Glass Noodles vs Vermicelli: 6 Differences You Need to Know

Noodles come in various types and shapes. If you are new to the world of noodles, you might think they are all the same. There could, however, be thin, thick, white, or bright yellow.

Also, the flour used to make the noodles is different. This is why you keep hearing about glass, rice, or vermicelli noodles. These are only a few examples of the various noodle types.

This blog will give you proper insight into the differences between glass and vermicelli noodles. We will dive deeper into the Glass noodles vs. Vermicelli comparison to help you tell them apart.

Glass Noodles vs. Vermicelli
The main differences between Glass noodles and Vermicelli are their color, source, taste, shape, cooking time, and nutritional value. When uncooked, both noodles are white, but when cooked, vermicelli noodles remain white, while glass noodles become transparent

What are Glass Noodles?

This type of noodle is commonly used in China and many parts of Southeast Asia. This type is also known as cellophane or fensi noodles. Glass noodles are a main ingredient in various authentic Asian soups and stir-fries. Glass noodles, contrary to popular belief, is not a single type. Chinese glass noodles are different from South Korean ones.

 Original Chinese glass noodles are made of mung beans. The starch of these beans is extracted and processed to provide glass noodles. As the name suggests, glass noodles are relatively transparent and clear. Chinese glass noodles are very suitable for making delicious soups.

This is because they can tolerate hot soups without becoming starchy or absorbing the liquid. Korean or Japanese glass noodles are different from the Chinese type. They are made of sweet potato starch, which is why they are not as clear.

Generally, both types of glass noodles are suitable for gluten-free diets. Also, when cooked, these noodles maintain a chewy sensation and a delicious taste due to their resistance to boiling liquids. In addition to their chewiness, glass noodles fall into the category of thin and tall noodles.

What are Vermicelli Noodles?

The first impression you may get when you hear about vermicelli noodles is that they are Italian. However, they are like all the other noodles that come from Asia. They got this name outside of Southeast Asian countries due to their close resemblance to the famous Italian pasta.

Vermicelli noodles are considered a category that contains various other types of noodles. Glass noodles can be regarded as one of these. But the most common vermicelli noodle refers to rice vermicelli noodles. Since they are made from rice flour, vermicelli noodles are typically white.

One of the most common uses of vermicelli noodles in Asian dishes is making spring rolls. These noodles have a very thin and long shape. When compared to spaghetti noodles, the thinness of these noodles is undeniable. 

Their thin texture makes them super easy to cook. Once they are exposed to hot liquids such as water or oil, they will soften up quickly. So, ensure not to leave them in these liquids for a long time.

What are the Differences between Glass Noodles and Vermicelli?

Newbie noodle lovers can easily confuse Glass and Vermicelli noodles. Their outside appearance can be very misleading in this matter. However, they can be easily told apart when you are familiar with Southeast Asian cuisine.

1. Color

The color is one of the most apparent signs to differentiate glass noodles and vermicelli. As raw noodles, both have different shades of white.

However, when you cook Chinese glass noodles, you will find that they are transparent. Such transparency is not present in vermicelli noodles. They are white.

2. Shape

The shape of both noodle varieties is one of the main reasons you might confuse them. Both types of noodles are thin and tall. However, vermicelli noodles are thinner than glass ones. They are so thin that they take a few seconds to cook well.

3. Source

Glass noodles are made from different materials than vermicelli. Korean glass noodles are made from sweet potatoes. Chinese glass noodles are made of mung beans. Vermicelli noodles are made from different sources, too. However, rice vermicelli is the most common type.

4. Taste

Both meals should taste like standard noodle dishes at the end. However, glass noodles and vermicelli won’t taste the same. Glass noodles should maintain a certain level of chewiness.

You can’t experience the same thing with vermicelli. They are not chewy at all. They are easy to chew and won’t require much crushing with the teeth.

5. Cooking time

While both types of noodles are fast to cook, raw vermicelli noodles cook much faster. After placing them in boiling water, vermicelli noodles will be ready.

Also, frying them in hot oil will make them ready in a couple of seconds. Cooking glass noodles, on the other hand, requires soaking them in hot water for around 7 minutes.

6. Nutritional value

Generally, noodles are not the best source of nutrition. They can give you a decent level of carbs, but you should not depend on them alone to get a balanced meal. It is always recommended to integrate them into a diversified dish. Their source determines the nutritional value of glass noodles.

Sweet potato glass noodles can provide more vitamins than mung bean ones. As vermicelli noodles come from white rice, they can provide you with more than carbs.

They have more protein, vitamins, and fiber. But keep in mind that vermicelli noodles are rich in sodium too. So, consume them with caution to avoid unwanted changes in blood pressure.

Glass noodles vs. Vermicelli: are they the same?

Glass noodles and Vermicelli are not the same types of noodles. They are common types of noodles in Southeast Asian cuisines. However, glass noodles are more common, especially in Chinese cuisine. At first glance, glass noodles and vermicelli might appear similar but differ on various levels.

Vermicelli noodles are very thin and long and cook much faster. They are made from white rice flour, which explains their color. Raw glass noodles are white, but they turn clear after cooking.

Lastly, cooking glass noodles takes longer than cooking vermicelli. In general, glass noodles can be considered a type of vermicelli noodle, but they are not identical.

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