Food is one of the driving forces of humanity. Humans have built civilisations, formed communities, waged wars, and bonded over food. And while the way we enjoy and cultivate our food has grown and evolved, many things about our relationship with food stay the same. Our food remains a hallmark and a proud symbol of the culture we belong to. Closer to home, foods like rice and soy sauce play roles in Singapore. One of the central foods in Asian cuisine is noodles.
Why are noodles so important to many cuisines?
A sizable Chinese population in Singapore affects the way they enjoy their food. Noodles are a traditional staple of the Chinese diet. After thousands of Chinese immigrated to Singapore over many centuries, noodles have become integral to our cuisine. Noodles are found everywhere in many Asian countries, and you can find them used in varying ways. Here are just a few good reasons why noodles are a respected and revered part of many culinary traditions, including Singaporean ones.
1) Noodles are a basic food
One can cook noodles in thousands of different ways. Noodles are a cereal food, much like rice and wheat, that can be converted into other forms when prepared. People can also pair noodles with almost every type of food one can think of. We can prepare noodles for soups, but we can use them with creams and sauces. You can even pair an egg or meat with noodles in Singapore. Almost like rice, sometimes a meal is not complete without delicious cooked noodles.
Essentially, they are the Asian equivalent of bread, potatoes, and other sources of carbohydrates found around the world. Noodles are cheap and affordable food that millions of people eat no matter their race or class.
2) Noodles are an affordable superfood
Every human needs to derive nutrition from the food they eat. Carbohydrates are crucial for this reason– without the necessary sources of carbohydrates, you will survive. That is why grains, bread, beans, and other healthy foods take up a large chunk of our diet. Noodles are one of the most affordable sources of carbohydrates that any person can choose. Because it is easy to obtain, we incorporated it into most of our meals. Most of our favourite traditional foods will not be filling when noodles are absent from the menu.
3) Noodles pair well with other foods
Some foods are best enjoyed by themselves or with a few pairings. We enjoy some foods with other flavours for a tastier and more fulfilling meal. Noodles belong to the latter category. It is only with the addition of seasonings, sauces, or other ingredients that it stands out. You can modify your noodle dish and explore many flavour profiles. Sour, salty, savoury, spicy, and even sweet or bitter noodle dishes are available for every connoisseur.
You can discover a variety of flavours depending on the extra ingredients you use. Sometimes the extra ingredients can indicate the noodle dish’s cultures and local flavours. You can know much about the origins of your noodle dishes by simply looking at what it is made of. With thousands of different noodle types, you can get a new experience with every dish you eat.
4) Noodles are created from different ingredients
Not only can noodles vary by the cooking methods and extra ingredients you add, but the noodles themselves too. You can create noodles from different ingredients. Chefs make most from soft unleavened wheat but you can also make vegetable noodles, like spinach noodles in Singapore. You can add ingredients during noodle preparation to change its texture, taste, smell, and more. For example, egg noodles have a slightly more savoury taste and a yellowish colour from the addition of eggs to the ingredients.
How can you get the best noodles?
If you plan to make a soup or any dish with noodles, do not underestimate the base ingredient. While noodles might not look like it adds much to the taste of your dish, it does add substance and texture. Noodles that are subpar in quality will diminish the customers’ dining experience.
Choosing the best noodles is often the first step in creating a great dish. Here is a short guide for getting the best noodles for your food.
1) Look carefully at what types of noodles chefs use for the dish
The guide is simple. If you make ramen noodles, then use noodles specifically for ramen. If you are making Lo Mein, then choose Lo Mein noodles. Noodle types are important because they set the appearance and texture of the dish. Most Asian noodle types are cooked with a bit of springiness and bite. Check the packaging of your noodle dish. If you pick a good one, it will likely indicate what noodle dishes you use them for.
2) Determine the texture of your noodle dish
Taste and texture are everything to noodle types. For example, if you want something chewier, you would go for Italian-style macaroni. If you are looking for something to accompany a delicate dish, you will use angel hair noodles. For something more substantial and savoury, try egg noodles in Singapore. After determining your noodle type, adjust the length of cooking time to achieve your desired “hardness.” Hardness or texture determines how chewy or soft your noodles will be.
3) Do not forget other components of your dish
Remember to prepare your noodles with the cooking method used to prepare them. Sometimes noodles are cooked together with the soup. We cook some noodles separately, and we add some to other ingredients. A few noodle dishes end with the sauce poured onto the noodles.
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