Red…

I was always wondering how they cooked mee sua at the stalls around here – the meat was always red and the soup as well. I tried marinating it with the ang chiew (red wine) but it did not turn out red except for once when I was already down to the last bit of the wine in the bottle and I noticed there were some sediments – something like ang chao (the residue from making the wine) at the bottom.

Then, the other day, my brother-in-law sent some mee sua over to my house – it was his birthday that day. My sister-in-law had cooked some and lo and behold! It was red in colour!!!

MS 1

I mentioned it to my missus and she said that it was because of the wine used.

We usually get our supply from one of the shops near my house. They come in recycled/reused soy sauce or beer bottles…

RW 1

…and the best quality ones, unadulterated, are selling at RM8 a bottle.

It isn’t exactly blood or dark red actually…

RW 2

- I would say it is a light shade of orangy red so of course, if you use that to cook mee sua, it would not turn everything – the meat and the soup  red like what you can see in the above photograph.

I mentioned this to my missus and she said that they sell another type of the wine – the one with sediments of the ang chao in it. I wouldn’t know for sure but probably they did not filter it well or that’s the leftover with all the ang chao that has settled at the bottom but my missus said that this type of ang chiew is cheaper. I guess it is of a lower quality considering that it is not completely clear…and true enough, I felt that the soup was not as fragrant…

MS 2

…and I had to add a spoonful or two of the wine we have in the house to enhance the taste a bit. No wonder Annie-Q had the mee sua here and was not exactly thrilled by it. Incidentally, a spoonful or two of brandy would be very nice too with mee sua cooked and served in this manner.

Ok! Now that I know the secret behind the red colour, the next time I am cooking this, I would know how to go about it, that’s for sure.

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33 thoughts on “Red…

  1. Interesting! I have wondered why some places serve mee sua with regular (normal) colored chicken and some has the red tint to it.

    I’ve seen both types but the one at my home is the one with sediments.

    I know coz I’ve drank it once during my alcoholic years and forced it down. Horrible stuff.

    Oh? I’ve seen some native people drinking – they did not seem to mind. I, of course, would only take it with mee sua. Ya…now we all know why it is so red – we do learn new things every day, don’t we?

  2. So what you are saying is that the lower quality one (with lots of sediments) is the one that turns the chicken and soup red but does not taste as good? I don’t know where to buy this wine, am curious because I have never eaten this type of dishes before.

    Yup, not as fragrant as the premium ones, unadulterated. Don’t think you can buy this wine there – traditional Foochow homemade wine. NEVER use made-in-China cooking wine, red or whatever colour, not the same. Better cook without the wine…and if you like, add a spoonful of brandy before eating. XO, even better!

  3. Ha ha…Arthur, thanks for the mee sua! Makes me lau nua now! My mum will usually add brandy to mee sua and just fry the egg with ginger, and I think it’s tasty enough to satisfy me. My mum used to bring in lots of mee sua from Sibu but not anymore. Maybe because I’m not around to eat it. Ha ha…

    You can bring back to Oz – those packed in plastic (made in Sibu) these days are pretty good – no need to go through the hassle of rolling and drying in the sun. No egg, all white (not yellow) – they will let you through customs, no problem at all.

  4. I think I’d prefer the non red ones. Coloring is not my thing. LOL! I did tried it with Brandy last time, it tastes great. Hot and brandy-ish!

    Yes, nice with brandy! The red thing is not colouring and is supposed to be good for health – lots of benefits. That’s why many people into eating ang chao (the residue) now. You can even buy at health/organic shops – the unprocessed red yeast rice:
    http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/red-yeast-rice

  5. The bowl of mee sua that you prepared is so tempting, hehe…

    My SIL cooked the soup. I just cooked the mee sua and added. It certainly looked great!

  6. I saw at a kopitiam near BDC that they have pre-cooked chicken in ang chao which they added to the soup for the meesua. It wasn’t that great…..not much ang chiew taste. And I hate that they used tiny slivers of ginger instead of big chunks, makes removing them difficult.

    Eywwwwww!!!! Lucy used to pund. I hated eating those bits of ginger and having to spit it all out. Now, it would be sliced…or one whole chunk, bruised. Ang chao is not ang chiew, will not taste nice – it only has the colour not the fragrance.

  7. I thought it was just “ang chao” that makes it red. So it’s actually a wine with “ang chao-like” sediments. So the redder the chicken turns out, the lower quality the wine? Haha, a bit of an oxymoron!

    Yup…with the best quality red wine, no red colour like that…and a lot more fragrant and delicious.

  8. I was wondering too what makes the mee sua so bloody red. Now I know it is the ang chao. Ever cook chicken meat with ang chao? Very nice. There are 2 types of red wine, Foochow and Hakka. I prefer Hakka and I don’t like white one. Only RM8 per bottle. Here cost RM12.50.

