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.
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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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Fried Rice Vermicelli
Fried Rice Vermicelli - easy rice noodles recipe stir-fried with chicken, bean sprouts and scallion. Learn how to cook vermicelli at home with this recipe!
- 8 oz. rice vermicelli
- 1 handful fresh bean sprouts
- 8 oz. 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
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce Kimlan Light Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce ABC Brand
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 dashes ground white pepper
1Soak the rice vermicelli in warm water for 30 minutes or until they turn soft. Drain the rice noodles in a colander.
2Rinse 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.
3Mix all the Seasoning Sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
4Heat 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.
You can substitute chicken with pork, beef, shrimp, other seafood such as squid and scallops. You can also combine a few protein together.
Once you master the techniques of stir-frying noodles, you can start experimenting with other noodles such as Chow Mein using egg noodles or Lo Mein noodles.
excellent I am tucking into it now …made my own
This looks great, Bee! Love how quickly it cooks up and that you can use what you have on hand – perfect for a week night meal!
At first I thought it would be too simple for my non Asian other half. But i was just too tired to do anything fancy & decided to take a shot at this. Incredible! He loved it.
Thanks for trying the recipe Fiona.
I must say that this is comfort food especially to those who have been away from home. Bee Hoon can never go wrong and no matter how simple this dish is, it is always very popular and welcome by the guests.
I’m a newbie at cooking, but when I do cook, I always use your recipes and your recipes never fail me! I love your clear detailed, step by step guide and although it may not look like your pictures but I can rest assured that they do taste great! Thank you for sharing and being so supportive to newbies like myself!!!
Thanks Mel for being a fan.
Thanks Bee for this recipe. I am pregnant at the moment and so far my cravings been fried bee hoon and also anything related to pork. I am so glad to try this recipe and it tastes exactly to those I had when I was growing up when granny would buy from the pasar, economy fried bee hook with some chili sauce. As for the type of vermicelli I used, the brand is Wai Wai and it has never failed me. Once again many thanks.
Wai Wai is a great brand. Good choice. :)
This was great. I’ve been looking for a good base recipe for these kind of dishes and this was the winner. I only added a small shallot and some mushrooms. Just outstanding. Super tender chicken – what a great new thing to learn with the corn starch!
Marco Polo was give a recipe book when he left the service of Kublai Khan’s court that included many pasta dishes eg spaghetti is our mee, vermicelli is our mifun, fettuccine is our Horfun, ravioli is our wanton. Peporoni is our lup cheong. The Italians added tomatoes, not native of China. And then, cheese.
I fried the rice sticks noodles after soaking them in water but it became a big lump when I put them in the oil to fry. what did I di wrong?
I love Asian food but I am no cook. Nonetheless, since you have no other answer as yet, my guess would be that the noodles had not drained long enough and were too wet.
Just came across this comment, and thought I would help. What I do is pour boiling hot water over the uncooked vermicelli and let it sit covered til soft. Then, drain it in a colander. It helps if you cut the vermicelli before draining – you get most of the water out, and it separates nicely when frying.