15 Oct2012

The short of it is VERY GOOD on the left, VERY BAD on the right. Sorry for the delay in the “right” noodle post, I have been seriously swamped lately. The darned packages way too darned similar, and in a rush, you WILL LIKELY make an error. Ticks me off that China seems to have even less intellectual property rights than we do…

Mushy noodles on the left are made with inferior sotanghon noodles. Clear, glassy and intact noodles on the right, made with our several decades long house favorite green bean thread or mung bean or bean vermicelli noodles. I gather Lung Kow is an area, and a reference to the style of noodle from the area, so the key is to find a reliable brand whose noodles don’t get too soggy when you cook them.

The price differential wasn’t even that much, say 30%, but when you are talking about say PHP20 difference on 500 grams of noodles, then I think its best to go with the pricier ones so as not to waste the rest of your ingredients… So for your reference, and I am sure there are OTHER good sotanghon noodles out there, we like the vermicelli on the left in the top photo. To distinguish it from “pretenders” or noodles in extremely similar packaging… the plastic is a bit more substantial and slightly opaque. It has a light blue stripe across the top. The noodles within are neatly packed in oval “nests”. There is a lighthouse enclosed in a circle (near the price tag in bag in photo) and mirrored dragons. We buy ours in Chinatown. Shame on Chinese owned groceries nearer to our home that sell lots of inferior examples of sotanghon noodles. Boo to you. :)



  1. millet says:

    thanks for this post, MM. i have fallen victim to “fake” sotanghon a couple of times before, and have never been able to make the distinction. there’s a brand with green packaging that i am also curious about.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 7:26 am


  2. Notice: Undefined variable: oddcomment in /home/marketman/marketmanila.com/wp-content/themes/marketmanila-v2/comments.php on line 33
  3. moni says:

    Millet, I find the brand with green package even better than the sotanghon on the left. It says “premium” on the package. The noodles are finer. I buy it in some supermarkets but perhaps I got the “genuine” one.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 8:18 am

  4. Zerho says:

    When buying on supermarkets my mom brings the old packaging to make sure that she gets the right one. Counterfeits are getting harder and harder to detect specially when your in rush. BTW should the first line read “The short of it is VERY GOOD”..

    Oct 15, 2012 | 8:30 am

  5. odessa says:

    thanks for the post MM. We always have sotanghon, bihon, canton and miswa and also instant noodles and pansit canton stock at home. Well, obviously I’m a noodle girl! yes MM, if the price difference is not that much, better get the pricier one especially if the brand is proven to give good quality pansit. Sometimes talaga its tempting to buy new and cheaper brands but when you do (like i do), buy small packages first (say a 100g to 200g) and cook it with less sahog that way if it fails your expectations, d gaanong sayang….

    Oct 15, 2012 | 8:44 am

  6. Papa Ethan says:

    These two posts on sotanghon could very well be a springboard for a reader-based compilation of quality assessments for various food products. Maybe we can all pitch in and share our experiences and explicit “reviews” of the various brands of products/services that we encounter and consume in order to declare which ones are “highly recommended” or “not recommended” or maybe even “condemned.” This way, we can do our little bit in getting even with these manufacturers of inferior food products: sort of a “Marketmanila Readers Choice” post?

    Wikipedia, in its article entitled “Cellophane Noodles” describes some serious health concerns concerning China-made vermicelli. I know that Wiki is not a very reliable source of information, generally speaking, but the statements concerning the hazards are supported with citations.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 8:53 am

  7. millet says:

    thanks, moni. will try the green package, too. really hoping you can surprise us by coming with the rest of the foodies this week.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 9:27 am

  8. Marketman says:

    Aha! Found a good source in Cebu (where I am this morning), and will post other good brands when I have tested them. I even saw the green package people seem to like, but didn’t get any this morning. Will try that soon. And yes, I hope readers will chime in with good product suggestions, so we all benefit from the collective wisdom. Thanks! :)

    Post edited to VERY. Thanks!