    My friends (the ones whom I help babysit the kids) gave me two bottles of wine once, made in Kuching – one red and one white. The red one…not used to the taste, would prefer our own Sibu Foochow red wine. Ok with kacang ma…but white is nicer. Ang chao chicken or pork – my missus will cook all the time but ang chao, no ang chiew taste – it’s only the residue, not fermented.

  9. ohh i see that’s how it does! well perhaps you should shake the bottle first? haha
    but anyway that dish looks perfectly yummy

    We’re supposed to get it all red like that…but now I know the colour does not matter – it’s the taste that’s more important and with the better quality wine, it would not be so red.

  10. I miss this!! My confinement lady cooked a lot of ang chao for me during my confinement period~

    I would love to taste what you all have over there. I wonder if it is the same or not…

  11. This red wine misua is indeed salivating. Now you can cook your own red wine misua. So good and so nice. I miss this so much. The last time I took was during my confinement month.

    You had this too? I thought only Foochows would eat this during their confinement. Lots of Foochows in Sitiawan – don’t think you’re one of them, are you?

  12. Red or not red does not matter to me, as long as they are good enough to be eaten!! Mary made some chicken soup with buckwheat noodles and she added some red or white wine in it (forgotten which..) and it was so fantastic! Still remembering the taste of the noodles!
    I am sure when she goes back to Sibu, she will have this type of mee sua with local red wine… yumss!

    Anytime better than the ang moh food you had in Scotland eh? Hehehehehehe!!!! ;)

  13. I know, why it is red when my friend over here ask me to buy the foo chow red wine and the residue (ang chao) she said she wan to cook foochow mee sua, by adding some ang chao in there to make it ang ang. O-O

    I still prefer the normal one, not so red and taste nicer!! Usually i will add a lot more to my mee suah.

    I don’t mind whatever colour…but the ang chiew must be strong and fragrant – then it will be nicer.

  14. Hmmm…I m still skeptical seeing the colored chicken..LOL. Next time, you can serve your guest mee sua already considering you are pro now.ehhehehe

    No worries. You’ll get to eat it when you come over – sure somebody’s grandma will cook but dunno so red or not…. ;)

  15. ooo, this red mee sua with chicken is a bit of an acquired taste, rite. i recall the first time i had it, several years ago, i didn’t quite like it, cos i felt it had a strange flavor that almost bordered on stinky. but i’ve slowly learned to tolerate and accept it each time i had it at different places, and now i ALMOST can say i like it. almost, heheh :D

    What you have over at your side is very different from our Sibu Foochow ones – tried at a place at Jalan Alur – all the newspaper reviews on the stall…and I thought it would be soooooo good. Nope, I could not finish half the bowl. It was extremely strong on the wine though – like mee sua in wine, not chicken soup…and I was tipsy as I was walking away…even after only half a bowl.

  16. I am a big fan of Mee Sua but I had never seen red coloured ones! The red colouring must be toxic, no? Okay tonight I will eat Mee Sua for my dinner at Shilin’s Taiwan Mee Sua outlet.

    Nope!!! On the contrary, it’s red yeast rice and it has been claimed to have health benefits…so a lot of people are going for it now. You can get it at those health/organic shops – the rice. Taiwan mee sua? Come, snap photos and share in your blog – see what theirs is like. Taiwan’s most likely Hokkien, not Foochow.

  17. I’ve seen those bottles before. Never thought that it’s used to cook mee sua.

    And yes, there’s a majority of Hokkiens in Taiwan. Red yeast rice is healthy, because of the antioxidants in it. That’s what people have said.

    Now, that’s an awfully big egg! Photography angle? Duck egg?

    Those bottles? There could be anything in those…standard brown bottles, sometimes green, for soy sauce and a whole lot of other things, not just red wine. Duck egg? Nope, must be the angle – it’s not THAT big…but it’s probably Grade A – bigger and more expensive.

  18. My MIL made our own Foochow red wine for two out of three confinements after getting my mum to ask Foochow friends in Sibu regarding the ingredients and methods. It was hard to bring the wine all the way from Sibu to Johor for my first confinement. Even though I stay in Johor, I had mostly Foochow red wine instead of Hakka yellow wine during confinements. Hmm….I am missing my confinement food cooked by my confinement lady from Sibu.

    LOL!!! I don’t suppose you’ll be coming home anytime soon? Hmmm…you will have to have another baby to eat all that, I guess. :D

    • Probably end of the year, like usual.
      No way, no amount of confinement food can tempt me into having another baby. The sleepless night, the chaos of 3 kids at home…..*shudder*. I am counting days until my 1 year old is big enough so that it will be more convenient to go everywhere.

