Skip to Content

What are the clear strings in egg rolls?

If you have eaten any Asian dish with clear strings like in egg rolls, you are probably wondering what it is that you are eating. I’m going to share with you what that specific ingredient is, the nutritional value of it, Asian dishes that you most commonly see it in (and links to those recipes), as well as some frequently asked questions I often get about it.

Of all ingredients that I get asked about, identifying the clear strings in egg rolls definitely is one of the most common ones. The clear strings in egg rolls are cellophane noodles.

Cellophane noodles are known as glass noodles, bean thread, and fensi. These are transparent noodles that are often used in Asian cuisines, soups, egg rolls, and spring rolls. 

About Cellophane Noodles

Ingredients of Bean Thread

Cellophane noodles are made of strung mung beans, potatoes, tapioca, sweet potatoes. The generally originate and are imported from Asian countries. Often, the packaging for the cellophane noodles will allow you to determine the ingredients.

What Do Glass Noodles Taste Like

Glass noodles taste similar to spaghetti noodles, but are often chewier in texture. The noodles easily absorb the liquid of the dish they accompany. 

When cooked, the noodles become clear like glass.

Varieties of Bean Thread

Cellophane noodles come in a multitude of options based on the type of starch that is used. The commonality between all of the options is that preparing the noodle results in a thin glass thread.

Cuisines That Use Glass Noodles Most Often

Countries like China, India, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, and Malaysia use these ingredients most often in their cuisines.

The clear strings in egg rolls are cellophane noodles and also commonly referred to as glass noodles and bean thread.

Other Names for Cellophane Noodles

Cellophane noodles are often referred to as Asian vermicelli, bean threads, bean thread noodles, crystal noodles, clear noodles, transparent noodles, and glass noodles. 

You will often find different recipes referring to cellophane noodles by these various monikers.

Purchasing and Buying Cellophane Noodles & Bean Thread

How Are Cellophane Noodles Sold

Cellophane noodles are generally sold dry, wrapped in separate batches.

Where to Buy Cellophane Noodles

Your local western grocery store may not carry them. However, you can find cellophane noodles readily available at your local Asian supermarket.

What Brand To Buy of Cellophane Noodles

The brand that is wrapped in a pink plastic mesh is our favorite brand to buy, especially for making my Vietnamese egg rolls

what are clear noodle in egg rolls

Cooking Cellophane Noodles

There are two ways to prepare cellophane noodles to incorporate into a dish.

Soaking Cellophane Noodles as an Ingredient

The first method is that you ou soak them for about 10-15 minutes to soften them. This is the method used to prepare egg rolls

Boiling Cellophane Noodles

Cellophane noodles are boiled like regular noodles for 3-5 minutes and incorporated into a stir-fry dish.

Cellophane Noodles Nutrition Facts

Whether you call them bean thread, glass noodles, or cellophane noodles , all of these monikers refer to a thin clear, transparent noodle made of mung beans, yams, cassava, or canna starches.

Cellophane noodles are fat-free, sugar free, and are a low-blood sugar carbohydrate. In one serving on cellophane noodles, there are small amounts of iron, niacin, and selenium.

Are bean thread noodles gluten free?

Cellophane noodles are gluten free, as they are made of mung beans, yams, cassava, and canna starches.

Calories in Cellophane Noodles

One serving (1 cup) of cellophane noodles contain 160 calories.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cellophane Noodles

What can I use to substitute glass noodles?

There is not a really good substitute for cellophane noodle.  In a pinch, depending on the meal, thin rice vermicelli, soba noodles, and angel hair pasta can be used as a substitute. Note that the substitutions may not be gluten and grain-free.

Examples for Substituting Glass Noodles

  • Rice vermicelli – This is a great substitute inside of egg rolls.
  • Soba noodles – This is great for any stir-fry dish.
  • Angel hair pasta – This is also great for a stir-fry dish.

Are glass noodles bad for you?

Glass noodles are made of vegetable starches, are gluten free, and grain free. One cup of cellophane noodles contain 160 calories.

Are cellophane noodles rice noodles?

Cellophane noodles are not the same as rice noodles. Cellophane noodles are clear and transparent and made of vegetable starches. Rice noodles are made from rice flour and water.

Get my free recipe book that includes five of the most popular Southeast Asian recipes!

Want some other delicious Southeast Asian recipes?

Subscribe to my newsletter and also receive my 5 recipe cook book for the BEST and most popular recipes from Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos!

Other Posts You Might Love

egg rolls noodles

Are you too intimidated by your local Asian grocery store?

Let me help you out!  I'll send you a free shopping list to your email inbox that will help you navigate your next visit. 

Sign up now to open up a whole new world of flavor!

Drunken Noodles vs Pad See Ew - What's the Difference?
← Previous
Best Guide to Choosing a Sticky Rice Steamer & Serving Basket
Next →