noodles vs pasta

Noodles vs Pasta Controversy

For a very long time there has been controversy in differentiating pastas from noodles, in this region where I come from which is West Africa, the actual difference is still not understood in most cases.

So in this post today I will bring clarity to table between noodles and pastas, its origin and how it looks like, very similar method of cooking and sometimes the same, but different origins, and where it appears in dishes.

Noodles are a staple food in many cultures made from unleavened dough which is stretched, extruded, or rolled flat and cut into one of a variety of shapes. While long, thin strips may be the most common, many varieties of noodles are cut into waves, helices, tubes, strings, or shells, or folded over, or cut into other shapes. Noodles are usually cooked in boiling water, sometimes with cooking oil or salt added. They are often pan-fried or deep-fried. Noodles are often served with an accompanying sauce or in a soup. Noodles can be refrigerated for short-term storage, or dried and stored for future use. The material composition or geocultural origin must be specified when discussing noodles. The word derives from the German word Nudel – wikipedia


The origin of noodles has been disputed. Claims have been made that the noodle was of Chinese, Arabian and Mediterranean origin. A Nature article claimed the oldest evidence of noodle consumption was from 4,000 years ago in China. In 2005, a team of archaeologists working in the People’s Republic of China reported finding an earthenware bowl that contained foxtail millet and broomcorn millet noodles at the Lajia archaeological site, arguably hailing from the late neolithic period, but this claim was disputed by later research, which suggested that noodles simply cannot be produced from millet, which lacks gluten.

The earliest written record of noodles is found in a book dated to the Eastern Han period (25–220). Noodles, often made from wheat dough, became a staple food for people of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). During the Tang Dynasty, the noodles were first cut into strips, and in the Yuan Dynasty the making of dried noodles began. This dough can be made from a wide variety of ingredients, like wheat (in Chinese ramen, in Japanese udon and in Italian pasta), rice, buckwheat (in Japanese soba), or other ground meals or starches.

Pasta is a generic name for an international range of foods made from a basic mixture of wheat flour or semolina and water. Eggs may be used in place of the water to give a firmer texture and a yellowed colour.

Historians are divided on its origin. It is a staple food in many cultures, so it is doubtful that only one person or culture invented it. It is clear that both the Chinese and the Italians were familiar with it long before it became popular internationally. Pasta made from durum semolina is considered to be superior to that made from flour.

pasta noodle

Pastas are of different shapes and sizes, with cooking method varying from one region to another. They are also available in dried, fresh and frozen forms.

Majorly noodles are served in a soup in the Asian region, and there are also so many varieties of noodles just as pastas. Noodles are thin, while pastas are broad. Spaghetti and fetuccini can be classified as both pastas and noodles.

But the most important difference is how they are made: whilst pasta dough is generally extruded, much like squeezing a toothpaste tube, noodles are made to the “roll-and-cut” method.

Japanese noodles tend to use softer wheat whilst pasta wheat is generally the harder, durum variety that grows in the Mediterranean region. Softer wheat gives noodles a lighter colour, a smoother, silkier feel and enables them to cook quickly, whilst harder durum wheat provides pasta with a more golden colour, a strong, elastic texture and a firmer bite.

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