So red…

When we cook our own mee sua and serve it with traditional Foochow red wine and ginger chicken soup at home, it would look something like this…

Birthday mee sua
*Archive photo*

…and despite the red wine used, it is not really red in colour.

I noticed that those that I had had in town seemed so very red…

Red mee sua 1
*Archive photo*

…right down to the colour of the meat served with it…

Red mee sua 2
*Archive photo*

…but when I asked around, I was told that this was because they used the cheaper low-grade ang chiew (traditional Foochow red wine), the not-very-well-filtered ones selling at around RM4.00-5.00 a bottle. We usually use the best available, RM8.00-RM10.00, that is usually very clear. No wonder when I ate at the shops, most seemed to lack the very nice fragrance and taste of the wine.

I also noticed in some blogs that the ones at Sitiawan, Perak and elsewhere in the peninsula are also very red in colour including this one that my friend, Claire, had when she was there not too long ago…and even the one my sister-in-law’s gave us once was of this darker shade of red.

Well, I felt like having some mee sua that day and instead of just marinating the chicken in the red wine we had in the house, I added a pinch of ang chao – the residue from the red yeast rice left over from making the wine…

Marinating the meat

I cut a few slices of ginger…

Ginger slices

…and fried them in a bit of sesame oil till golden brown before adding the meat…

Add the meat

You can add more ginger if you like or just bruise one whole chunk of it for use or if you love ginger a lot, like my missus, you can pound it and use in your cooking. I am not all that fond of a lot of it as it is very heaty and I would feel somewhat unwell after eating too much of it.

After cooking the meat thoroughly, I let it simmer till the juices had come out before I added some water…

Add water & wolfberries

…and a handful of Chinese wolfberries (枸杞 or kei tze) which people say are good for one’s eyesight. For one thing, they’re sweet and will subsequently complement the taste of the soup. I would have added some dried shitake mushrooms (soaked and softened, stalks removed) as well but there wasn’t any in the house so I had to do without those.

After simmering for some time, I transferred everything from the wok into a pot…

Into the pot

…and continued simmering for a while longer. There! I could see that the meat was red and so was the soup, just the way I wanted it to be. I tasted the soup and it was nice enough so I did not add anything else to it. You may want to add some seasoning – salt and msg or chicken stock granules, if you are thus inclined.

For one thing, the longer you simmer, the tastier the soup will be but you have to be careful as the chicken these days may not be able to withstand all that heat and may disintegrate and fall into tiny bits and pieces. The best would be corn-fed or kampung (village) chicken and not the ones fed and fattened with those factory-produced chicken feed and hormone injections so that they would be ready for sale in a jiffy!

After I had cooked the mee sua, I poured the soup over the noodles and served them with a piece of the meat…

Mee sua in ang chiew ginger chicken soup 1

It was very nice but it became even nicer after I had added a spoonful or two of the red wine straight from the bottle…

Mee sua in ang chiew ginger chicken soup

They say that alcohol evaporates in the process of cooking so for that extra kick, it is best to add a bit more prior to eating. Brandy would be nice too for this purpose, if you have any in the house. I did not have any hard-boiled eggs with it as those would usually be served in conjunction with somebody’s birthday…plus I was thinking that I already had quite a few over those days leading to this one.

There you have it! My very delectable bowl of mee sua served in traditional Foochow red wine and ginger chicken soup in the desired darker shade of red and if you are thinking that it is so easy too cook, you are absolutely right. That’s the beauty of Foochow cuisine – so simple and yet so very very nice!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

24 thoughts on “So red…”

  1. Oh wow that looks really delicious! I would love to try this one day, cook for me pls? Hehe!

    You can do without the wine, not a problem. Do add the dried shitake – those would give it that extra flavour…and some add dried scallops too for extra sweetness. Just add a spoonful or two of brandy upon serving. Very nice!

  2. Ooohhh! 2 biji baru balance kan? 😀 I am not sure but the ang cho keh i had at sitiawan possessed a peculiar sourish taste which i did not like. Hardly see one here in Pg though.

    It is not supposed to be sour. The old folks say if a woman is having her period, she must not make or the wine will be sour. Same with the Dayaks making tuak. Dunno how true it is but no, if it’s sour, it’s poor quality wine. The ones here, some may be diluted so it is not so strong – not as nice.

  3. I love this dish, and I bet it’s very fragrant, due to the sesame oil and ginger.. I love sesame oil, a little goes a long way. My way of cooking is the same as yours, except I don’t have that red wine.. I also cooked meesua for my boys last weekend, with eggs too, they loved it!

    Yup, can do without the wine. See my reply above to Baby Sumo. Some will cook without as they’re not into alcohol but I hear that would evaporate with all the boiling and simmering, no more effect. I would definitely add (a lot) for the special fragrance and taste.

    P.S. You’ve been typing your URL wrongly. Can’t click to get to your blog without editing it.

    1. Whoops, I guess coz I’m typing from home, the history for previous info are all gone, so I gotta retype once again from phone, typo error.. Will change it asap. Thanks for telling..

      No problem, welcome.

  4. Yaloh. So red till the meat and mee sua. haha. A bit scared to take a first.

    I dont add ang chao in my homecooked mee sua. just simple chicken soup with sesame oil is good enough.

    We usually don’t also. Just make sure the red wine is top quality, colour not important. Too red, also scary!

  5. Ooohhh…looks really good! I wonder if this red wine is sold anywhere over here. I would love to try this mee sua recipe.

    Probably in Sitiawan or Yong Peng, the Foochow towns.