    Oct 15, 2012 | 9:29 am

  9. Cecille says:

    The local “Pato” brand from Iloilo is also very good.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 10:54 am

  10. betty q. says:

    Millet…the brand name (I am not related to them nor do I work for them) , PAGODA LUNGKOW. …the lighthouse MM is talking about is a pagoda and yes, MOni, the green packages are a far better product…made from mung beans, peas and just water. I just bought half case this morning to bring with me at the end of the month on my next journey.

    Ms. Connie C…I can mail to you a few bundles of the green packaging Pagoda Lungkow sotanghon if you want if you haven’t left yet for Pinas.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 11:35 am

  11. Maria Isabel Rodrigo says:

    Thank you for posting about sotanghon. I am such a die-hard sotanghon fan. Please have a post of this green-packaged sotanghon that you mentioned above. I am using the Sapporo brand for years and willing to try out newer brands. Better to opt for a slightly higher-priced sotanghon than have an inferior end product. Hay nakakagutom, weakness ko to. Thanks again. Have a nice day.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 11:36 am

  12. betty q. says:

    DhayL…if you can’t find the green packaged sotanghon, let me know how to get hold of you in TO.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 11:38 am

  13. Connie C says:

    MM, what you refer to as sotanghon (rice vermicelli ) is confusing. Note that the package in your photos simply say vermicelli, made of green beans and no mention of rice.

    The dry rice noodles refer to bihon, so I understand, so when you say “RICE” vermicelli, I get confused.

    Nowadays, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, there are vermicelli noodles that are made of either corn or potato starch , the ones that usually get mushy and some maybe falsely marketed as mung bean vermicelli. However, I have gotten sotanghon made of potato starch, the ones that Koreans use to make their chapchae but they are slightly fatter than the Chinese sotanghon.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 11:39 am

  14. Connie C says:

    bettyQ; thanks again for your never ending generosity. Your Lungkow sotanghon need not cross the border.

    Trip postponed because of a knee injury, but because of past experience I make sure that I get the mung bean thread or just get the Korean brand which is more reliable in my neck of the woods.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 11:50 am

  15. jannah says:

    “VERY GOOD on the left, VERY BAD on the right” – looking back at the picture then, the very good is the one on the right ?

    Oct 15, 2012 | 12:17 pm

  16. shane says:

    My family, who runs a store in the province, sells these noodles. The one in opaque packaging they refer as imported and the other one they refer as “local” (must be because of the price difference). For some customers who don’t know the difference they just ask for the “noodles that are not soggy”. Other customers though prefer the “local” sotanghon. For other customers who don’t want to spend too much but want a firmer noodles, my family would just advice (and this is just based on what I hear since I am no cook) to not soak the noodles in water before cooking or not put too much water when cooking to prevent sogginess, but they would further advice that it’s much preferable to get the imported one rather than risk having soggy noodles.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 1:33 pm

  17. promding chamimay says:

    there’s one brand that’s really really good, better than that blue one… it’s “sunflower” and so far i’ve only seen in here in zamboanga city…:-)

    Oct 15, 2012 | 1:35 pm

  18. little mary says:

    i buy the Sapporo brand, i find it of high quality because when cooked the noodles is transluscent and do not become soggy when reheated. I noticed the spelling in the pictures above, “LUNGKOW” but Sapporo is spelled as “LONG KOW”

    Oct 15, 2012 | 2:04 pm

  19. Rhea says:

    Hi Marketman,

    This is also the brand i use when we cook sotanghon. the bundles make it more easier to handle :)

    But i have a question that is not really related to this post. Cannot comment on that post anymore. May i know where did you buy you’re madeleine pans? i wanted to bake my own madeleines and make it more on my own with flavors & add ons etc. I tried at Gourdo’s, Rustans, Landmark to no avail.

