Jajangmyeon (Black Bean Sauce Noodles) | South Korea
Jajangmyeon is one of the most popular noodle dishes in Korea. It is delicious and satisfying but inexpensive to buy or make, so it is a favorite home-cooked or takeout meal among many people in Korea. It is the Korean adaptation of a Chinese black bean noodle dish with the same name, and you can find it in every Chinese restaurant in Korea. The Korean version of this dish is made with a dark sauce made from a chunking paste containing caramel and roasted soybeans.
It is most common to use wide, thick noodles made from wheat flour for jajangmyun, but if you cannot find any noodles that are intended specifically for this dish, you easily can substitute wide buckwheat noodles or even linguine.
Laksa | Singapore, Malaysia
Laksa is one of the ultimate demonstrations of the combination of Chinese and Malay flavors and ingredients all in a single bowl. Noodles, often rice noodles, make up the foundation and starch of a bowl of laksa, followed by gravy or curry, some pieces of protein, and often some vegetables and herbs. There are many different types of laksa, some that include rich coconut milk, and others that are more water-based.
Beef Noodle Soup | Taiwan
Beef noodle soup often referred to as beef noodles, is a Chinese and Taiwanese noodle soup made of stewed or red braised beef, beef broth, vegetables, and Chinese noodles. It exists in various forms throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia. The beef noodle soup was first created by the Hui people during the Tang Dynasty.
Lamian | China
Lamian translates from Chinese as “pulled noodle”, referring to the athletic technique used to make the thick strands of pasta. The noodle first originated during the Tang Dynasty, amongst the Hui people of China’s Gansu province. Lamian is hand-pulled: made by twisting, stretching and folding the dough into ribbons, using the weight of the dough. It is made with only flour, thus the taste of these noodles is heavily dependent on the flavour of the soup broth, usually a beef- or mutton-flavored soup.
Ramen | Japan
Ramen is a noodle soup dish that was originally imported from China and has become one of the most popular dishes in Japan in recent decades. Ramen are inexpensive and widely available, two factors that also make them an ideal option for budget travelers. Ramen restaurants, or ramen-ya, can be found in virtually every corner of the country and produce countless regional variations of this common noodle dish.
Mohinga | Myanmar
It’s unofficial but if Myanmar were to name a national dish, Mohinga would be it. Flavored with turmeric, ginger, chili powder, garlic and lemongrass, this fish soup is breakfast in a bowl. It’s also, a street-food snack or the main dish of a comforting meal. Optional toppings include a sliced hard-boiled egg and akyaw, deep-fried crispy veggies and/or disks of lentil batter. The dish is seasoned to taste with a squeeze of lime and/or flakes of dried chili.
Pho | Vietnam
Made from rice flour and water, they are white at first but become translucent when cooked. These noodles are available both fresh and dried. The dried variety cooks into a chewy texture that is nearly as good as fresh banh pho. Although the noodles have no flavor on their own, they are absorbent of other flavors, making them flexible and complementary to different types of soups. Particularly used in pad thai, a Thai dish, banh pho is also widely used in pho soup, a Vietnamese savoury broth that comes with tender slices of beef.
Nom Banh Chok | Cambodia
Nom Banh Chok is a beloved Cambodian dish, so much so that in English it's called simply "Khmer noodles." Nom Banh Chok is a typical breakfast dish and you'll find it sold in the mornings by women carrying it on baskets hanging from a pole balanced on their shoulders.
The dish consists of noodles laboriously pounded out of rice, topped with a fish-based green curry gravy made from lemongrass, turmeric root and kaffir lime. Fresh mint leaves, bean sprouts, green beans, banana flower, cucumbers and other greens are also heaped on top. There is also a red curry version that's usually reserved for ceremonial occasions and wedding celebrations.