As you know, noodles are a very important ingredient used in many Asian cuisines. And there are so many different varieties out there from fresh to dry or even thin to wide and more.
But if you were to actually go to any Asian supermarket, you’ll notice that there are hundreds if not thousands of different noodles for you to choose from. How are you suppose to know which ones to buy? Is it going to work with whatever you are deciding to make?
That is where this page comes in handy.
Although we can’t list out every single noodle and wrapper brands out there as that would be impossible, what we can do is list out the most common and popular types that most families would use in their day to day lives.
We’ll try our best to tell you exactly what these noodles and wrappers do as well as what they are normally used for.
So if you are ready, lets get started!
Full disclosure: In this glossary page, some of the posts will contain affiliate links, which means that if you do buy something as a result from following one of our links, you will be supporting our site “Cooking Sensei”. Prices are the same regardless if you use our link or not, so there is no harm!
Fresh Hong Kong Style Noodles
Fresh Hong Kong Style Noodles which are a bit yellow in color and commonly used to pan fry. They come in different sizes with two of the more popular ones being the won ton noodles which are thin and lightly coated with flour, and the lo-mein noodles which you can find in any Chinese take-out spot. Because these are fresh noodles, they usually don’t have to be cooked for too long, about 1 minute or less before you can start pan frying them. They can be easily found in the refrigerated section of your local Asian supermarket.
Dry Hong Kong Style Noodles
Now aside from the fresh version, they also have a dried version of the HK style noodles. It is basically the same thing except that you can keep it stored in your pantry for quite some time. They also take a little bit longer to cook since they are dry, but nothing too different.
Regular Fresh Noodles
Regular Fresh Noodles are basically noodles that are freshly made. They are great to use especially if you don’t want to make your own noodles from scratch. They work the same way where you have to boil some water to cook them for a bit, but nothing too different from your average noodles. The only problem is that not too many locations will sell these types of noodles. So if your local supermarket does then you are in luck!
Lo Mein Noodles
If you ever been to any Chinese take-out spot, then you’ll probably notice the noodle dish which uses lo-mein. Almost ever single Asian supermarket will sell these as they are a staple in most Asian cuisines. Depending on what your store carries, you can usually find them in 3 different types of packaging, (freshly made, dry, and fully cooked). So if you are ever wanting to make your own version of Chinese take out at home, then these noodles will definitely make things more convenient.
Note: Make sure you don’t confuse freshly made versus dried noodles as they may look really similar. But you can usually tell a difference between them as the freshly made noodles usually has some flour dusted on them and the dry version is usually labeled dry.
Egg Free Noodles
Plain noodles are a common noodle to use in many Asian cuisines. Typically these noodles do not contain any eggs which makes them vegan and vegetarian friendly. But not all packages are like this, so you’ll still need to read the label to make sure. They are very versatile to use and can be substituted for any other noodles if you want to change things up. And just like any other noodles, you can cook them by just dropping them inside a pot of boiling water till they are done.
Rice Vermicelli or also called “Rice Sticks” in some areas are a thin type of rice noodle that is very fragile. They are a popular noodle to use because they are so easy to prepare. All you have to do is get some warm water and put them inside to soak for about 10 to 15 minutes and then you can start using them. You can find them at any Asian supermarket as they are some of the most common types of noodles available. They usually come in packages and shaped into rectangular blocks for ease of handling.
Wide Rice Noodles
If you don’t like the thin noodles, then you’ll be happy to know that there are a wide version of them too! There are many recipes that call for the wide rice noodles so it’ll be good to know about it as well.
Wide Rice Noodles (Ho Fun)
Ho Fun is basically a variety of rice noodles that is usually sold in long sheets and has been steamed and folded. They are very soft and delicious as well as being somewhat translucent. If you ever had Dim Sum, then you will probably recognize this as it is usually used to wrap certain stuffings. But aside from that, they are also commonly used for many soups and stir fries. You can get them pretty cheap at your local Asian supermarket.
