October 25 is World Noodle Day! While Italy was originally considered to be the country of origin of the noodle, a 4,000-year-old pot of noodles was found during an excavation in China in 2005, giving the Chinese the title of “noodle inventors”. Even though it is still not definitively clear where the noodle originally came from, it is now assumed that the noodle was invented in several places independently of each other. These also looked different depending on the origin. But which noodles are actually eaten away today where in the world? We take a closer look at the noodles from around the world.
Fregula & Gnocchetti Sardi – Sardinia
Fregula is a typical Sardinian pasta made of durum wheat semolina in the form of small balls. In addition to its normal form, it is also available roasted, which gives it a spicier taste. Fregula is served as an accompaniment to vegetable, fish, and meat dishes and can also be prepared as risotto.
Gnochetti sardi, also called Malloreddus, are not made of potato dough as we know it from gnocchi. The dough is prepared from durum wheat semolina, water, and salt. To give the pasta its typical curved surface, it is rolled by hand over a fluted rolling pin during production.
Schupfnudeln – Austria
Schupfnudeln are popular in Austria and southern Germany served in sage butter and with sauerkraut, or in the sweet variety as nut or poppy seed noodles with applesauce. In either case, make sure that the relatively tasteless noodles absorb the flavor of the other ingredients. They can be both a side dish and the main component of a dish.
By the way, the name “noodle” is given to the Schupfnudel only because of its shape, not because of the ingredients. Because while noodles are usually made of cereals, water, and sometimes eggs, the most common preparation of the steamed noodle is based on potato dough.
Kärntner Kasnudeln – Carinthia, Austria
Kärntner Kasnudeln are filled with a curd-potato mixture, which is seasoned with mint. Carinthian noodle is also available as meat noodle or also filled with mashed potatoes or mushrooms. It is served in melted butter. A special feature of hand-shaped Carinthian noodles is the artfully “crimped” edge. In the past, there was even a saying in Carinthia that a woman was only considered marriage material if she mastered crimping.
Schlutzkrapfen – South Tyrol
The original Schlutzkrapfen dough is made from a mixture of rye and wheat flour, filled with ricotta and spinach. The typical shape for Schlutzkrapfen is the half-moon – hence the Italian name “Mezzelune”. Schlutzkrapfen are served in melted sage butter and with chives.
Pierogi – Poland
In the past, pierogi were considered a festive meal and were served in different forms on various occasions. For example, large dumplings with chicken filling were served at weddings, while sweet pierogi with nut filling was served on New Year’s Eve. Today, it is impossible to imagine Polish cuisine without this culinary specialty, even apart from festive occasions. They come with countless different fillings, but the one made of potatoes, curd cheese, and fried onions is the most common.
Pelmeni – Russia
Pelmeni are one of the Russian national dishes and are eaten as a soup garnish or with sour cream, fried onions, and chives as a main course. They are filled with a mixture of minced meat and herbs. The vegetarian version (filled with cabbage, potatoes, or a mixture of cream cheese and berries) is called vareniki.
Kritharaki – Greece
…is also known under the name Orzo or simply dough rice or rice noodles. The latter describes the shape of the small noodles also best but is not to be confused with their ingredients, because Kritharaki are made from durum wheat semolina. They are usually served in tomato sauce as a side dish to meat dishes.
Šurlice – Croatia
Originating from the island of Krk, Šurlice are also known as “stick needle pasta”, and that is exactly how they are traditionally made: the pasta dough is shaped by hand around a knitting needle. It is served with seafood or a lamb sauce.
Udon & Soba – Japan
While sushi is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Japanese cuisine, noodles also play an important role. Udon are the thickest noodles in Japanese cuisine (2-3.9 mm), relatively low in calories but still very filling. They are usually eaten in a hot broth or curry sauce as a noodle soup.
Soba means buckwheat in German, and this is also the main ingredient of the noodles. They are much thinner than udon, darker in color, nuttier in flavor, and, unlike noodles made from durum wheat semolina, gluten-free. In Japan, they are served in countless dishes, both hot and cold.
Ramen – China
Many of us think of “ramen” as Asian noodle soup, but the noodles themselves have the same name. While both the noodles and the dish are often attributed to Japan, they actually come from China. Meat, fish, various vegetables, or boiled eggs serve as ingredients for ramen soups.