On many of our Hanoi Food Tours exposing the city’s most typical street eats and daily home-meals of the Hanoians, we received questions related to various types of noodles. Many of them were about noodle dishes we sampled on our walk, many of them were about the noodle itself, such as “what’s the Vietnamese cellophane noodle made from?”
In this blog post, we would like to write about the Vietnamese cellophane noodles and popular dishes we cooked from it. If you’ve already tried the famous noodle soups and the Vietnamese baguette, this article will guide you to the next amazing street eats in Hanoi.
What’s cellophane noodles?
Cellophane noodles, also called glass noodles, are daily-used noodles made from canna starch. The noodles are referred to as “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.
In Vietnamese, the cellophane noodles are called “miến dong” – meaning noodles that’s specifically made from the canna roots. Because cellophane noodles are sometimes confused with bún (rice vermicelli), bún tàu (noodles made from mung bean starch), and other arrowroot starch noodles.
As the rhizomes of the canna are full of starch, it’s traditionally used like an alternative choice to replace steamed rice throughout Vietnam. The noodles are a main ingredient in the dishes: miến trộn (mixed cellophane noodles), miến xào (stir-fried cellophane noodles), miến gà (chicken cellophane noodle), and miến cua (fresh water crab with cellophane noodles).
To make cellophane noodles, matured canna roots are ground into white flour. The flour is then added with warm water until it becomes thick and sticky, then poured into a gadget having a row of holes, that will squirt the liquid out onto a moving bamboo frame. Finally, they are dried in the sun for several days before packing.
Hence, the cellophane noodles are generally sold in dried form. Before cooking soups, stir-fried dishes, or spring rolls, the noodles are soaked in water for 10 minutes to reconstitute. It’s traditionally believed that cellophane noodles help reduce weight, triglycerides and cholesterol. It’s also good for diabetics, tooth pain, hepatitis, or ear infections.
Cellophane noodle dishes to try in Hanoi
Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city since 1010, has been internationally known as one of the best foodie destinations in Asia. The city is home of the country’s most tasty dishes, which include cellophane noodle dishes. Here are our hand-picks local foods for you to try next.
1. Miến Trộn at 17 Hang Chinh Street
Located in the middle of a quiet street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, this sidewalk eatery has been our favorite spot for mixed cellophane noodle dish for many years. Came from the countryside of Nam Dinh Province, Ms. Thom’s family has been serving the dish for some 25 years.
Each day, they cook a big pot of fresh water crab and use the boiling broth to soften the cellophane noodle and water celery to make the city’s best mixed fresh water crab and cellophane noodle dish.
2. Miến gà trộn 65 Lan Ong Street
Nested inside a narrow alley of the medical Lan Ong Street and only open in the everning, but the eatery is always busy with local dinners from all over the city. The family serves chicken noodle soup and mixed chicken noodles (rice noodles and cellophane noodles), but their chicken cellophane noodle is the best.
3. Miến ngan at 65 Ly Nam De Street
Located on the fringe of the Old Quarter, so the eatery is off the tourist radar. But it’s the local people’s favorite place to eat dishes related to duck creole, such as chopped duck, rice noodle soup, and duck creole and cellophane noodle salad.
Hope the article provide you some good information about one of our stable foods, and here is other street foods in Hanoi for you to explore.