Cellophane noodles

Cellophane noodles
Cooked cellophane noodles
Alternative names Glass noodles
Type Noodles
Place of origin China[1]
Main ingredients Starch (from mung beans, yams, potatoes, cassava, canna, or batata), water
Cookbook: Cellophane noodles  Media: Cellophane noodles
Regional name
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 粉絲
Simplified Chinese 粉丝
Literal meaning flour thread
Hanyu Pinyin fěnsī
Wade–Giles fên3-ssŭ1
Yale Romanization fán sī
Jyutping fan2 si1
Chinese name (Taiwan)
Chinese 冬粉
Literal meaning winter flour
Hanyu Pinyin dōngfěn
Bopomofo ㄉㄨㄥㄈㄣˇ
Wade–Giles tung1-fên3
Hokkien POJ tang-hún
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese miến / bún tàu
Literal meaning noodle / Chinese vermicelli
Thai name
Thai วุ้นเส้น / เส้นแกงร้อน / ตังหน
RTGS wun sen / sen kaeng ron / tung hon
Korean name
Hangul 당면
Hanja 唐麵
Literal meaning Tang noodle
Revised Romanization dangmyeon
McCune–Reischauer tangmyŏn
North Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl 분탕
Hancha 粉湯
Literal meaning flour soup
Revised Romanization buntang
McCune–Reischauer punt'ang
Japanese name
Kanji 春雨
Kana はるさめ
Revised Hepburn harusame
Indonesian name
Indonesian sohun
Filipino name
Tagalog sotanghon

Cellophane noodles, also known as glass noodles, are a type of transparent noodle made from starch (such as mung bean starch, potato starch, sweet potato starch, tapioca, or canna starch) and water.

They are generally sold in dried form, soaked to reconstitute, then used in soups, stir fried dishes, or spring rolls. They are called "cellophane noodles" or "glass noodles" because of their appearance when cooked, resembling cellophane, a clear material of a translucent light gray or brownish-gray color.

Cellophane noodles should not be confused with rice vermicelli, which are made from rice and are white in color rather than clear (after cooking in water).


Cellophane noodles are made from different starch. In China, cellophane noodles are usually made of mung bean starch. Chinese varieties made from mung bean starch are called Chinese vermicelli, bean threads, bean thread noodles. Thicker Korean varieties made with sweet potato starch are called sweet potato noodles or dangmyeon.

Cellophane noodles are available in various thicknesses. Wide, flat cellophane noodle sheets called mung bean sheets are also produced in China. In Korea, napjak-dangmyeon (literally "flat dangmyeon) refers to flat sweet potato noodles.


In China, the primary site of production of cellophane noodles is the town of Zhangxing, in Zhaoyuan, Shandong province. However, historically the noodles were shipped through the port of Longkou, and thus the noodles are known and marketed as Longkou fensi (simplified Chinese: 龙口粉丝; traditional Chinese: 龍口粉絲).[2]



In Chinese, the most commonly used names are fěnsī (Chinese: 粉絲, literally "noodle thread") and dōngfěn (Chinese: , literally "winter noodle"). They are also marketed under the name saifun, the Cantonese pronunciation of the Mandarin xìfěn (Chinese: ; literally "slender noodle"), though the name fánsī (粉絲) is the term most often used in Cantonese.

In China, cellophane noodles are a popular ingredient used in stir fries, soups, and particularly hot pots. They can also be used as an ingredient in fillings for a variety of Chinese jiaozi (dumplings) and bing (flatbreads), especially in vegetarian versions of these dishes. Thicker cellophane noodles are also commonly used to imitate the appearance and texture of shark's fin in vegetarian soups. Thicker varieties, most popular in China's northeast, are used in stir fries as well as cold salad-like dishes. A popular soup using the ingredient is fried tofu with thin noodles (Chinese: ; Pinyin: yóu dòu fu-xiàn fěn tāng). A popular Sichuan dish called ants climbing a tree consists of stewed cellophane noodles with a spicy ground pork meat sauce.


In India and Pakistan, glass noodles are called falooda (see Faludeh from Persian cuisine), and are served on top of kulfi (a traditional ice cream). They are usually made from arrowroot starch using a traditional technique. The noodles are flavorless so they provide a nice contrast with the sweet kulfi. Kulfi and falooda can be bought from numerous food stalls throughout Pakistan and northern parts of India.


In Indonesian cuisine, they are called soun or suun.


In Japanese cuisine, they are called harusame (春雨), literally "spring rain". Unlike Chinese glass noodles, they are usually made from potato starch. They are commonly used to make salads, or as an ingredient in hot pot dishes. They are also often used to make Japanese adaptations of Chinese and Korean dishes.


