My Top 10 Favourite Noodles Around Asia
January 25, 2020
“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people eat together.”
– Guy Fieri
Whether it’s sitting on a stool slurping down a delicious bowl of pho in Vietnam, enjoying a heartwarming bowl of ramen during winter in Japan, indulging in a sinful bowl of laksa back home in Singapore, or savouring a hearty bowl of beef noodle soup in Taiwan, you’ll always find me trying local food whenever I’m travelling abroad. I’m not a huge fan of rice dishes, but I love noodles. Without further ado, check out my top 10 favourite noodles around Asia.
#1 – Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodles (葱油拌面)
I came across the simple-looking Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodles at Tianzifang and did not regret giving it a try. Although the lump of brown noodles might not look appetising when served, the taste totally excited my taste buds. The springy texture of the noodles and the sauce that packed a punch with an intense soy scallion flavour made this a memorable dish.
#2 – Vietnamese Bun Cha
Whenever someone mentions a must-eat Vietnamese food, pho will always be recommended. However, Bun Cha is the noodle dish that I personally prefer. Bun Cha consists vermicelli noodles served with a bowl of dipping sauce with grilled fatty pork, pickles and vegetables. A mouthful of noodles with a piece of pork and a slice of pickle boasts a well-balanced sweet, savoury and sour flavour. I like how the crunchy and tangy pickles cut through the fatty pork and how the marinated grilled pork just melts in my mouth.
#3 – Char Kway Teow (Singapore & Malaysia)
Char Kway Teow is one of my favourite local noodle dishes in Singapore. Flat rice noodles are stir-fried over high heat with cockles, Chinese sausages, eggs, fishcakes, beansprouts, chives and a huge amount of soy sauce. I always satisfy my craving for char kway teow at Joo Chiat Place Fried Kway Teow. Instead of the usual sweet finish from the dark sauce, the char kway teow here is more savoury and I love the distinct smokey flavour of the noodles. Besides Singapore, Penang features superb char kway teow too. You must try the Siam Road Char Kway Teow.
#4 – Japanese Ramen
Originally imported from China, ramen is a noodle soup dish that has become one of the most popular dishes in Japan in recent decades. This noodle dish is inexpensive and widely available. From the texture of the noodles, to the flavour of the ramen egg, to the slurp-worthiness of the broth, to how passionate the chef is in preparing the ramen … Every detail is important if you want to savour a truly good bowl of ramen. There are numerous brands of ramen in Japan and it’s so tough to pick just one particular favourite.
#5 – Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (红烧牛肉面)
The Taiwanese beef noodle soup is a famous dish that you can find in almost every city in Taiwan. Whenever I visit Taiwan, this is one of the dishes that I must eat. The beef is often stewed with the broth and simmered for hours with bone marrow. This results in a flavourful broth and fork-tender beef meat that’s simply irresistible.
#6 – Pad Thai
You can’t miss out on street food when you visit Thailand. Pad Thai is a typical street food, and is perhaps the first dish that everyone orders in a local Thai restaurant. Rice noodles are stir-fried with tofu, eggs, and a sauce made with tamarind paste, fish sauce, dried, shrimp, garlic, chilli and palm sugar. I like my Pad Thai to have a nice balance of sweet and savoury flavours. It cannot be too dry nor too moist.
#7 – Burmese Mohinga
Mohinga, a dish of thin noodles in a fish-based broth, is the “national dish” of Myanmar. There is plenty of shops and street stalls in the downtown area of Yangon specialising in this local delicacy. Even during summer when it’s sweltering hot outside, these eateries are still flooded with mohinga-slurping customers during meal times. You can add items such as fritters, eggs, and beans too.
#8 – Maggi Goreng (Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia)
Maggi Goreng my go-to comfort food and supper favourite. “Maggi” is actually a brand of instant noodle, but instead of boiling the noodles before adding the sachet of flavouring like what I always do at home, the noodles served at eateries are stir-fried with vegetables and eggs. Sometimes, other ingredients such as tofu, sambal, dark soy, and meat or seafood are added. A slice of lime is usually placed at the side of the plate as a garnish.
#9 – Korean Japchae
Korean Japchae is usually served as an appetiser or a side dish. The chewy and springy sweet potato starch noodles, also known as glass noodles, are mixed with thin strips of beef or pork and a variety of vegetables such as carrots, spinach, onions, cucumbers and garlic, just to name a few. It is an essential dish for traditional holidays and special occasions in Korea, but I enjoy having the japchae at any time of the year.
#10 – Singapore Laksa
Laksa is a spicy noodle soup featuring thick wheat noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup based on either rich and spicy curry coconut milk or on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur). I prefer Singapore’s version with the rich and spicy curry coconut milk instead of Malaysia’s asam laksa.
Have you tried any other Asian noodle dishes before? Which is your favourite? Do comment below and share your love for food with me.