Kung pao sauce
Origin: Sichuan Province, China
Ingredients: Dry red chilli, dark soya sauce, molasses
Taste: Soft, served dry
Best combination: A semi-thick sauce, which is slightly sweet in taste. Traditionally served and enjoyed with chillies
Best combination: Cashew nuts and dry red chillies.


(From left, front row) Flour noodles, Flat rice, Pad Thai, Glass noodles, Vegetable noodles, Vermicelli or cellophane noodles; (From left, back row) Kung pao sauce, Satay or peanut sauce, Chilli bean sauce, Sesame sauce, Black bean sauce, Hot garlic sauce

Satay or peanut sauce
Origin: Thailand
Ingredients: Peanuts, fish sauce, molasses, tamarind
Taste: crunchy and creamy
Best combination: Skewered vegetables & meat.

Chilli bean sauce (doubanjiang)
Origin: Sichuan Province, China
Ingredients: Tung Nu chilli, garlic & black bean
Taste: Oily, Spicy and dense
Best combination: Goes with everything, specially tofu and seafood.

Sesame sauce
Origin: Yunan province, China
Ingredients: White sesame seeds, oil
Taste: smooth and subtle
Best combination: chicken and meat, avoidable with seafood.

Black bean sauce
Origin: Sichuan Province China
Ingredients: Black bean, soya, oil
Taste: Salty, thick and has has the quality of enveloping the ingredients of the dish
Best combination: Chicken and meat, avoidable with seafood.

Hot garlic sauce
Origin: Sichuan province, China
Ingredients: Garlic, chilli, oil, soya sauce
Taste: Salty, spicy, smooth with bites of fine garlic.
Best combination: Vegetables, chicken, meat and seafood.

Flour noodles
Origin: Part of Mandarin style cuisine or Northern China
Ingredients: Flour (sometimes tapioca or arrowroot), water, and oil. Also, egg is used, on occasion, to make the noodle shinier and chewier
Taste: Chewy and super absorbent of flavours
Best combination: Goes well in stir-fries with all sauces except peanut sauce. Also complements vegetables, protein, meat and seafood.

Flat rice
Origin: Thailand
Ingredients: Made out of rice flour, water, potato, wheat
Taste: Soft, served dry
Best combination: Goes with seafood, meat and poultry. It can be paired with sweet, spicy or sour sauces.

Pad thai
Origin: Thailand
Ingredients: Made from rice and wheat starch
Texture: Flat soft
Best combination: Add chicken and prawn to it. Add only a little sauce to this kind of noodle. Steaming would be a good option. This noodle goes best with Hot Garlic Sauce, which is sweet and sour.

Pad Thai Noodles
3mm Pad Thai Noodles in the glass along with six kinds of sauces. Pic/Satyajit Desai. Location courtesy/Mekong, Palladium Hotel

Glass noodles
Origin: China
Ingredients: Made with skinned green beans and potato starch
Taste/texture: Soft, slightly sweet to taste when made with black bean sauce
Best combination: It goes well with sautéed chicken and black bean sauce. Chef recommends it stewed or stir-fried. Tastes great in Vietnamese Spring Rolls and noodle-based soups.

Vegetable noodles
Origin: Tong Guan region, China
Ingredients: Spinach purée
Texture: Soft, served dry
Best combination: It goes best with shrimps or chicken and julienned beef. An ideal way to eat it would be steamed and stir-fried with no curry. Spice lovers can add a little chilli sauce.

Vermicelli or cellophane noodles
Origin: Part of many Asian countries (China, Thailand and Vietnam, hence extremely dynamic)
Ingredients: Rice flour, water
Texture: Slightly chewy, slippery and bland (thus, it is a great accompaniment to strong stews and sauces)
Best combination: Best in stir fry or in noodle soup bowls. Dynamic noodles go great with all sauces. Vegetables, proteins, red meat and seafood are good too.