Ever ver­sa­tile, rice grains can be milled into fine flour and crafted into del­i­cate noo­dles. Com­ing in a va­ri­ety of shapes and sizes, this Asian sta­ple is com­monly found swim­ming in a steam­ing bowl of broth or charred with the breath of the wok.

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1. Pad Thai Rice Sticks

Thicker than rice ver­mi­celli but still nar­row, th­ese rice noo­dles are the fun­da­men­tal in­gre­di­ent in Thai­land’s clas­sic dish, pad Thai. Prone to clump­ing, they re­quire soak­ing prior to cook­ing, but when pre­pared cor­rectly, re­tain an al dente bite with that hint of chewi­ness we love.

2. Idiyap­pam

More com­monly known as string hop­pers, idiyap­pam are tra­di­tional rice noo­dles from In­dia, made by pass­ing rice-based dough through a spe­cial press be­fore steam­ing. The steamed noo­dles are served with spicy cur­ries or co­conut milk and su­gar for a sweeter, creamier flavour.

3. Rice Ver­mi­celli

Also known as rice sticks or bee hoon, the thread-like noo­dles of rice ver­mi­celli are com­monly used in Asian soups, stir-fries and sal­ads. This sta­ple gen­er­ally comes dried and cooks in min­utes, per­fect for a quick noo­dle fix.

4. Sil­ver Pin Noo­dles

Th­ese translu­cent tra­di­tional Hakka noo­dles are care­fully hand-rolled into ta­pered, nee­dle-like shapes and served in soup or stir-fried with a se­lec­tion of meats and veg­eta­bles. Made from a mix­ture of gluti­nous and non-gluti­nous rice flour, th­ese plump noo­dles are typ­i­cally avail­able fresh, yield­ing a chewy bite.

5. Se­vai

A com­mon south In­dian sta­ple, se­vai is very sim­i­lar to idiyap­pam and tra­di­tion­ally pre­pared fresh at home by press­ing sautéed rice flour-based dumplings into fine strands us­ing a se­vai press. A pop­u­lar break­fast or din­ner choice, this rice ver­mi­celli is served plain or with spices and ac­com­pa­ni­ments such as sweet­ened co­conut milk and pow­dered chick­peas.

6. Mi Xian

Com­ing from the moun­tain­ous prov­ince of Yun­nan, mi xian is a fer­mented rice noo­dle with a thick­ness and shape sim­i­lar to Ital­ian spaghetti. Thicker and chewier than rice ver­mi­celli, th­ese noo­dles are typ­i­cally served in a hot broth, per­fect for slurp­ing.

7. Chan’s Vil­lage Rice Noo­dles

A vari­ant of ho fun or shahe fun, Chan’s Vil­lage rice noo­dles are a Shunde del­i­cacy and orig­i­nate in Chan’s Vil­lage in Foshan, Guang­dong. Its wide, slith­ery rib­bons are soft, silky in tex­ture and so thin they are al­most translu­cent. The rice noo­dles are lighter than its coun­ter­parts and best en­joyed in warmer weather, steamed fresh and tossed with minced pork and soy sauce.

8. Khanom Chin

Orig­i­nat­ing in Thai­land, khanom chin are fresh rice noo­dles made from dough that is fer­mented for three days be­fore be­ing pressed through a sieve. Typ­i­cally served with dif­fer­ent stocks and a range of condi­ments, with re­gional vari­a­tions, khanom chin is also pop­u­lar in som tam, Thai green pa­paya salad.

9. Shahe Fen

Shahe fen are smooth, white sheets of rice noo­dles, gen­er­ally cut into wide, rib­bon-like ho fun or rolled into cheong fun. The sheets come dried or fresh, coated with a thin layer of oil to pre­vent the noo­dles from stick­ing to­gether. Try them in a light broth with fish balls or stir-fried with beef for a Can­tonese clas­sic.

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