So what is the difference between noodles and spaghetti? Or should we discuss noodles vs pasta? You might ask why I am writing about this incredibly interesting subject, but it’s not as easy as it might seem. Just bear with me.

It all started with Becky (a wonderful couchsurfing host, we are staying with at the moment) asking us if we would like some noodles for dinner? We had already eaten and said ‘no thanks’. When she showed up at the dinner table I glanced at her plate and was astonished to see it was full of spaghetti.

‘Why would you call that noodles?’ I asked her. ‘Because that is what they are.’ she said.

What?!

Hold on, this is very confusing, I have been brought up thinking that noodles are Chinese curly things and she says that spaghettis are noodles? My brain had a very hard time processing this, so I decided to get some advice from the almighty mister Google in order to settle this once and for all.

So here is the truth. Are you ready?

In American English usage, the word “noodle” is an inclusive term that denotes texture and culinary use, and to a lesser extent, shape, as many people may associate it with the more common string varieties, such as spaghetti or ramen. In British English usage it denotes exclusively a food in the form of long, thin strips of pasta, usually as in Asian cuisine.

So, in other words the Americans use the term noodle differently than the British (and therefore the rest of Europe, including me).

Who is right?

Well in a sense everyone is right.

Technically the Americans are right because spaghetti is a type of noodle, although I wouldn’t answer ‘a part of the fruit family’ to the question ‘What is that green thing you are eating?’ I would could call it an apple.

In this sense the Europeans are more correct because they use the word spaghetti but unfortunately they have no idea that spaghetti, lasagna, mie, bakmi, spätzle and rice vermicelli are all part of the same family called noodles.

One final question remains unanswered though; where does pasta fit into all of this?

Pasta is the collective term for all of the Italian noodles. Yep, it is that easy.

So here you go, next time you’ll have something to talk about when you are eating a type of noodles in the mixed company of americans and europeans.

 

Ps: I wonder what the Chinese have to say on the matter?