Rice Vermicelli and Cellophane Noodles: Representatives of Asia’s Distinctive Noodles

The Origin of Rice Vermicelli

Rice vermicelli, also known as rice noodles, has a long-standing presence in Taiwanese culinary culture. It can be traced back to ancient times when it was handmade by skilled artisans using simple ingredients like rice flour and water. The art of producing rice vermicelli has been passed down through generations, preserving the authentic flavors and textures that make it unique. In Taiwan, rice vermicelli is traditionally made by grinding high-quality rice into fine flour. The flour is mixed with water to create smooth dough, which is then extruded through a special mold to form thin, delicate strands. These strands are carefully dried, preserving their distinctive texture and taste.

The Origin of Glass Noodles

Glass noodles(or cellophane noodles), also known as vermicelli noodles, are a traditional specialty of China and are commonly referred to as “春雨” in Japan. In Taiwan, glass noodles were originally made from mung bean starch, which is known for containing a large amount of straight-chain starch. With a smooth and slippery texture similar to thin noodles, glass noodles are typically sold dried and should be soaked in water to make it soften. The diameter of glass noodles is usually around 0.5mm, which is why they are often referred to as “silk”.

A journey through the food culture of Glass noodles in Asia

 With the advancement of technology and time, glass noodles have evolved from a simple mung bean starch to include various other ingredients such as potato starch and tapioca starch. During the production process, the noodles undergo a freezing process for 4-5 days, which creates pores in the noodles. This allows the noodles to absorb the soup or sauce when cooked, giving them a more elastic texture and enhancing the overall flavor. Today, glass noodles offer a wide range of textures and can be used in various dishes such as stir-fries, soups, and salads, as well as desserts. Furthermore, the culture of glass noodles continues to grow and develop throughout Asia. Below are some examples of Asian glass noodle dishes :

Thai Glass Noodle Salad

Thai glass noodle salad is a popular fusion dish that combines Thai flavors and the refreshing taste of salad. It is loved by Thai people and foodies around the world. The main ingredient of this dish is glass noodles, which are mixed with a variety of vegetables and seafood or meat, and served with a tangy and spicy dressing. The refreshing taste of the salad increases one’s appetite. In Thailand, glass noodle salad is considered a perfect summer dish that helps to cool down the body. It is rich in vitamins and protein, making it highly nutritious.

  • Ingredients :

         Glass noodles, fish sauce, lemon, sugar, garlic, chili peppers, basil leaves, shrimp, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, rice wine

  1.  Cook the glass noodles until soft, then soak them in ice water to maintain their elasticity.
  2.  Stir-fry garlic slices, chili peppers, and shrimp in sequence.
  3.  Pour in rice wine and cover the pan for a moment to simmer.
  4.  Add fish sauce, sugar, garlic slices, chili peppers, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and glass noodles into a bowl. Stir well.
  5.  Serve and arrange the dish.


Glass noodles, originating from Asia, are often paired with Italian sauces such as white, red, or pesto sauce due to their chewy and filling texture. This dish has endless possibilities for variations beyond the basic recipe. You can add vegetables such as bell peppers, tomatoes, or mushrooms to add different textures and flavors. Alternatively, you can include meats such as ham, bacon, or sausage to make the dish more diverse and rich.

Despite coming from different culinary backgrounds, the light and refreshing texture of glass noodles combined with the rich and flavorful Italian pasta sauce creates an innovative fusion of Eastern and Western cuisine. This cross-cultural and geographical dining experience brings people endless deliciousness and surprises.

  • Ingredients :

           Wide vermicelli, beef tomatoes, canned tomatoes, Water, ground meat, basil, onion, cheese, butter

  1.  Cook the tomatoes until soft, remove the skin, and cut them into pieces.
  2.  Heat the butter in a pan and add onions, garlic, ground meat, tomatoes, canned tomato, water, salt, and basil. Stir well.
  3.  Add wide vermicelli and cheese, stir well and serve.

Minced Pork Rice Vermicelli

Taiwanese Rice Vermicelli, also known as “米粉” (mi fen) in Mandarin, is a popular and versatile ingredient in Taiwanese cuisine. Made from rice flour, this thin and translucent noodle is a staple in many Taiwanese dishes and holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

One of the most beloved Taiwanese dishes featuring rice vermicelli is ” Minced Pork Rice Vermicelli”, which consists of braised minced pork sauce served over a bed of tender rice vermicelli. This iconic dish showcases the delicate texture and ability of rice vermicelli to absorb flavors. The noodles have a smooth and slightly chewy texture that complements the rich and savory pork sauce perfectly.

  • Ingredients :

        Bean sprouts, Chinese chives, carrots, minced meat, shallots

  • Seasonings :

        Soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper

  • Instructions:
  1.  Stir-fry the shallots until fragrant, then add the minced meat and stir-fry until golden brown.
  2.  Add a little soy sauce and water, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3.  Rinse the rice vermicelli with cold water.
  4.  Blanch the rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, Chinese chives, and carrots in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, then remove them.
  5.  Pour the minced meat sauce over the rice vermicelli and serve.

Glass noodles have become an essential food in people’s lives, as they offer a rich and diverse range of textures and flavors. Nowadays, you can customize your glass noodle dishes to suit your personal preferences and tastes.