Easy Vietnamese Garlic Noodles

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Vietnamese cuisine is known for its bold and delicious flavors, and one dish that perfectly exemplifies this is easy Vietnamese garlic noodles (mi xao toi). The dish is a fusion of Vietnamese and Italian cuisines, as it features traditional Vietnamese flavors such as garlic, fish sauce, and cilantro, along with Italian linguine.

What Country Is Garlic Noodles From?

Vietnamese garlic noodles originated in San Francisco, California. The dish was created by Chef Helene An at her restaurant, Thanh Long. After tasting bland garlic spaghetti at an Italian restaurant in North Beach, she decided to try and tweak the recipe herself.

Helen added Vietnamese condiments to level up the flavor and created a delicious pasta recipe. Since then, Vietnamese garlic noodles became so popular that they’re now a staple in many Vietnamese restaurants throughout the United States. 

Why You’ll Love This Vietnamese Garlic Noodles Recipe

These San Francisco-style American Vietnamese garlic noodles are simplicity at its finest. With only a handful of ingredients, this dish is easy to make and perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. 

The dish features simple ingredients such as garlic, butter, and noodles but packs a flavorful punch that will have you going back for seconds. The garlic and butter create a rich and savory sauce that coats the noodles, making every bite flavorful and satisfying. 

Vietnamese garlic noodles are also versatile and can be paired with a variety of proteins such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu. You can also add some veggies for more color and nutrients.

What Do I Need For This Easy Vietnamese Garlic Noodles Recipe?

This simple Vietnamese garlic noodle recipe calls for just a few ingredients. You should have most of them in your pantry if you’re a fan of Asian and Italian cuisine!

  • 1 pound linguine or spaghetti noodles
  • 10-12 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions 
  • Optional: ¼ cup chopped cilantro 

How To Make Simple Vietnamese Garlic Noodles

Step 1: Cook the noodles

Cook the noodles according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water for later. Drain and set aside.

Step 2: Make the garlic sauce

In a large pan or wok, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Step 3: Add Sauces and Seasonings to Broth

Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper to the pan and stir to combine.

Step 4: Coat the noodles in sauce

Add the cooked noodles to the pan with a few tablespoons of pasta water and toss until they are evenly coated with the garlic sauce.

Step 5: Enjoy your Easy Vietnamese Garlic Noodles!

Serve hot, garnished with chopped green onions, cilantro, and parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy! 

Storage & Reheating

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure you cook the pasta al dente, otherwise it’ll become mushy when reheated.

To reheat, simply place the noodles in a pan on low heat, cover them, and add a bit of butter to revive them. Or heat in the microwave in 30-second intervals.

I don’t recommend freezing mi xao toi since the noodles will become mushy once reheated. But, technically, you can store leftovers in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Variations & Substitutions

Easy Vietnamese garlic noodles are a versatile dish that can be customized to your taste. Here are a few variations and substitutions you can try:

To make this dish vegan, you can substitute the butter with vegan butter or olive oil and use soy sauce instead of oyster and fish sauce. 

To make this dish gluten-free, use gluten-free noodles such as rice noodles and substitute the oyster sauce with more fish sauce. Also, make sure you use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari instead.

For a spicier version of this dish, add a few dashes of hot sauce or chili flakes. Or even sauté a fresh chili pepper along with the butter.

Add cooked chicken, crab, shrimp, or tofu to the dish for added protein. I find mi xao toi pairs perfectly with seafood.

Toss in some sautéed vegetables such as bell peppers, snap peas, spinach, or broccoli for added nutrition and gorgeous colors.

Use any type of noodle you prefer such as udon, soba, mein noodles, or rice noodles. I prefer thicker noodles, but spaghetti is a popular choice.

Switch up the sauce by using hoisin sauce or soy sauce instead of oyster sauce. I recommend omitting the sugar in this case since hoisin sauce is sweeter.

Serving Suggestions

These easy Vietnamese garlic noodles make a great addition to any Vietnamese-inspired meal, such as Homemade Vietnamese Pizza or this Simple Bahn Trang Tron Salad (Vietnamese rice paper salad).

One classic way to serve garlic noodles is as a side dish alongside meats, such as Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs or Easy Instant Pot Boneless Beef Short Ribs

You can also serve the noodles alongside stir-fried vegetables for a vegetarian or vegan option. They pair wonderfully with Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables or Crunchy Vegan Lettuce Wraps

Another popular way to serve garlic noodles is as a main dish topped with your choice of protein. Shrimp is a common option, but you could also use sliced beef, pork, chicken, or tofu (like this Miso-Glazed Tofu) for a vegetarian option. Simply cook your protein of choice separately and add it to the top of the noodles before serving.

If you’re looking for a bit of crunch and texture, top your garlic noodles with toasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, or crispy fried leeks

For a bit of freshness and acidity, serve with a side of pickled vegetables, such as carrot and daikon pickles or pickled onions. The tangy and crunchy pickles provide a nice contrast to the rich and creamy noodles.

Finally, if you’re looking for a bit of heat, you can add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or a drizzle of sriracha sauce to your garlic noodles. These additions add a bit of spice without overwhelming the garlic flavor.

In terms of beverages, Vietnamese garlic noodles pair well with light and refreshing drinks that complement the savory flavors of the dish. I love a Mojito Mocktail or Watermelon Mocktail but will go for a light beer or crisp white wine if it’s a special occasion.

Are Noodles From China Or Italy?

Noodles are believed to have originated in China, with records dating back to the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). Chinese noodles are made from wheat flour, rice flour, or other starchy ingredients such as mung beans (for glass noodles), and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. 

Different variations of noodles can be found in other Asian countries’ cuisine. Such as udon noodles in Japan or rice noodles in Vietnam.

Italian pasta, on the other hand, is believed to have originated in Italy during the Renaissance (14th – 17th centuries). It is typically made from durum wheat semolina and water and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as spaghetti, fettuccine, and penne. There are also several homemade pasta shapes you can make without a machine

While both Chinese noodles and Italian pasta are made from similar ingredients and have similar shapes, they have distinct differences in texture, flavor, and cooking techniques. No matter the way they’re prepared, noodles are undeniably scrumptious. I’m sure you’ll never get tired of these Vietnamese garlic noodles!

Vietnamese Garlic Noodles

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 647kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound linguine or spaghetti noodles
  • 10-12 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper or more to taste
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • Optional: ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Cook the noodles according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water for later. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large pan or wok, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper to the pan and stir to combine.
  • Add the cooked noodles to the pan with a few tablespoons of pasta water and toss until they are evenly coated with the garlic sauce.
  • Serve hot, garnished with chopped green onions, cilantro, and parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 647kcal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 376mg | Potassium: 333mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 909IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg

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