    Thanks in advance…


    Oct 15, 2012 | 2:11 pm

  20. Marketman says:

    Rhea, I got the madeleine pans in the states during a holiday trip. But I suspect places like gourdo’s and other upscale bakeshop stores will have it. Jannah, no, the one on the left hand side of the photo up top is the very good one. Connie C, I corrected previous post, it’s actually NOT rice vermicelli, but mung bean vermicelli…

    Oct 15, 2012 | 3:30 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    A PAGODA, a PAGODA, yes of course… duh, how could I have thought it was a lighthouse… Thanks! :)

    Oct 15, 2012 | 3:31 pm

  22. Sleepless in Seattle says:

    With this problem on the unreliable quality of noodles back home,i usually send substantial amount of Vermicelli(mung bean) on the BB box to my sister.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 3:59 pm

  23. EJ says:

    Hi, MM, Connie C was most likely referring to the heading/title of this latest post: “Superior and Inferior Sotanghon Rice Vermicelli Noodles” above.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 7:03 pm

  24. Helen says:

    I get my sotanghon from Cebu, it’s supposed to made in China. I don’t know where my sister gets it from but I just order from her. There’s no label but the sotanghon is in oval bundles pack in 1 kilo packages. It gets soft but still firm when it’s cook. It’s the best sotanghon that I’ve ever tried. I don’t buy any other brand.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 7:10 pm

  25. elaine says:

    @rhea….I saw madeleine pans in Saizen…this everything P85 store in Trinoma. It is in this branch where I saw and bought them. It’s a round pan with 4 medium molds. Last time I checked which was a couple of weeks ago, there were lots. The store is inside TrueValue.

    I recently bought a pack of sotanghon in Robinson’s Magnolia here in QC. The brand is Komeya, Vermicelli Green Bean which I have yet to try.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 7:32 pm

  26. shella says:

    i’m very particular with my sotanghon because it’s one of my carb staples. i saute butter, garlic and a little piece of knorr cube and water (replaces broth), the sotanghon and then a dash of knorr seasoning for color…yeah i know it’s bad for my health but it’s pretty good :D and it replaces my rice. there’s a lot of fake lungkow vermicelli, they look a lot like the one on the left. i get my sotanghon in hi-top has the same blue color at the top wrapper but has a totally different design. its’ very springy and never goes mushy i consider it a very good brand.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 8:20 pm

  27. Marketman says:

    Aha! EJ and Connie, I got it. Duh, dopey me. Yes, wrong title. Will edit now. Sorry, pre-occupied with so many other things at the moment. Thanks.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 8:43 pm

  28. EJ says:

    Most welcome, MM. For some reason, the URL still shows ”rice” even now that you’ve already changed the title: http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/superior-and-inferior-sotanghon-rice-vermicelli-noodles. A mere glitch?

    Oct 15, 2012 | 8:58 pm

  29. millet says:

    hahahaha….was at SM early tonight and spent a lot of time looking for the “lighthouse” in all the sontanghon packages……pagoda pala! got one pack with the light blue top, and a package of the green one. thanks, MM, Moni and bettyq.

    i remember years ago in the barter trade in zamboanga, the merchants had unlabelled plastic bags of sotanghon which they classified as first class, second class, and what i heard as “sweepings”. turned out they were actually sweepings – as in, those strands that had dropped on the floor and swept up and placed in the bags.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 9:29 pm

  30. betty q. says:

    MM…if you have any extra sotanghon, it could be made into a dessert as well. It is always a hit at potlucks for Pinoys here never thought of adding sotanghon to a dessert. It is cold dessert soup though so better serve this in the summer. …make a cold soup with coconut milk, homogenized milk, tapioca pearls (small ones like for guinatan), sugar to taste and a pinch of salt… coarsely shop a really good cantaloupe and honeydew. Then just before eating …in individual bowls add 1 tbsp. of each fruit, top with soaked and blanched sotanghon cut into pieces,…ladle the coconut soup and wait for oooohs and ahhhhhs!

