the most popular dishes using this noodle.

In ancient times, noodles were only to alleviate starvation during the famine. Nowadays, you can’t go into Asian restaurants without expecting a wonderful and unique noodle experience. Enjoy your meal and be aware of the necessary etiquette to enjoy the experience.