Noodles and pasta have different origin and history. Both of them are widely known as the food icon of their respective origin. Pasta and noodles is very popular and being consumed by people from different regions. In some places the term noodles and pasta is somehow interchangeable, commonly happened in western cultures. However these two staple food is in fact different. The easier way to differs them from one another is by looking at the dish, pasta is often served in a western style while noodles is served with Asian style. In this article we will give you information about noodles and pasta, and how you can differentiate them.
What is noodles?
Noodles was define by Wikipedia as a food made from unleavened dough, which is stretched, extruded, or rolled flat and cut into one of variety of shapes. Noodles is commonly comes in the long strips shapes. Aside from that noodles have many various shapes such as waves, helices, tubes, strings, shells, folded over, or cut into other shapes. Noodles is similar to pasta, it is usually cooked in a boiling water added with salt and oils. After it has been boil in many recipes the noodles will be pan-fried or deep fried. Aside from the fresh variants noodles can also be preserved by drying them so it can be stored for a longer period.
History of Noodles
Noodles is originated from China. The earliest record about noodles is found in a book from Eastern Han period about 25-220. Noodles is commonly made with wheat dough and became a staple food for people in the Han dynasty. An article from Nature Journal claimed that the earliest consumption of noodles was from 4000 years ago. When a team of archaeologist found an earthenware bowl that contained 4000 years old noodles at the Lajia archaeological site. Those noodles is said to resemble lamian, which is made by repeatedly pulling and stretching the dough using hand.
Noodles in Asia
In japan noodles was first adapted by a Buddhist monk from a Chinese recipe at the 9th century. While in Persia noodles was eaten by the 13th century. As time goes by, people made many invention of new type of noodles. For example the noodles made from buckwheat or called naengmyeon by the Joseon Dynasty of Korea about 1329 to 1897. Ramen noodles which is popular now in many places was also inspired by Chinese noodles and begin popular in Japan in 1900. Instant noodles which we consumed nowadays was first invented by Momofuku Ando and was first marketed in Japan since 1956.
What is Pasta?
Pasta is an Italian staple food made from wheat flour and eggs. Aside from wheat flour pasta also made from different type of flour but the most authentic Italian pasta is said to be made from durum semolina. Pasta can be shaped into various shapes, and then cooked by boiling it in a hot water where sometimes added with salt and oils. Pasta have long shapes, short shapes, tubes, flat shapes and sheets, miniature soup shapes, filled or stuffed pasta and specialty or decorative shapes.
Pasta may available in both fresh and dried variants. Fresh pasta is commonly made with egg while dried pasta is made with water. The absent of eggs is dried pasta is said to prolong the shelf life, since using water will make the texture tends to be drier than when using eggs, which will make the pasta softer. See our article about the difference of Egg Noodle vs Pasta here.
Pasta and Sauces
Pasta like we already know is a very versatile dish, it can be served with many different kind of sauces and seasonings. When pairing pasta and sauces it is good to decide them according to the thickness and shape of the pasta. For example, thinner pasta will be most suitable served with thicker sauces since the pasta can’t hold liquid properly. While pasta with twist like fusilli is most suitable with lighter sauces such as pesto. However there is no rule to limit your option, you can serve pasta with any sauces you preferred.
Noodles vs Pasta
|- Made from common wheat and other type of flour||- Commonly made from durum semolina|
|- The texture is soft and chewy||- The texture is soft on the outside and firm at its core|
|- It is served using various method, such as, in soup, stir frying, and also combine to make another food. for example yakisoba pan in Japan||- It is commonly served with pasta sauces|
|- The most common shape is the long string noodles, however they have many variety depend on their main ingredients||- Has more variants and shape compare to noodles|
Noodles and pasta are two similar things, they do look similar and equally popular. What makes them different is mainly their main ingredients. Authentic pasta is commonly made from durum semolina while noodles can be made from various type of flour. Unlike noodles pasta look firm rather than soft. And when you taste it you can easily distinguish the al dente texture on pasta and the soft, flexible texture of noodles. Both of them are equally delicious if made correctly. They are also versatile, you can make various dishes with pasta and noodles. You can modified or make your own sauce and seasoning. While with noodles you can try making soup with various herbs and stocks or you may try the infamous stir fry noodles with seafood. The choice is all yours.