    Another sotangon dessert is this…sort of a soupy Kulfi….homogenized milk (warmed up)..then add a drop of rose water. NOw, in a serving cup…pour in the warmed milk and top with blanched and cut sotanghon, then I top it with tiny balls of vanilla bean ice cream (prepped before hand) and chopped pistachios or roasted almonds and wait for the ice cream to melt. Then swirl and eat.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 10:17 pm

  31. betty q. says:

    I forgot, I usually heat up water first to boiling to cook the sago, then when done, add the coconut milk and the milk, sugar and salt and let it cool down thoroughly . Chill for a few hours. Then assemble the rest just before serving.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 10:20 pm

  32. EbbaBlue says:

    Ms. Betty Q, always coming up with great recipes. I will surely try this desert.
    I don’t know what brand of type of sotanghon (look-alike) noodles that I bought. Its flat, a little wider that we are used to, and it comes shorter in length than the spaghetti in a box. I used it in Thai Chicken Noodle Soup w/ coconut milk. It was great. But silly me, I did not keep the package so now I will have to try (again) testing different packages in the store.

    Oct 15, 2012 | 11:47 pm

  33. Claire says:

    hi, MM, I’m new here in your blog after searching for some Puto recipe and came across another Pinay blogger who made Ma’am Betty Q.’s mamon. And searching for her directed me to your blog. I’m an amateur cook and stay-at-home mom with 2 toddler boys in Vegas and would fight homesickness by cooking and baking. I have already searched a lot of food bloggers for recipes and now, I’m hooked to yours. Thanks for taking your time to share your tips and recipes here. And I just realized that I’ve been buying the inferior sotanghon, no wonder it’s mushy, but at the same time happy that I can choose the good one next time. Thank you so much. Just one question, do you have a page in Facebook? God bless and more power to you!
    Hi Ma’am Betty Q., I’m so blessed to have stumbled upon this blog. Been checking your comments for very important tips and recipes. You’re already a topic of my and my husband’s conversation! I have a lot of respect to your knowledge and skills and know that a lot of us here are very blessed that you’re so unselfishly sharing them! I will be making your banana bread today and your lemongrass chicken barbecue on Saturday! Very excited for that! I have also kept your recipes in my notepad! Once again, I want to thank you for your generosity! God bless you and your family! :)

    Oct 16, 2012 | 12:11 am

  34. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    I have a sudden craving for chicken sotanghon.

    Oct 16, 2012 | 12:23 am

  35. Lava Bien says:

    @ Betty Q, noodles in desserts are usually popular in Indo/Pak community. It’s good though, i like it.

    Oct 16, 2012 | 1:55 am

  36. TheDrunkenPig says:

    Good tip! I can’t recall how many times we were duped by these “fake” sotanghon. The texture of the noodles makes all the difference :)

    Oct 16, 2012 | 2:13 am

  37. natzsm says:

    Hi Rhea,

    I just saw Madeleine Pans a few days ago at Cook’s Exchange, Glorietta 4 in Makati.

    Oct 16, 2012 | 9:33 am

  38. odessa says:

    If I remember correctly i think the green one is the “Sea Crest” brand, i’ve tried it and it was good and so as the Saporro brand ! I’m having pansit and soimai now for lunch…..:)

    Oct 16, 2012 | 12:13 pm

  39. dhayL says:

    I made your version of vegetarian pansit guisado yesterday, although i have the chicken to go with it like i always do, i opted to go for all veggie-pansit only following your recipe :)
    Now, looking at those two very similar looking sotanghon, I am most certain now that i used the copy cat brand. However, luckily, mine did not turn out to be as “malabsa” compare to yours. I was very good, even without the meat! Now that I’ve used the last copy cat brand of sotanghon we have at home, I can now start fresh and buy the correct brand! I took a snapshot of it, that way i can make sure to pick the right one when i go back to the chinese store! : Thank you for posting this!

    Oct 16, 2012 | 11:51 pm

  40. PJ says:

    so, both are available at Cash and Carry? don’t they know which is real and which isn’t?

    thanks for the tip.