  6. Wow, 3rd pix, too red, looks scary. Best available in Sbu only cost RM8-10. Over here, homemade ones cost RM13.50-15.00 per bottle which is quite good, kaw kaw. Never try Foochow red wine but I heard that it has a sourish taste compare to Hakka which is sweeter in taste. How true it is, I don’t know? I like chicken/3 layer pork cooked with ang chao.

    Click the link to Claire’s blog and see what she had in Sitiawan. I would think that looked extremely red, a lot more than this one. Top quality Foochow red wine is not sourish, maybe a bit…but it’s not sweet. I had a bottle of Hakka red wine from a frined…and tried using that – not the same, not nice. May be good for other things but not for chicken soup for mee sua. I blogged about that before. In KL, they use sweet white wine, VERY intoxicating – not to my taste either.

  7. Hmm, not a fan of this dish. I also don’t know why. Give me kolo mee, kampua, kong piah (or is it kom piah), tomato noodles and I will gobble them down immediately, but not this one :/

    You’ve never tried ours. Maybe what you had before wasn’t all that palatable. Come on over and I’ll cook for you. See if you will sing a different tune after that. Wink! Wink! 😀

  8. Wow! This looks very nice – my favorite cut of meat inside the mee sua too! 🙂

    I love a proper mee sua, and you’re right, the radioactive red ones looks a bit off to me too.
    I think sometimes less-filtered local red wine has their uses too coz I like the sediment (which can be used to cook the red chicken too).

    Yeah, alcohol always evaporates while cooking so they should not be alcohol in the final dish, but some people make a huge fuss about it. I remember TGIF had steaks with Jack Daniel’s sauce over it last time but since the name is of the whiskey, a lot of people with religious dietary constraints wanted to boycott the place etc etc while there’s no actual alcohol in it – in fact, the JD sauce that’s sent to TGI Fridays is already reduced e.g. no alcohol.
    After all that storm in a teacup, they pulled it off their menu. I had quite liked that sauce with their steaks, too bad.

    Yeah, I always like to add a bit to the final dish too – nothing wrong with a bit of raw alcohol for flavoring although a lot of chefs (Western ones anyway) says not ever to. I think a bit of local red wine with mee sua is nice, that’s the reason they put the small bottles on the table after all, for people to add to their taste!

    Yup! They do that at the coffee shops for those who like it a little stronger. The residue (ang chao) is good for cooking meat – chicken or pork belly or duck with some of the wine added for good measure. I’m going to try Ming Mei Shi’s tonight – some friends from Trengganu coming. Watch out for the post – will reveal my verdict then.

    1. Yup, that’s what the less filtered local red wine is for – the sediment is used to cook red chicken (although you can also get it separately). I remember my grandma (maternal, not paternal, it’s a Foochow dish) used to cook a lot when I was a kid, I never liked it until I was older though.


      I didn’t know Ming Mei Shi has ang chao chicken! I’ll love to try that next time I come back, will look for your verdict later!

      It was good…but ang chao pork or chicken, my missus’ is still better. Jack Pork’s is very very good too – different from how my missus does it (and all teh rest, for that matter) but we all loved it and gave it our double thumbs up. Very nice!

  9. I have seen this red wine sold here in Ipoh but now I cannot recall the place.. over here, we have the pulut rice wine (homemade) but I think that one does not go well with meesua but it goes very well with kampong chicken as a soup for confinement ladies. I drank a lot of this during my confinement days. I like the meesua though.. saltish and I can just make some minced meat soup to go with the noodles.. sedap!

    Yes, any soup is good with mee sua actually…even egg drop soup. My girl loves that. Dunno what the wine you mentioned is like. All wines good for their purposes, great for cooking certain dishes…but for chicken soup to serve mee sua, it will be different. Old habits die hard, and of course, everyone will say their own is the best.

  10. Somehow I prefer the red wine chicken than the mee sua. Not sure why …maybe I don’t like vermicilli type of noodles in soup.

    Well, you have never tried our mee sua and I really do not know what exactly the ones that you’ve tried are like, how nice or not nice they are – not the same as those factory-made ones sold in the supermarkets, that’s for sure…and true-blue mee sua lovers will even make a fuss as to whether it is mee sua thow (head) or mee sua boi (tail)…and even how long you boil it.

  11. ooo, the chicken you cooked already has a very attractive reddish colour, so i guess it’s not really needed in the broth anymore, though ya, the photos of the vibrant red broth in the other photos is also quite eye-catching. but i guess you’re right, it’s better for it to taste good rather than look good. and your recipe sure looks good and i’m sure it tastes great 🙂

    Yup…and not too red. Personally, I really think that horrendous red colour is an overkill! No use all that red if it does not have the red wine fragrance – that is what matters most.

  12. I was thinking that it might’ve been mixed with food coloring (the char siew I’ve eaten in Muar had the same color to it)…

    Your mee sua looks really tasty. =) Are you sure the kei chi is enough? =O

    Just a handful of that will do, no need to go overboard. Not sure what they use for the red colour in making char siew but in the case of ang chao and Foochow red wine, it’s red yeast rice, colouring free.

  13. Foochow! Yummy 🙂
    We don’t have a lot of Foochew folks living in Southern Johor.
    Have you been to a little town called Yong Peng in Johor?
    There’s a sizable Foochow population there.
    And I had this red wine chicken there too 🙂

    Yes, I’ve heard of Yong Peng. I know of Foochows residing in JB going there for the kompia and other Foochow delights.

  14. A very delectable bowl of mee sua indeed. Yes, add in some mushrooms and hard boiled eggs..and voila! I would prefer to have this dish with rice, though..Perfect 😉
    I like the yellow rice wine dish, too. My favourite during my pregnancy confinement period.

    Sounds familiar, not too sure what I had yellow wine with and when. Here, it’s mostly red…and we do have white (clear like water, no colour actually).

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: