What To Eat: Popular Noodle Dishes From Around The World
Contrary to what many may think, noodles originated in China, and not Italy. In fact, scientists from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics at Beijing's Chinese Academy of Sciences found proof of noodle dishes being part of the Chinese diet, around 4000 years ago!
However, the topic is one of much debate by historians and noodle lovers. Italy takes pride in popularising noodle dishes through their many gorgeous pastas that spread across Europe. Italian pastas rumored to have started in the Roman empire or during the middle ages and then spread across Europe and around the world later on due to trade and during the Renaissance.
Dan Dan Noodles (China)
In Sichuan cuisine you will find Dan Dan Noodles. These spicy, chewy noodles are totally delicious and should definitely be on your radar! This dish is literally peppered in peppers. Laced with chili oil and chili peppers, Dan Dan noodles follow typical Sichuan cuisine in its spicy footsteps. This meal is typically made with pork, black vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, scallions and a blend of Chinese spices.
Responsible for popularising noodles as pasta in the western world, these experts have a plethora of dishes to choose from. Throughout the years the Italians have made so many iterations on how to make pasta, from gnocchi and ravioli to bucatini. The options are endless, and all delicious! A Roman staple is the classic caccio e pepe and a good old fashioned carbonara - with no cream of course! Unfortunately as time went by, many establishments have butchered the carbonara by adding heavy cream! Blasphemy. A classic carbonara only has egg, pancetta, cheese, salt, and pepper.
Pancit Palabok (Philippines)
Our local use of noodles are dishes called pancit. One of the most famous is called pancit palabok. This dish is made with rice noodles, egg, shrimp, pork, tofu, chicharron, tinapa fish flakes and calamansi. It is known for its bright orange sauce!
Cha Soba (Japan)
Japan is another culture that took the noodle under its wing and perfected it in their own way. From udon, soba, to ramen there is such a beautiful variety of noodles and preparations so unique and delicious in their own right. A refreshing option is a cold Japanese soba like cha soba. This is a thin noodle infused with green tea and is served chilled with a dipping sauce.
Fideuà is sort of like a paella that is made out of noodles! It is a popular dish in the Calaonia region of Spain and originated in Valencia. It is a seafood dish made with fideo noodles. Typically, it is served with a side of aioli sauce which you can add to your liking.
A very popular Korean stir-fried noodle meal is, Japchae. Using glass noodles, this dish is a slippy concoction of sweet and savory flavours. It is chock-a-block with veggies, mushrooms, beef, egg, sesame seeds and Korean gochujang.
What is gochujang? It is a popular condiment in Korean cuisine that is basically a red chili paste. It has a unique flavour that is sweet, savoury, and spicy! It is made through a fermentation process and contains chili powder, glutinous rice, soy-bean powder, barley malt powder, and salt.
This widely mispronounced dish is bowl of hot noodle soup that is absolutely comforting. Phở is a Vietnamese street-food comprised of these core ingredients: a savoury broth, rice noodles, a protein (typically beef or chicken), lime, and fish sauce.
Mee Krob (Thailand)
Thailand has many noodle dishes, from Pad Thai to Pad See Ew and Mee Krob. The latter, Mee Krob, is a crispy fried noodle dish that is typically prepared with fried tofu, fried shrimp or pork, scallions, bean sprouts, cilantro, chili, and fried egg strips too.
With a rich coconut base, this noodle soup truly packs a punch. Laksa has crisp noodles sink into the soup and slowly de-crunch as they soak up every ounce of flavour. Typically the noodles are made of wheat or rice and the broth has fragrant hints of lime and cilantro. This dish is popular in Peranakan cuisine.
Kugel is a sweet, egg noodle casserole that is popular in Jewish households, especially during celebratory moments such as Seder for example. This sweet noodle dish features sugar, eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese and raisins.
Spätzle is a dish commonly found in central-norther European countries such as German, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the Czech republic. It goes by different names depending on where you are: Spätzle, or Knöpfle, also Spätzli or Chnöpfli for example! It is an egg noodle pasta that has a chewy texture. It may even remind you of dumplings. They are short, often hand cut noodles that are prepared in a variety of ways. The traditional German preparation involves butter, parsley, dill, or chives, peas, caramelized onions, shallots, cheese, breadcrumbs, and bacon. It is said that Spätzle originated in Swabia, a historic region of Germany.
Mie Goreng (Indonesia)
Mie Goreng is a fried noodle dish that is quite savory and has a somewhat sticky sauce with a dash of sweetness. It typically has a kick of spice and comes served with shrimp and chicken.