I like to make Vietnamese bun (rice noodle bowl) at home, but my noodles never seem to have quite the same texture as at my favorite restaurants. I boil water, turn it off, and then add the noodles and soak them for about ten minutes, then rinse in cold water. Is there a trick to getting that perfect consistency where they are quite soft but still retain an individual bite?
I never boil rice noodles. Just soak them in cold water for about an hour.
Ten minutes is way too long. You can either prepare them cold as Bob explains, or hot, but no more than 2-3 mins in near boiling water.
The trick is, soak them in very hot (not boiling) water for five minutes then refresh them under cold water to stop the softening process, then run a little hot water over them and leave them to drain on a coarse bamboo mat or strainer for at least half an hour until they are dry to the touch. You could even put them under a fan to help excess water evaporate.
Pre-soak the rice noodles in cold water for as long as you can, but at least 10 minutes. Then add them directly to hot broth and serve or into boiling water for about 2 minutes then drain to use.
The trick is that they're never in the hot water for very long because they'll get mushy remarkably quickly.