How is Vermicelli Different Than Other Dishes?

How different or similar is vermicelli from other noodle dishes? This article will tackle the many names and faces of vermicelli noodles, whether they lean more toward Italian vermicelli or Asian vermicelli. Vermicelli is mainly …

How different or similar is vermicelli from other noodle dishes? This article will tackle the many names and faces of vermicelli noodles, whether they lean more toward Italian vermicelli or Asian vermicelli.

Vermicelli is mainly classified as Italian or Asian. It’s just a flexible term for both pasta and noodles. Dishes such as falooda sev, kataifi, mai fun, misua, bihon, and sotanghon, are similar to vermicelli. The only difference they’d have would be the main ingredient. 

Is there anything else that separates each noodle variety or dish from the other? Read on to find out!

Before anything else, let’s discuss what vermicelli is. Vermicelli is both pasta and noodle. Vermicelli in Italian means “little worms” and it resembles spaghetti or angel hair pasta.

There are two types of vermicelli: Italian vermicelli which is made with semolina from durum wheat, and Asian vermicelli which can be made from wheat, rice, bean, and other starches. The most common of which is the latter three.

Italian vermicelli is hard and yellowish in color. Asian vermicelli, on the other hand, is soft and opaque white or transparent.

If you want to know more about vermicelli noodles and whether they are gluten-free, take a moment to dive into my guide and get a better understanding of whether vermicelli noodles align with your dietary needs.

There are many different types of vermicelli dishes around the world. Let’s discuss what their key differences (or similarities) are, and if they are closer to Italian or Asian vermicelli noodles. 

Is Falooda SEV and Vermicelli the Same Thing?

Falooda Sev is a popular type of drink or dessert in India. The star ingredient is vermicelli. The vermicelli can be made with rice, chickpea flour paste, cornstarch, arrowroot, sago, or maida which is obtained from wheat.

vermicelli pasta with fresh herb and mushroom

This vermicelli can be found in Indian markets or sometimes in Asian stores. If you don’t have it, you can substitute using Italian vermicelli or angel hair pasta. 

Falooda sev typically uses a thinner type of vermicelli. So, while you can use Italian vermicelli for falooda sev, it will change the texture and taste of the dessert

Different regions in India have their own type of Falooda which makes it even more interesting!

(sources: Greatist, The Many Reflections of the Noodle–Madison Rousseau, Journal 3, Tarla Dalal).

Is Vermicelli the Same as Suju?

Soju is a distilled liquor that originated and made in Korea. The only similarity it has with vermicelli is that both can be created from rice.

Is Kataifi Pastry the Same as Vermicelli?

At first glance, kataifi could look like it’s made with vermicelli. But they’re actually not the same.

Kataifi is made from shredded pastry dough. This dough is called phyllo dough or kataifi dough. Kataifi is made with water and wheat.

The dough is shredded into very thin strips. It is available frozen and therefore should be thawed before shredded or cut into thin strips.

This pastry is popular in the Middle East. Kataifi is a sweet dish and usually crispy. It is also typically added with honey and nuts (source: Delighted Cooking).

Kataifi Pastry on a plate

Is Maifun the Same as Vermicelli?

Mai fun also called mei fun, is a popular Chinese noodle dish. The word “fun” means rice noodles in any shape and even size. Like vermicelli, it is thin (thinner than angel hair) and quite fragile.

Mei fun is basically rice vermicelli, rice noodles, or rice sticks. It is traditionally made with ground rice and water only. It is partly transparent.

As a dish, mai fun or mei fun is usually served as chow mei fun, which is a stir-fried noodle dish (source: Spruce Eats). 

Is Vermicelli the Same as Semiya?

If you search “semiya” on Google, you’ll end up getting results about vermicelli. This is because semiya is also known as vermicelli. It’s also called sevai, seviyan, or shevaya. 

The vermicelli here is made with semolina from wheat. Semiya resembles fideo, a type of pasta that originated in Mexico. They are both similar in the main ingredient of the vermicelli which is wheat, and they are cut into pieces with uniform length, usually one inch.

As a dish, semiya is famous as Semiya Upma, a savory vegan breakfast in South India. 

(source: Shweta In the Kitchen).

Is Vermicelli and Seviyan the Same Thing?

Vermicelli and seviyan are one and the same as discussed above. Both of them are made with durum wheat flour. 

Is Misua the Same as Vermicelli?

Misua or miswa is a Chinese noodle that’s also made with wheat and is very thin. It’s kind of like mai fun or mei fun, only that it is made with wheat. This type of noodle is comparable to vermicelli noodles made with wheat.

wheat vermicelli on a plate

The wheat gives the noodles body and texture. They are opaque white in color when dry and cooked. Misua can both be used in a main dish as the major ingredient, or as garnish.

You can buy misua in Chinese markets or Asian groceries. They are sometimes labeled as wheat vermicelli (source: Delighted Cooking). 

Is Bihon the Same Thing as Vermicelli?

Bihon is a Filipino variety of pancit, which is Filipino noodles influenced by the Chinese. Bihon is made from rice flour (source: About Filipino Food). 

Bihon is also very thin like the previous noodles in this list. Its color can vary from white to a slight yellow tint. Bihon is also referred to as rice vermicelli.

This would give itself away when it comes to appearance. Bihon is much like mai fun in a way. Even their method of cooking is similar, as bihon can be cooked in stir-fries or boiled noodle dishes. 

Is Sotanghon the Same as Vermicelli?

Sotanghon is vermicelli in the form of cellophane noodles. It can be made from potato starch, or the more common ingredient, mung bean. 

Sotanghon is transparent and is the noodle of choice in Filipino cuisine for soups. Sotanghon noodles don’t absorb much of the liquid when it’s cooked in them. And like other Asian noodles, sotanghon can be the main course or used as a garnish (source: Yummy PH). 

As you can tell, vermicelli is a plethora of different varieties, cooking techniques, and dishes. One thing’s for sure is that they all equally taste delicious!

So, what’s your vermicelli of choice?