In Korean cuisine, glass noodles are usually made from sweet potato starch and are called dangmyeon (Hangul: 당면; Hanja: ; literally "Tang noodles"; also spelled dang myun, dangmyun, tang myun, or tangmyun). They are commonly stir-fried in sesame oil with beef and vegetables, and flavoured with soy and sugar, in a popular dish called japchae (hangul: 잡채). They are usually thick, and are a brownish-gray color when in their uncooked form.


In Malaysia and Taiwan they are known as tanghoon (). People sometimes confuse them with bihun (米粉) which are rice vermicelli. Sometimes also known as suhun or suhoon.


In Filipino cuisine, the noodles are called a similar name: sotanghon because of the popular dish of the same name made from them using chicken and wood ears. They are also confused with rice vermicelli, which are called bihon in the Philippines.


Glass noodles were introduced to Samoa by Cantonese agricultural workers in the early 1900s where they became known as "lialia", a Samoan word meaning "to twirl", after the method of twirling the noodles around chopsticks when eating. A popular dish called sapasui (transliteration of the Cantonese chop suey) is common fare at social gatherings. Sapasui, a soupy dish of boiled glass noodles mixed with braised pork, beef, or chicken and chopped vegetables, is akin to Hawaiian "long rice".


In Thai cuisine, glass noodles are called wun sen (Thai: วุ้นเส้น). They are commonly mixed with pork and shrimp in a spicy salad called yam wun sen (Thai: ยำวุ้นเส้น), or stir-fried as phat wun sen (Thai: ผัดวุ้นเส้น).


In Tibetan cuisine, glass noodles are called phing or fing and are used in soup, pork curry or with mushrooms.

United States

In Hawaii, where cuisine is heavily influenced by Asian cultures, cellophane noodles are known locally as long rice, supposedly because the process of making the noodles involves extruding the starch through a potato ricer.[3] They are used most often in chicken long rice, a dish of cellophane noodles in chicken broth that is often served at luaus.[4]


In Vietnamese cuisine, there are two varieties of cellophane noodles. The first, called bún tàu or bún tào, are made from mung bean starch, and were introduced by Chinese immigrants. The second, called miến or miến dong, are made from canna (Vietnamese: dong riềng), and were developed in Vietnam. These cellophane noodles are a main ingredient in the dishes: miến gà, miến lươn, miến măng vịt, and miến cua. These cellophane noodles are sometimes confused with rice vermicelli (Vietnamese: bún) and arrowroot starch noodles (Vietnamese: arrowroot: củ dong, arrowroot starch: bột dong/bột hoàng tinh/bột mì tinh).

Health concerns

In 2004, testing by Chinese authorities determined that some brands of cellophane noodles produced in Yantai, Shandong were contaminated with lead. It emerged that several unscrupulous companies were making their noodles from cornstarch instead of mung beans in order to reduce costs, and, to make the cornstarch transparent, were adding lead-based whiteners to their noodles.[5] In December 2006, Beijing authorities again inspected cellophane noodles produced by the Yantai Deshengda Longkou Vermicelli Co. Ltd. in Siduitou village, Zhangxing town, Zhaoyuan city, Yantai, this time determining that sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic industrial bleach that is an illegal food additive in China, had been used in the production of the noodles. The company, which formerly sold its noodles both in China as well as overseas, was ordered to cease production and distribution.[6][7][8][9]

In December 2010, Czech food inspection authorities (SZPI) again inspected Chinese cellophane noodles, this time determining that 142.00 mg/kg of aluminium had been used in the production of the noodles.[10] Above 10 mg/kg is an illegal amount for noodles in Czech (and EU) markets, see Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 669/2009 and its amendments (EU) No 187/2011, 618/2013 annex I.

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  2. "China Vermicelli Manufacturer - Yantai Yinsida Longkou Vermicelli Co., Ltd". made-in-china.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
  3. Keiko Ohnuma (Apr 25, 2007). "The choice is clear". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Archived from the original on June 14, 2008.
  4. "Chicken Long Rice". 'Ono Kine Grindz. TypePad. October 27, 2005. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
  5. "Dubious Noodles on Shelves". China Internet Information Center. May 8, 2004. Archived from the original on April 26, 2005.
  6. "Cancer-scare Noodles still on the market". Shanghai Daily. CRIENGLISH.com. 2006-12-07. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17.
  7. "Poisonous Vermicelli Found in Beijing". The Epoch Times. Dec 14, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-01-29.
  8. 问题粉丝可能是冒牌货 烟台质监局已介入调查 (in Chinese). health.enorth.com.cn. 2006-12-08. Archived from the original on 2007-01-28.
  9. "Archive for the 'Food' Category". Status of Chinese People. WordPress.com. Archived from the original on 2007-01-08.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
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