Asian restaurants typically offer an inordinate number of noodle dishes. Here are the basics.
Mein: The more familiar transliteration of “mian,” the basic Chinese noodle, made from wheat flour, water and egg.
Ramen: The Japanese word for the Chinese noodle, introduced in Japan in the early 1900s. It’s made with kansui, an alkaline mineral water.
Soba: A gray-brown noodle typically used in Japanese cookery. Made from buckwheat flour, it has a distinctive nutty flavor.
Udon: A very thick, soft, mild-tasting wheat noodle, most often used in soups and broths as it readily absorbs other flavors.
Cellophane: Also called bean thread or glass noodles. Usually made from mung bean starch but also yam, potato and cassava starch.
Rice: Rice flour noodles that come both round and flat in a variety of thicknesses and require very little cooking time.