Longevity Noodles / Long Life Noodles
Longevity Noodles or also called Long Life Noodles or even Yi mian are a type of noodles that symbolizes long life in the Asian cultures. They are usually served during special occasions like celebrations or something. These noodles are great as they have a spongy and chewy texture because they are fried first before being dried. The only downside is that they can be quite expensive if you were to buy them at a store. So if you can, try to learn how to make them yourself to save yourself a bunch of money!
Knife Sliced Noodles
Knife Sliced Noodles which are also called “Dao Xiao Mian” are basically noodles that have been sliced with a knife. They are a favorite among many people because of how wide these noodles are. So if you don’t want to slice your own noodles, then these will be perfect for you!
Dried Thin Noodles
Depending on what type of noodle dish you are making, some recipes may call for some thin noodles. Now there are a bunch of different varieties of thin noodles out there so it is basically just a personal preference as to which one you want to use.
I don’t know if you could call rice cakes a noodle type but it is certainly very similar. It is chewy and soft and kind of resembles a thicker version of a noodle. It comes in many different shapes and sizes. It is also very versatile to use as there are many different recipes that calls for them to use. But for the majority of things, it is most common to use for stir-frys and soups.
Udon Noodles is a type of thick, wheat-flour noodle used frequently in Japanese cuisine. It is often served hot as a noodle soup in its simplest form. You can usually find these at any local Asian supermarket for a pretty cheap price.
Do not confuse this with Rice Vermicelli has the appearance can be similar. But Cellophane Noodles are different as they are actually made from mung beans. They are a delicate type of noodle that has a slightly chewy texture when cooked. They are great to use in saucy type of dishes as they soak up so much flavor.
Now i’m pretty sure we all know what ramen noodles are. However for this section, I am not talking about those packaged ramen you can get for about $1 or $2 dollars that comes with some tiny seasonings. What i’m talking about is actual ramen noodles which you can find either fresh or dry at most Asian supermarkets. They don’t come with any seasonins and is only the noodles themselves, but they have a much better taste and texture. There are many different brands available for you to choose from, so its just a matter of personal preference depending on what you want to buy.
Yakisoba which means “Fried Buckwheat” is a popular noodle to use for making stir fry dishes. It is similar in preparation to Lo Mein. Now usually soba means buckwheat, but soba in yakisoba means Chinese noodles (Chuuka soba) made from wheat flour, and are typically flavored with a condiment similar to Worcestershire sauce.
Wonton wrappers are a pretty simple thing to understand as they are mainly used to wrap up your wontons. They come in different colors of white or yellow as well as different thicknesses which is used for different cooking styles. The thinner versions are usually for boiling while the thicker versions can be used to boil or even pan frying. The yellow versions of the wrappers tend to be made with egg which gives them a softer yet better hold up when boiling in hot water. These can be easily found in any Asian local supermarkets in the refrigeration section.
Dumpling Wrappers are really similar to wonton wrappers as they are also yellow or white as well as coming in different thicknesses. However dumpling wrappers tend to be thicker than wonton wrappers normally. And just like wonton wrappers, you can find them in any Asian supermarket normally at the refrigeration sections.
If you want to make your own dumpling wrappers, here is a great recipe guide showing you how! You can make so many dumplings with them with my personal favorite being the pork and chives version of a dumpling.
Egg Roll Wrapper
Egg roll wrappers as you know are normally used to make Egg Rolls. You can find them in any Asian supermarket and even in certain mainstream US stores as well.
Vietnamese Spring Roll Wrappers
Now unlike Egg Roll Wrappers, Vietnamese spring roll wrappers are more translucent in nature. They are also made with rice flour with some brands even adding a bit of tapioca starch. Typically they are used to make certain Vietnamese rolls. However they are easily interchangeable and you can use these wrappers for Chinese spring rolls as well. They come in both square and circle shapes and are very cheap to buy. You can find them in any Asian supermarket.