Chongqing Sweet Potato Noodles (Glass Noodles, Hongshu Fen, Fentiao)

7 Reviews

Mala Market exclusive

We have upgraded our sweet potato noodle product to include 400 grams each of medium-weight, round noodles and wide flat noodles in each package, which is approximately six servings of each style. This is the perfect duo for Sichuan natives, true noodle connoisseurs, and those looking for interesting gluten-free noodles.

Sweet potato noodles, made from just sweet potato starch and water, have a springy, chewy texture that stands up to liquid, which makes them quite distinct from rice or wheat noodles. Also called glass noodles in English, they don't get sticky or gooey or fall apart but retain their bite and heft, while also being a slippery challenge for chopsticks. Many of us think they are the perfect noodle.

According to local lore, sweet potatoes have been grown in the Wulong district of greater Chongqing since their arrival from the New World in 1593. The area has long been known for its starch noodles made from ruby potatoes and spring water, and they have even been designated Chongqing Intangible Cultural Heritage. As tradition dictates, the Wulong Shaofen company still uses stone mills to grind the starch for its noodles at the beginning of a 16-step process. 

A visit to a market in Chongqing or Sichuan reveals that sweet potato noodles, called hongshu fen or fentiao, are eaten in dozens of shapes and sizes. (See photo of a display we saw in a Chongqing supermarket.) We've sourced these to be the star of soups such as suan la fen (sour and spicy noodle soup). They can be used in place of wheat or rice noodles in all kinds of soups, in fact, and are an ideal addition to hot pot, since they release much less starch than other noodles

We also love the round ones in a stir-fry (similar to Korean jap chae) or subbed for bean thread noodles in the famous "ants climbing a tree." And northern China loves them simply stir-fried with cabbage, as in this recipe from our affiliate Omnivore's Cookbook. Glass noodles make a delicious  liang fen, or cold noodle salad, as well. 

The wide, flat noodles are a popular choice for hot pot, where they are added at the end to make a kind of noodle soup with the hot pot broth. They are so popular that some shops serve "hot pot noodles" without the hot pot!

Prep noodles by soaking in warm water for at least 15 minutes, or until softened. For hot pot, cook soaked noodles directly in the pot. For other uses, boil soaked noodles until soft, around 8 to 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water until cooled and add to soups or stir-fries. 

Source: Chongqing Wulong Shaofen Group
Size: 28.2 ounces (800 grams); 400 grams each of medium round and wide flat; approx. 12 servings total
Ingredients: sweet potato starch, water
Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten-Free