Different Types of Chinese Noodles
Noodles are a staple in Chinese food.
The varieties of noodles available in the market are just like pastas to the Italians, they come in different sizes, shapes, colors, texture and forms.
There are rice vermicelli, chow mein, egg noodles, pan-fried chow mein, lo mein, yellow noodles, crispy noodles, Shanghai noodles, glass noodles, cellophane noodles, laifen, flat rice noodles, Taiwanese noodles, vegan noodles such as green (spinach) noodles, etc.
There are also dry packaged noodles from all over Asia; the lists and brands go forever on.
As a Chinese, I never have to think hard when it comes to buying noodles at the market.
Despite the many offerings in the market, picking out the right noodles for that perfect fried noodle bowl is our natural ability.
However, the experience could be overwhelming for many non-Chinese, non-Asians or Asian food beginners.
Buying noodles is a daunting, confusing and frustrating task.
There are just too many different noodles to choose from, especially if you shop in Asian supermarkets.
So, how do you select the perfect noodles for a homemade vermicelli bowl?
Here is my fried rice vermicelli recipe so you can learn all about rice vermicelli noodles and how to cook rice vermicelli.
Rice Vermicelli Noodles
What is Vermicelli?
Vermicelli rice is also called rice noodles or rice stick in the United States.
In Chinese, we call them 米粉, mifen or maifun in Cantonese dialect.
They are plain noodles made from rice flour and water. Sometimes, starch is added to the ingredients.
In Malaysia and Singapore, they are known as beehoon or meehoon. The Vietnamese call them bun and the Filipinos call bihon.
Rice Vermicelli noodles are very common across all Asian cuisines, be it Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese.
Rice vermicelli is always a safe bet if you are just starting to learn about Chinese noodles.
Ingredients for Fried Rice Vermicelli
For this vermicelli bowl with chicken recipe, I use the simplest of ingredients:
- Chicken breast meat.
- Bean sprouts, which lend a “crunchy” texture and refreshing taste to the rice noodles.
- Seasoning sauces such soy sauce and sweet soy sauce.
Despite the simple ingredients, fried rice sticks are absolutely delicious. Fried rice sticks or 炒米粉 make a good and satisfying meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Brand of Rice Vermicelli Should I Buy?
For the best rice noodles, I recommend the brands without starch.
How to Stir Fry Rice Noodles?
There are proper techniques involved in Chinese stir-frying.
Please check out my Perfect Chinese Stir Frying Techniques and learn the basics.
How to Prevent Rice Vermicelli from Sticking to the Wok or Skillet?
Make sure your wok and skillet is fully heated on high heat. As soon as smokes swirl out of a wok or skillet, it’s ready.
The oil must be fully heated, too. For starters, I recommend using a non-stick skillet.
How Many Calories per Serving?
This vermicelli recipe is only 319 calories per serving.
What Dishes to Serve with This Recipe?
Serve this vermicelli noodle bowl as a main dish or with other dishes. For an authentic Chinese meal and easy weeknight dinner, I recommend the following recipes.
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- 8 oz. (226 g) rice vermicelli
- 1 handful fresh bean sprouts
- 8 oz. (226 g) boneless & skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 stalks scallion, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) length
- Soak the rice vermicelli in warm water for 30 minutes or until they turn soft. Drain the rice noodles in a colander.
- Rinse the bean sprouts with water and set aside to drain. Lightly coat the chicken meat with the corn starch. This step will tenderize the chicken.
- Mix all the Seasoning Sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat up a wok or skillet on high heat. Add the cooking oil. When the oil is heated, add the minced garlic. Stir-fry until aromatic or turn light brown. Add in the chicken and stir fry until the chicken turn white on the surface.
- Add the rice vermicelli noodles and the Seasoning Sauce. Stir the rice noodles continuously to blend well with the sauce. Continue to stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until noodles turn soft or no longer wet. Add the bean sprouts and scallions. Stir-fry for another minute or until the bean sprouts are cooked. Dish out and serve immediately.
Serving Size3 people
Amount Per Serving Calories 319Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 48mgSodium 1540mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 1gSugar 9gProtein 19g