To the untrained eye and taste buds, noodles and pasta may seem interchangeable, however, there are several differences besides the origin of these two popular food items. To help broaden your culinary knowledge, here are the top differences between the Japanese mainstay and the Italian favorite.
Traditional Japanese noodles are typically made with softer varieties of milled flour, while pasta is made with the harder and coarser, durum semolina types of flour that can be found in the Mediterranean region. Noodles turn out lighter in color with a smoother feel and extremely soft texture when eaten.
Noodle recipes will most likely contain salt that is added to help develop the softer gluten proteins and to bind the dough. Traditional Italian pasta is salt-free when made but most of the time salt will be added when cooking to add flavor and to help with the tenderness.
Sauce vs. Broth
Japanese noodles will be served in seasonal broths that can either hot or cold with various meats and/or vegetables. Pasta is almost always served with sauce. Tomato-based or cream/oil based sauces are the two most common, but the Italian cuisine has a variety of sauces that can accompany pasta.
Italian pasta comes in over 300+ shapes, and while that may seem a bit excessive, each one has a specific purpose and dish. Whether it is the type of sauce that determines the noodle or the traditions of the recipe, Italian pasta comes in every shape imaginable. The variety of shapes that Japanese noodles come is considerably less, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t beauty in the simplicity. Udon and Soba noodles are the two common types of Japanese noodles and come in flat or round, long shapes.
At Noodle Bar PHX, downtown Phoenix’s best pasta and noodle restaurant, you will find the very best dishes from the Japanese and Italian cuisines. Dishes like Bolognese, Penne al Forno, Chicken Yakisoba and Hakata Ramen are favorites on the menu, but Noodle Bar is not to be confused as a fusion restaurant because Chef Marco Di Santo loves and respects each noodle-based cuisine for its entirety. So, the next time you are trying to decide between an Italian or Japanese restaurant in downtown Phoenix, just remember you no longer have to choose. Noodle Bar PHX restaurant in downtown Phoenix needs to be your next meal out. Feel free to check out our menu online, so you’ll know what to order when you come in.