There are about 350 types of noodles (including pastas) in the world. Yet, there has been a continuous effort from the Italians, Arabians, and the Chinese to claiming the throne on who invented noodles. Noodles are generally made up of water and flour that are kneaded either by hand or by machine into different shapes and sizes.
So, maybe noodles were invented across the world at about the same time which was 4,000 years ago? Who knows! There is no accurate conclusion that we can derive so far.
Singaporeans love noodles so much that they will show up in every possible manner you can think of ─ soups, salads, deep fries, stir fries, spring rolls, fried pastries, braises, and even inside breads!
Most noodles are made from rice or wheat flour. However, it is also common to find noodles made with buckwheat flour, rice flour, root vegetables and mung bean starches, tapioca flour, and even seaweed.
Common Noodles Found in Singapore
- Kway Teow
If you are from Malaysia or Singapore, you must have had char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles) or kuay teow soup at least once in your life. Kway teow is also known as hor fan as it originates from the Canton province in China.
This noodle is approximately 1 cm or (in the north of Malaysia) about 0.5 cm in width. It is white in colour and has a smooth texture that is great for slurping it down our throats. They usually come in strips or sheets that may be cut to the desired width.
Generally, kway teow do not freeze or dry well. Thus, it is best to purchase fresh although you may still find its dried form sold in various widths. Fresh kuay teow’s texture is elastic and a bit chewy.
- Mee Pok/Mee Kia
Mee pok is another kind of Chinese noodle characterized by its flat and yellow appearance, varying in thickness and width. The dish is of Teochew origin and is commonly served in Chaoshan (China), Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Mee pok is commonly served tossed in a sauce though sometimes served in a soup. Meat and vegetables are usually added on top. It has a consistent and al-dente texture.
A face of between mee pok and mee kia has been around for a long time in Singapore. Some says that mee Kia has a better retention of flavours and sauce compared to its competitor. However, it is actually made of the same ingredients as mee pok, but is thinner in size. Also, the word “kia” simply means child in Hokkien and Teochew dialects. So, it is safe to assume that mee kia is the child of mee pok!
- Bee Hoon / Mee Hoon (Vermicelli)
If you are wondering what is the healthiest noodle dish to order, bee hoon is your answer. Dr Lim Su Lin, chief dietitian at National University Hospital once mentioned that bee hoon contains fewer calories, lower amounts of fat and sodium than the other noodles.
For example, a 100g portion of bee hoon soup contains 153 calories. Where else, the same amount of mee kia and mee pok each would contain 267 calories. If you are really into healthy eating, do opt for high- fibre brown rice bee hoon with lots of vegetables as it is the healthiest choice.
- Bee Tai Mak/ Mee Tai Bak (Silver Needle Noodles)
“Boss, one clay pot bee tai bak, please!”
The most unique looking Chinese noodles is none other than bee tai bak in Min Nan/Hokkien dialect. This noodle has quite a number of different names around Asia despite originating from Taiwan. The most commonly used name for it would be lao shu fen (rat noodles in Chinese) in Singapore and Malaysia. The Chinese name derives from mee tai bak’s shape is long and tapered much like a rat’s tail (which to some others may look like needles).
Bee tai bak is made up of a mixture of ground rice flour from glutinous or non-glutinous rice and water. In order to reduce breakage during cooking, corn starch is sometimes added to the mixture.
- Kueh Chap/Kway Chap (Flat Rice Noodle Sheets)
Kway chap is a well-loved dish mainly found in places like Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. The word kway here means flat rice sheets that are cut into squares. While chap refers to the soup or sauce.
Thus, kway chap itself is a dish rather than just the noodles. Its soup is savoury and is often compared to Bak Kut Teh, although with a lot less herbs. Soups are cooked either with pork or duck innards and meat. To make the dish taste even better, preserved vegetables, pressed toufu, and taupok (fried beancurd) are often added to kway chap.
- Egg Noodles
Egg noodles are made in a similar way with pasta but with a higher proportion of eggs to wheat flour. One can find egg noodles being used in dishes like wanton noodles, egg chow mein, lo mein, dan dan noodles, and soup noodles.
This noodle type is by far the most versatile type as you can cook anyhow you like and it will taste great. Since eggs are used in the noodles itself, it provides twice the amount of protein compared to other types of noodles.
- Mee Sua (Mi Sua)
The Chinese eat mee sua during auspicious celebrations especially birthdays. It is believed that mee sua signifies long life. Hence, it is served during birthdays especially for the older generations to wish them good health and longevity. These noodles have been popularized by Taiwanese street food vendors (especially Shihlin night market in Taipei) for daily consumption.
When it comes to calorie count, mee sua has a higher calorie count compared to mee pok. It is made of wheat flour and is often cooked for less than two minutes in boiling water as it is very thin.
- Yellow Noodles
Two of Singapore’s most popular noodle dishes is Singapore Hae mee (Prawn Noodles) and Singaporean Hokkien mee. Both of these dishes are cooked with yellow noodles.
Yellow noodles are also used in curry mee, mee goreng mamak, and char mee (fried noodles). They are also known as alkaline noodles because it’s made with lye water (sodium hydroxide) which acts as a tenderizer to make the noodles easy to chew and give it its slight bitter taste.
Most yellow noodles are made with wheat flour, eggs, lye water (sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate) and salt which makes it high in carbohydrates almost the same as traditional pasta.
But there are some manufacturers who replace the eggs in the noodles with yellow colouring to save cost and some yellow noodles have been found to have a high level of boric acid. Boric acid is used as an insect repellent for furniture. Its function in food is to make the food last longer although it has been proven that it could cause cancer and impotence.
- Yee Mee (Crispy Deep-Fried Noodles)
Yee mee is commonly cooked mee kia or Shanghai noodles that are deep-fried. So, let’s not be surprised that its calorie count is the highest (350 kcals per serving according to MyFitnessPal) among all the Chinese noodles we can find in Singapore. Anything deep-fried is not going to be healthy but, they are extremely delicious!
Yee mee is most commonly cooked in clay pots and sizzling pans. This way of cooking helps retain the heat and further soften the noodles while bringing out its taste even more.
Hungry for some noodles now?
Lucky for you, CKH Food Trading produces and distributes all of the above noodles and even more in Singapore at a good price. Please contact us through our contact form and our representative will get back to you as soon as we can. If you prefer to call us directly, please do give us a call at (65) 6261 2682.