SAI FUN (SEI FEN)
“All fresh noodles are found at noodle shops in Chinatown or in the refrigerated section of specialty markets. They should be kept refrigerated and consumed within two days of purchase, with the exception of freshly made broad noodles that you intend to stuff. Those you must buy the day you will prepare them, and keep them out of the refrigerator. Dried noodles can be stored for up to one year, although I generally like to consume them within six months. Fresh or dried rice noodles are generally sold in one pound bags.” Corinne Trang, Noodles Every Day
In Chinese, fun or fen refers to noodles made of rice, mung bean starch, or any other starch, all traditional in southern China. Noodles made from wheat, typical of northern China, are called mian, mien or mein. The Cantonese word saifun refers to noodles made from mung bean starch, a popular noodle throughout Asia.
Because saifun noodles are made from mung beans, people also call them bean threads. When heated they become translucent, which is why they are sometimes called cellophane or glass noodles. Their texture is gelatinous, almost chewy and, lacking any distinct flavor of their own, they absorb the flavors of the liquids they’re cooked in. Preparing them couldn’t be simpler: soak them for twenty minutes in hot tap water to cover or, if you are willing to bring the water to a boil, you can reduce the soaking time by half or less. Drain them and cut the strands into 4 or 5 inch lengths. They are then ready for immersion in the broth of your choice.