Rice Noodles 101: A Guide to the Different Types of Rice Noodles

From comforting bowls of pho to stir-fries bursting with flavor, rice noodles play a vital role in creating delicious and satisfying noodle dishes. Rice noodles, a naturally gluten-free option, are a staple in many Asian cuisines. 

With the wide variety of rice noodles available, it can be challenging to pick the perfect one for your recipe. In this guide, we'll explore the different types of rice noodles, their unique characteristics, and the perfect dishes to make with each variety.

Pad Thai Noodles

Vermicelli Noodles

Vermicelli noodles are thin and translucent strands commonly used in soups, salads, and stir-fries. They are incredibly versatile and cook quickly, making them a popular choice in many Asian recipes. 

Vermicelli is typically made from rice flour and water, and its slender shape absorbs flavors easily. It pairs well with light sauces, herbs, and fresh vegetables. Classic dishes like Bun Cha (Vietnamese grilled pork noodle salad) and Pad Thai often feature vermicelli noodles.

Pad Thai Noodles

Pad Thai noodles are flat and wide rice noodles that have a slightly chewy texture and are often stir-fried with proteins and savory sauce. Pad Thai noodles are best known for their role in the popular Thai dish, Pad Thai. This stir-fry typically includes ingredients like bean sprouts, peanuts, lime, and cilantro, resulting in a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and savory flavors. 

The broad nature of Pad Thai noodles allows them to absorb sauces, making them an excellent choice for dishes that require robust flavors. Try Right Foods' instant Pad Thai Noodles, made with certified gluten-free rice noodles and plant-based ingredients, in your next Thai recipe.

Pad Thai Noodles

Pho Noodles

Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup, has gained worldwide popularity, and its distinctive rice noodles are a key element of its success. Pho noodles are flat, thin, and silky, allowing them to soak up the flavorful broth. These noodles are typically made from rice flour, water, and a touch of salt. 

Pho noodles are delicate yet resilient, making them ideal for long-simmered broths. The texture of the noodles combined with the aromatic soup creates a comforting and satisfying bowl of goodness.

Flat Rice Noodles

Flat rice noodles, wider and flatter than vermicelli, are a popular choice for stir-fry dishes and can also be a great addition to gluten-free ramen and other soups. With their broad surface area, they have the ability to absorb flavorful broths while maintaining a chewy texture. 

For your next noodle soup, take a shortcut with our vegan sesame chicken rice noodle soup.

Vegan Sesame Chicken Rice Ramen Soup Cup

Rice Sticks

Rice sticks can be stir-fried with a medley of vegetables and proteins, soaked in hot water to soften for use in spring rolls, or added to soups and salads for a delightful textural element. Their ability to absorb flavors makes them an excellent choice for soaking up the aromatic spices and sauces in Asian dishes. Whether you're creating a vibrant stir-fry, a steaming bowl of ramen, or a refreshing noodle salad, rice sticks are an awesome choice.

Chow Fun Noodles

Chow fun noodles, also known as wide rice noodles or ho fun, are a staple in Chinese cuisine. These wide and flat rice noodles have a chewy and slightly slippery consistency that adds a delightful contrast to stir-fry dishes. Chow fun noodles are commonly used in popular Chinese dishes where they are stir-fried with proteins, crisp vegetables, and savory sauces. 

GF rice noodles

Final Thoughts

Rice noodles offer a delightful range of flavors, textures, and cooking possibilities in Asian cuisine. From the delicate vermicelli to the hearty pho noodles, each type has its own unique qualities that can elevate your culinary creations. So, the next time you're exploring Asian cuisine or trying out a new recipe, remember to choose the right rice noodle for the right dish and savor the flavors they bring to your plate.

Here at McDougall’s Right Foods, we carry a variety of gluten-free products, including some tasty rice noodle options. All our products are vegan, non-GMO, and made with whole foods. Plus, since we care about your health and the health of the planet, our paper cups are made with packaging from certified sustainably-managed forests.

Take a look at our amazing Dr. McDougall recipes to find some tasty noodle and soup recipes using our products.