Also known as bean thread noodles, or glass noodles, these lightly textured, almost transparent and rather shiny strands are made from mung beans, the small dark green bean that is also used to make Chinese beansprouts.
In countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, these noodles are considered more akin to vegetables than a starchy meal component.
For preparation, cellophane noodles need only be soaked briefly in hot water, not boiled. When ready their texture is slightly gelatinous.
Similar noodles made from yams and other starches are common throughout Asia and the Orient, and for the most part they can be used interchangeably.
Fine cellophane noodles feature in rice paper rolls with finely shredded vegetables, lettuce and bahn trang.
They are a good base for stir-fries and salads flavoured with fresh herbs, ginger, chilli and peanuts. To make a filling for deep-fried spring rolls, they are chopped and combined with meat and vegetables.