bean thread vermicelli, slippery noodles, glass noodles
fen si, sai fun
While cellophane noodles (also known as glass noodles) are delicious, the term “cellophane noodles” doesn’t actually refer to one type of noodle, but rather a huge array of noodles that are all clear and, when reconstituted, kind of slippery.
Instead of rice or wheat, these noodles are made from a variety of starches. In Japan, the most common is potato starch, while sweet potato is common in Korea, mung bean in China, and arrowroot in India. However, these aren’t the only starches that can be used.
On their own, cellophane noodles have pretty much no flavor, but their magic lies in how well they absorb the flavors they’re cooked with. For this reason, they’re typically married with many different flavorful ingredients and provide a chewy, satisfying texture in these dishes. The most common dishes in which they’re used are soups, stir fries, salads, and hot pots. And, while they’re most recognizable in their soft form where they’re rehydrated in hot water, they can also be deep fried and used as a garnish or as a bed on which meats and stir-fries are presented.
We have a whole section of Uwajimaya devoted just to dried noodles, so you can find any cellophane noodles (or other varieties like wheat and rice) in those aisles!