Learn the difference between Asian vermicelli noodles versus rice noodles. There are a lot of Southeast Asian noodle recipes out there and making sure you know the differences between these noodles will ensure you make the most of your time making the recipe.
I get this question a lot around the differences between vermicelli noodles versus rice noodles. There are definitely differences, and if you use the wrong noodles for a recipe, you might end up getting differences in texture that may not be inherently what the recipe intended.
And if you have been in the aisle of an Asian grocery store, the sheer volume of noodles available might be overwhelming. You may have questions about which noodles you need for which recipes, whether you should get refrigerated or dried noodles, or whether the round ones or the flat ones should be the ones you should get.
On my recipe blog, I make sure that I try to explain to you what types of noodles you'll need for my soup noodle recipes.
However, just to settle the differences, I want to make sure I cover the basics of the comparison between vermicelli noodles and rice noodles.
The Main Differences Between Vermicelli Noodles and Rice Noodles
Vermicelli noodles are made from maida flour whereas rice noodles are prepared from rice flour. Vermicelli noodles are round in shape whereas rice noodles are flat.
Below is an image of dried rice noodle sticks on the left and vermicelli noodles on the right
This photo shows the ends of the rice noodle sticks on the left (notice how the sticks are flat) and the vermicelli noodles on the right (notice how they are circular).
Rice noodles are fragile and are often soaked in warm water before the hot soup liquid or broth is poured over it.
Vermicelli noodles are cooked in boiling water and then rinsed with cold water. It is then placed in a serving both with the broth poured over it.
The most important thing when cooking either noodle is making sure that you follow the instructions in the package. Otherwise, you'll be left with gummy noodles that clump and stick together.
All About Rice Vermicelli Noodles
What do rice vermicelli noodles look like?
Rice vermicelli noodles like like a thin, white noodle that is round and cylindrical made from rice. When uncooked, the noodles are white in color. When cooked, the noodles become a deeper white, and are sticky and soft.
Do not confuse vermicelli noodles with cellophane bean thread, which is another Asian noodle that's made with mung bean starch. They look the same dried, but their cooking characteristics are drastically different.
How are rice vermicelli noodles cooked?
Generally, vermicelli noodles are cooked for about 8 minutes in boiling water. It is then drained, and wrapped loosely in handfuls into a holding container right before serving .
What dishes use rice vermicelli noodles?
Noodle soup recipes that use vermicelli noodles include Vietnamese bun bo hue, Lao khao poon, and Thai mee ka tee. The noodles are also used in spring rolls as well.
What are the variations of rice vermicelli noodles?
Rice vermicelli noodles come in various thicknesses, but the differences are very minimal. As long as you get vermicelli noodles for a recipe that calls for it, choosing the thickness is a matter of personal preference.
What are the best brands to buy for rice vermicelli noodles?
For products that are purchased from Asian markets, people often refer to them by the name of the logo. I would recommend the "Three Ladies", "Cart" and the "Horse" brands shown below for making anything with rice vermicelli noodles.
Here is a closer look at the packages:
Should rice vermicelli noodles be purchased fresh or dried?
Rice vermicelli noodles are best purchased in the dried noodle aisle and freshly cooked.
Other names for vermicelli noodles
Names of vermicelli rice noodles include:
- Rice vermicelli noodles
- Vermicelli noodles
- Vermicelli rice noodles
All About Rice Noodle Sticks
What do rice noodle sticks look like?
Rick noodle sticks look like fettuccine shaped noodles. Rice noodle sticks are made by cutting flexible white sheets of processed rice into narrow strips.
How are rice noodle sticks cooked?
They are often soaked in hot water before being immersed in the broth or stir-fried for the main dish.
What dishes use rice noodle sticks?
Recipes that use rice noodle sticks include Vietnamese Pho or Pad Thai. Rice stick noodles are strong and elastic, which makes them a great option for stir-frying because they won't break apart during the cooking process.
What are the variations of rice noodle sticks?
Rice noodle sticks come in various sizes, from thin to thick. Thinner rice noodle sticks are usually reserved for making Vietnamese pho and pad thai. Thicker rice noodle sticks are usually used in stir fry dishes, like pad see ew.
What are the best brands to buy for rice noodle sticks?
I generally purchase the "Three Ladies" brand for rice noodle sticks. The other rice noodle stick brands come in a close second.
Should rice rice noodle sticks be purchased fresh or dried?
Rice noodle sticks can be purchased both fresh and dried. The fresh version can be found al dente in the refrigerated section.
Other names for rice noodle sticks
Names of rice noodle sticks include:
- Rice sticks
- Pho noodles
- Banh Pho
Summary of the Differences Between Rice Noodle Sticks and Vermicelli Noodles
I hope this post helps explains the differences between rice noodle sticks and vermicelli noodles. If you wanted further details on rice noodles and the various forms, check out this awesome site that further breaks it down.
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