      Well, the worst will be over soon…and looking back in years to come, you will think that these are the best years of your life, really! As they grow older, they would not be so much fun anymore…and there will be all kinds of stress, worries, everything. Certainly seemed a whole lot easier bringing up children when I was a kid.

  19. Although I am not a Foochow I preferred mee sua for my confinement than kacangma. For the 1st two weeks I ate kacangma until I nearly puked. Then a Foochow friend visited me and suggested I have chicken soup instead. But I had my daily bowl of mee sua for breakfast during my confinements. I just love the warm soupy heartiness of it than the thick kacangma. I think my confinement was more than happy to give in to my request as it meant less work than cooking kacangma. Shows that I may have only lived 10 years of my life in Sibu but the Foochow cuisine is deeply ingrained in my tastebuds. 

    LOL!!! Kacangma is a lot more heaty…and there’s noting like nice warm chicken soup. I like both but I don’t have to eat either one every day for the whole month. Phewwwww!!!!!

  20. itu mee sua mama saya lama tarak masak.. I sungguh rindu ang jiu mee sua after reading this… The chicken… oh!!! *Steal a bite from u* ;P

    You have this Foochow ang chiew there too? I wonder if it’s the same… It’s so easy to cook and nice to eat! I do have it quite often actually.

  21. Is that the angle how you took the photo or is true that the egg is very big??? Cause the egg looks very big to me duh!!!

    You’re not the first one to say this. It does look big eh? Didn’t notice it at all when I was eating that. Probably Grade A, the biggest…over RM10 a tray of 30 these days… :(

  22. I dont think I’ve ever eaten this red mee suah before.. wonder if we can find it in KL food stalls.

    I wouldn’t know…but the mee sua I had at Jalan Alur, despite all the press reviews stuck all over the stall, was quite inedible. I did not finish the bowl… :(

  23. Okay now that you know the secret, you are totally qualified to be my confinement Master. Get ready to book your flight over! haha!

    You’re pregnant??? Yipeeeee!!!!! When is the baby due? Quick, quick, tell me!!!! I’ll be right over…. LOL!!! :D

  24. Yeap! The ones I made look redder because I use Ang Zao to marinate the chicken first for slightly more of the wine flavour. But my grandma makes her home version which is more orangy red I guess like the first picture. But anyway each version is different though, I’ve never tasted any version better than my grandma’s because of the way she boils her soup too.

    The one in Sibu? Ya…I bet hers would be the best – what with her own-made ang chiew and ang chao some more. Even when they tell you it’s unadulterated, you can never be sure. I’ve bought once at another place – not fragrant, not so bad…slightly sour, some more! So pissed off! Tsk! Tsk!

    • Both my grandmas live in Bintulu. My maternal grandma is the one that makes the ang jiu even though she is teochew. Yeah it can go sour if it’s even the slightest bit contaminated.

      …and there’s the old wives’ tale about not being allowed to make when you’re having your period. Will surely turn sour.

  25. Forgot to add that she filtered the wine but leaves the ang zao in another bag, so I always get a bottle of the wine and a separate bag of ang zao too.

    Ya, I would prefer the wine clear. Ang chao, we can get easily here…and I don’t think there’s any difference between one and the other (only how you cook the ang chao meat – the ones in the restaurants here are too diluted for my liking)…but not in the case of the wine, since we do not make our own, must know where to go to buy to get the best quality, not just any anywhere.

  26. the ones sold here by the Fuchow community is super red. I had a taste in a famous Fuchow restaurant in Pudu and their are quite red… and yet sometimes I see some others post without the red color. To cut this short, at least I know now from your explaination! ;)

    Yes, I also know now… Hehehehehe!!! Now I know, the colour is secondary – it’s the taste that counts.

  27. Yea…I too thought why some people’s one are so red…mine not red even though I’m using the right wine. I only found out…when Kelly Siew blogged about the recipe..and she mentioned about adding the residue…I was like…Ohhh….patutlah.. :-D

    This one, the residue is in the wine, no completely filtered… Now I know. Never mind that it’s not red, as long as it tastes nice.

    • Yeah the clearer it is the more aged the wine is, which in turn will taste better. I just like to see red food, don’t mind me. Lol. My grandma’s soup (and meat) is usually of a pink colour/yellow ish tinge.

      Ahhhhh!!!! I see. Now I know – must always go for the clear ones – never mind the colour. I think tuak is also like that – the clear ones are better than the milky ones.

  28. my MIL soaked the chicken in the red wine overnite :)

    My missus does that when marinating meat but I get worried about keeping defrosted meat in the fridge and not in the freezer. Dunno, maybe the marinades will keep the meat “fresh”…like salted stuff.

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