    Oct 17, 2012 | 9:21 am

  41. Mila says:

    It’s just as difficult to make proper noodle choices here in China, there are tons of choices, and brands dont always match from province to province (I found great buckwheat noodles in the north, but cant find the same brand or quality in the south), plus we are very wary about the food safety issues affecting food production.
    isn’t Luck Now a location in India?

    Oct 17, 2012 | 9:44 am

  42. Mila says:

    Erratum: lungkow, not lucknow. There are a couple of cities in china with that name, but the one in Shandong province (spelled as longkou) in northern china, seems to be the source of the noodles.

    Oct 17, 2012 | 10:04 am

  43. Marketman says:

    PJ, bad ones were at Cash & Carry, good ones from Bee Tin grocery in Binondo. I think groceries carry sotanghon more based on prices, than quality frankly…

    Oct 17, 2012 | 11:07 am

  44. Rob says:

    Just want to let everyone know that if your market carries mung bean vermicelli from Thailand, the best Thai brands are PINE (red bag) and KASET (green bag). Both of these say “bean thread” on the front (at least for USA packaging), instead of mung bean vermicelli.

    Oct 17, 2012 | 1:31 pm

  45. robin castagna says:

    Sapporo is a good brand readily available in the market. Also, my sister sends us sotanghon from Taiwan, Long Kow in red packaging instead of the usual blue. I’m not sure if it’s available even in Ongpin.

    MM, our problem is finding really good bihon noodles. When we used to live in the north, we’d get our bihon from this old lady in the Sangandaan Market in Caloocan. We’d just ask for the Primera and we’d get perfectly textured bihon. Now we only have the Primera ‘kuno’ that needs tons of moisture to cook. Pag kinulang ng tubig, makunat! :(

    Oct 17, 2012 | 1:35 pm

  46. lee says:

    Huwag ma Lungkowt sa pagluto at pumili ng tamang Lungkow kasi maraming mang Lulukow.

    Oct 17, 2012 | 3:23 pm

  47. dhayL says:

    @Lee- that is so funny! i like that! :)

    Oct 17, 2012 | 9:33 pm

  48. PITS, MANILA says:

    thanks for the warning, MM … we always went for the one on the left and it was alright. i guess they made ‘changes’ again …

    Oct 18, 2012 | 5:43 am

  49. jacq says:

    wonder where to grab those authentic vermicelli noodles here in Sanfo?!??! I was thinking of preparing Sotanghon one of these days. Oh btw, I am watching “No Reservations” and once again the episode that featured the Philippines is being shown, and I just can’t help but smile everytime I see it being aired, most especially when I finally get the chance to see the man behind Zubuchon! Now I am missing Zubuchon and Sisig… more than ever :(

    Oct 19, 2012 | 5:46 am

  50. Helen says:

    @Robin There are two kinds of bihon, the best ones are made of ground rice, but it’s not sold commercially here now although you can get some in Chinatown from China. Most of the bihon in the market now is made from cornstarch but depends on how it’s manufactured. Before the mid 80’s, all bihon manufactured locally were dried under the sun, which is labor intensive and with our long rainy season, not cost efficient. That’s why they started using dryers in the mid to late 80’s till now, which means they can produce it with less labor and cost.
    I prefer bihon made by drying it under the sun, it tastes much better. But you can’t buy that anymore. So I usually use Super Q Golden Bihon by Ngo Siok Manufacturing. It’s in a red Packaging.

    Oct 19, 2012 | 5:46 pm

  51. robin castagna says:

    Thanks, Helen! I hope find that perfect bihon noodles. :)

    Oct 19, 2012 | 8:07 pm

  52. Deborah says:

    Hi: Could I use the Korean chap-chae noodles?

    Nov 11, 2012 | 8:00 am

  53. wonderboy says:

    hi MM and everybody whos in this forum, I’m wondering if you there are any factories of sotanghon noodles here in the philippines? if yes, do you guys where they are located? or is it exclusively made in china or in thailand? thanks

    Jan 18, 2013 | 9:11 pm


Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2021