I was doing some research on websites and came upon a site where a German pasta company had been trying to sell their products into the US (the site is down, looks like the enterprise was not successful).

There is a list of their pasta types given: Fadennudeln, Schnittnudeln, Bandnudeln, Walznudeln, Nudelnester, Drelli, Spiralen, Makkaroni, Knoepfle, Bauern Spaetzle.

Apart from learning the meaning of the name "Knopfler", I was very surprised to find such a range of pasta with specialized names coming from Germany. I have eaten pasta in Germany, but never before realized that they have their own "pasta tradition".

Being English, with a pasta tradition imported from Italy, I am wondering if other countries apart from Germany and Italy have their own "pasta traditions"? I am thinking Old World Europe; of course the USA has its local variations, but they are not what I am looking for. My focus is on a unique noodle version.

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    I think the terms you gave are just German translations of Italian types of pasta.
    – Mien
    May 7, 2011 at 21:01
  • 1
    Some are very similar, some are unique - knoepfle were defined as a thick version of spaetzle on the site I found. Remember that umlauts are represented by putting e after the vowel when they can't be used.
    – Wyatt Mann
    May 7, 2011 at 22:12
  • That's a really interesting question why isn't there a noodle tradition in England? It's such an obvious and simple way to consume flour. Jun 15, 2018 at 9:13

7 Answers 7


I can think of several Polish noodle types.

  • Uszka - shaped like tortellini, filled with mushrooms. Usually served in soup.
  • Kopytka - made of flour, potatoes and eggs. The composition is basically the same as gnocchi, but they're formed differently: you roll the dough into a rope the size of your thumb, then cut it into pieces diagonally.
  • Kluski lane ("poured noodles") - a thin egg and flour dough that's drizzled into boiling water. Usually served in soup. Similar to spaetzle.
  • Pierogi - a round piece of dough that's folded around a lump of filling, making a semi-circular shape. The filling can be a number of things. The most popular one is a mixture of potatoes and farmer cheese - "pierogi ruskie". They can also be filled with ground meat, cabbage, or fruit.
  • Łazanki - flat square pieces of pasta, less than an inch wide. Usually mixed with sauerkraut, mushrooms, and optionally sausage or salt pork. The name is probably derived from lasagna.
  • Knedle - these are eaten in Poland, but I think they're originally from Hungary. It's a ball of potato dough (similar to kopytka, above) with a plum in the center.
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    Kopytka - you get something similar to these in Italy. I don't remember the Italian name, I do remember the two famous italian TV chefs preparing them for the cameras. Whatever, you get my vote for giving me something to think about!
    – Wyatt Mann
    May 10, 2011 at 2:12

Spaetzle are pretty unique as pastas go--they're almost dumplings--and it shouldn't be hard to find recipes.

Beyond that, I'd look to Asia for true variations on noodles that aren't just shape variations of the standard semolina noodle or egg noodle.


In Turkey you have an interesting type of (I would call them) ravioli, at any rate stuffed pasta called manti, and I have not seen anything quite like it elsewhere. enter image description here


On the Balkans, there is yufka. Don't let yourself be fooled, this is a Turkish word meaning a type of bread, but in Bulgaria, ex-Yugoslavia (and I think Romania too), it is used for a type of noodle.

For this noodle, you make a dough like you would for a banitsa (this is a dish similar to a strudel). It only has wheat flour (not semolina) and water. Then you roll it out in flour until it is transparent (~0.3 mm). The sheet is first dried in the air for some days, then baked a bit. The drying and baking makes it crack, resulting in irregular scales. The picture shows the dried yufka.


The prepared noodles are cooked in water and usually served with feta cheese and butter.

BTW, I don't think that there is much of a noodle tradition in Germany. Germans eat lots of pasta today, and most of it is indeed produced locally, but I think that they have (except for Spätzle) imported and simplified the Italian custom, probably in more recent times. In Germany, you get practically two types of noodles - Hartweizennudeln, noodles made with 100% durum semolina (the Italian type), and Eiernudeln, noodles with eggs added to the dough (not sure if they are always made with durum, Spätzle usually isn't). The rest of the terms just denotes different shapes of noodles, but unlike Italy, there are no rules for which noodles go with which kind of sauce. The different shapes are just used interchangeably by German cooks.

Some Germans could tell you that they have a different type of noodle, called Maultaschen. This is something of a border case, but I consider it to be a dumpling, not a noodle. On the other hand, it could be argued that if ravioli are a noodle, then Maultaschen are a noodle too. Either way, Maultaschen are traditional food from Schwaben.

  • Turkish 'yufka' is the material that borek and baklava are made out of. Like the Turkish version of phyllo dough. I don't know if you would call that a pasta but I wouldn't call it bread. May 8, 2011 at 15:27
  • I think I've had Maultaschen in a country inn in Latvia. They were described in English as mushroom dumplings which could be served fried or boiled with a sour cream sauce - we tried both and found them very nice!
    – Wyatt Mann
    May 8, 2011 at 22:30
  • @wyatt mann In the former USSSR, dumplings are called вареники (vareniki). I don't know how much they differ from Maultaschen, but if you consider ravioli and Maultaschen to be different food, than vareniki and maultaschen should count as different too.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 8, 2011 at 14:30

Hungary has a unique (as far as I know) noodle speciality, called "galuska" or "nokedli" (see photo). They are often compared to either the swab "Knöpfle" or the swab "Spätzle", which can be an approximation only, since they taste very different and are, all in all, absolutely distinct (see my comment below)! Therefore the Hungarian Wikipedia entry is the best resource to learn about them. These also come in varieties, with sheep quark cheese in the dough, for example, called Sztrapacska then, also part of Slowakian national cuisine.

Another, typical, Hungarian (and Slowak) noodle is "tarhonya". These are small noodles, which get sautéed in a little oil or bacon, before getting cooked in boiling water (or right into the dish, they are being made for, so they get cooked along with it).

Besides this, Hungarians have a lot of pasta types, just as the Germans. And no, these are not italian style pasta, these are distinct, just as the German's.

galuska or "nokedli"

By Kobako (photo taken by Kobako) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Now you made me curious: what exactly is the difference between Knöpfle and nokedli? My Hungarian is too weak to understand the Wikipedia entry and the photo is the same as in the German entry for Knöpfle.
    – Stephie
    Jun 15, 2018 at 15:26
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    I admit, that I know "Knöpfle" only from the supermarket, "Spätzle" from Restaurants in the Black Forest. Now your comment made me suspicious and I checked some of the recipes, only to realize, that they are mostly the same! Variations exist only by amount of flour/eggs in use, these varieties exist for both types. Maybe I was wrong? Only testing it in the lab can give assurance. Here is a traditional "Nokedli" recipe: 600g flour, 1-2 whole eggs, 2 tbs lukewarm oil or fat, 100ml milk, salt, water. Instructions mention, not to stir more as needed to mix together.
    – amix
    Jun 16, 2018 at 22:06

Tiny rice grain shaped noodles (Kritharaki/Orzo) are often found in greek and turkish dishes, even though an italian adaptation (Risoni) seems to exist.


From France :

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