Most Vermicelli Rice Noodles Not Rice at all
Bún nem nướng (Vermicelli Salad Bowl with Vietnamese BBQ Pork Meatballs), my first bowl of Vietnamese food in Ho Chi Minh City metropolitan area
Nearly 90 percent of rice vermicelli noodles in Taiwan are not primarily composed of their main ingredient, rice, but are instead a mix of other edible starches
1/27/2013: There are two types of rice vermicelli: one are pure vermicelli, which are made of from rice and more than 5 percent crude protein, and the other is mixed rice vermicelli, which are more than 50 percent rice, mixed with flour or other edible starches and have more than 2.5 percent crude protein.
The Chinese National Standard (Taiwan) said a test on 52 types of rice vermicelli conducted by Internet agricultural news platform News & Market from Dec. 29 last year to Jan. 14 this year showed that 45 of the products tested (about 86.5 percent) were comprised of less than 50 percent rice, while 39 products (75 percent) were less than 20 percent rice.
Citing the survey, the foundation said that LongKow noodles, a famous brand from Hsinchu, were made up of between 7 percent and 10 percent rice, despite the claim on the packages that they are 90 percent rice.
Three types of noodles from Hsinchu-based Nung-Keng claimed to meet the CNS11172 standard on their packages, but results showed that the noodles were less than 10 percent rice and contained crude protein of between 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, it said.
A member of China Grain Products Research & Development Institute (Taiwan) Lin Mei-hsin (林玫欣) said that chemicals are usually added along with corn starch in the making of processed foods.
“If people consume these processed foods in over an extended period,” Lin said, “the amount of chemicals contained in their bodies will damage organs such as the liver and kidneys.”
Note: In East Asia, the term rice vermicelli is often used to describe the thin rice noodles (米粉) popular in China, also known as bee hoon in Hokkien, mai fun in Cantonese.