What to Do with Leftover Rice Noodles: A Chinese Guide

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Rice noodles in a white plate with a text "what to do with leftover rice noodles"

Noodles? From rice? Groundbreaking.

But I kid you not, they are a thing.

And a thing that Asians enjoy.  

We’re rice fanatics. Did you honestly think we won’t be able to come up with other variations for rice? 

Japanese ramen?

Korean japchae?

Vietnamese bún?

A lot of Asian countries have their own version of rice noodles, case in point. 

I’m sure you’ve tried one of these at least once. Maybe you just weren’t aware of what they were made of. 

Anyway, we get to enjoy these dishes today because of rice noodles.  

If we trace it back to its roots, we have Chinese miàntiáo to thank for. 

And miàntiáo we shall thank for inspiring yet another leftover themed article focusing on what to do with leftover rice noodles. 

Noodles on the Rice

Rice noodles in a cook pot.

For years, rice noodles have been a cornerstone for Chinese cuisine. 

The story began with northern cooks who, at the time were only accustomed with wheat noodles, faced a lack of them in the southern regions. 

This only proves that necessity does pedal invention. 

Then the Silk Road further fueled its prominence across Asia, ultimately giving us our favorite rice noodle dishes.  

Not only did China pioneered rice noodles, they also took the crown for the world’s largest producer and consumer of rice. 

Did China just out-Asianed all of us?

If that’s the case, then they might as well help us in answering what to do with leftover rice noodles.

Chopsticks Up

There’s this tradition that we, Filipinos, observe. It’s the act of serving noodles to wish the celebrant a long and happy life. 

One can’t call it a birthday party if there’s no pancit (vermicelli rice noodles) on the table. 

A tradition that, apparently, also dates back to ancient China during the Song Dynasty. 

Rice noodles have been a symbol of prosperity and longevity for centuries!

Perhaps we can shrug this one too as another thing we, Asians, do, huh? 

And since we associate rice noodles with life, it should go without saying that there won’t be any leftovers trashed today. It would be like a big f you, otherwise. 

With that said, here’s what to do with leftover rice noodles:

Sichuan Spicy Dan Dan Noodles 

Sichuan Dan Dan noodles in a white bowl.

First up is a legendary street food in the province of Sichuan. 

Dan Dan Mian or Dandan Noodles got its name from vendors back in the Qing Dynasty. They carried a pole (dan) while two hanging baskets (dan) carried the noodles. 


  • 2 cups of leftover rice noodles
  • ½ cup of ground pork
  • 1 tbsp of spicy bean paste
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of black vinegar
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • ½ tsp of grounded Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1 inch of minced ginger
  • 1 chopped scallion
  • 1 tbsp of neutral oil (oil from nuts, grains, or fruits)
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp of chopped roasted peanuts as garnish


  • Large pot
  • Skillet
  • Spatula
  • Bowls


  1. Blanch the rice noodles in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds up to a minute. Drain them properly after.
  2. Drizzle with sesame oil to prevent sticking, then set it aside. 
  3. Over medium fire, heat the neutral oil in the skillet. Add the pork and cook it until brown.
  4. Stir in the bean paste, soy sauce, black vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and peppercorns. Cook everything for another minute.
  5. Add the garlic and ginger, then stir for 30 seconds.
  6. Pour in the broth and allow it to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Put the rice noodles in the pot along with the sauce until well mixed. 
  8. Garnish before serving in bowls. 

Rice Noodle Lo Mein

Chicken Lo Mein in a white plate with chopsticks.

In Cantonese, lo mein means stir-fried noodles. 

We may be doing plain and simple for our next recipe, but we’ll make sure we give this classic Chinese dish some much deserved justice. 


  • 2 cups of leftover rice noodles
  • ½ cup of cooked and shredded chicken breast
  • ½ cup of mixed veggies 
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp of dry sherry
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1 inch of minced ginger
  • 1 chopped scallion
  • Neutral oil


  • Skillet
  • Spatula
  • Plate


  1. Blanch the rice noodles like you did in the previous recipe.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet then stir-fry the chicken for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, and veggies. Again, stir-fry everything. This time, though, for 3-4 minutes until tender.
  4. Push these to the side of the skillet. Stir the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sherry in the middle, then bring to a simmer.
  5. Throw in the rice noodles and toss gently to coat evenly with sauce.
  6. Garnish with scallions and cilantro (if you feel like adding it).

Cong You Bing 

Translation? Scallion oil pancake. It’s another beloved street food and breakfast staple in China. 

The ingredients are in the name already. We’ll just level it up and add leftover rice noodles.


  • 2 cups of leftover rice noodles, already chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1 tbsp of neutral oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Skillet
  • Spatula
  • Plate


  1. Combine the rice noodles, flour, scallions, and pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Add water, and using a spatula (or spoon) mix everything until doughy. You can use your hands to knead the dough for it to become elastic and smooth. 
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  4. While the dough rests, heat oil in a skillet over medium fire. 
  5. Divide the dough into two balls.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out each dough around 6-7 inches in diameter. 
  7. Place one dough in the skillet then cook for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. 
  8. Repeat number 7 for the other dough.

The Final Slurp

With a dash of creativity and inspiration from beloved Chinese dishes, we once again proved how versatile leftovers are. 

Even if they’re rice noodles this time around…

While these are just three recipes, there’s a whole world of Chinese-style dishes that you can take inspiration from (that you’ll never again wonder what to do with leftover rice noodles).

I’ll end it here for now, though, foodies. 

Cheers to a long and happy life, with or without leftover rice noodles! (let’s clink our rice noodle bowls together now 🍜) 

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