Mee sua, which literally means string/thread noodles, is very versatile. You do not have to serve it with chicken or mushroom or egg drop soup cooked with ginger and traditional Foochow red wine…

Mee sua in chicken soup
*Archive photo*

…all the time and there is, of course, the fried version…

Fried mee sua

…at some of the restaurants in town. I have had it with pek ting eyok (8-herb combination) duck soup…

Pek ting eyok duck mee sua
*Archive photo*

…as well and I often serve it dry…

Bovril mee sua
*Archive photo*

…tossed in Bovril and all the other ingredients used.

The other day, I had some in tom yam fish ball soup…

Mee sua in tom yam fishball soup

…and when I shared the photograph on Facebook, Rose was stunned…and she imagined it to be very salty. Yes, mee sua is very salty – the way many people would cook it. They would boil some water and throw the noodles in…and once, it has started to boil again and the noodles float up, they would drain it and serve. That is why they never add salt to the chicken soup to be used for serving mee sua – the noodles would make it salty enough. Other than the fact that it is rather salty, I also do not like how sticky it is and the strands would all stick together in a clump and when you pour the hot soup over it, you would have to go through the chore of loosening the strands to make them come apart…at times, not very successfully.

So what I would do would be to boil A LOT of water to cook the mee sua. Stir it well so much of the salt would dissolve and get lost in the water. Then, I would drain away the water and refill the pot with tap/filtered water to rinse the noodles so as to remove what is left of the salt and also the starchiness so as to loosen the strands. This way, they will not stick together. Of course the mee sua will be cold but if you are pouring hot soup over it, it does not really matter. For my Bovril mee sua, I would pour hot/boiling water over it to warm it up before draining it again to toss with the ingredients prepared  for the purpose.

Coming back to my mee sua in tom yam fish ball soup, that morning, I wanted to cook breakfast but there was only one packet of the instant noodles left in the pantry so I cooked the noodles and put that in a bowl for my missus. Then I cooked the mee sua and put it in another bowl for myself. There was some cabbage in the fridge so I blanched a bit of that in a pot of boiling water to serve by the side…and I also boiled some fish balls that we had in the freezer to go with our noodles. Lastly, I emptied the sachets of the oil and the seasoning into the water to make the broth for the noodles and the mee sua. It did not matter that it was for two servings instead of one – it was still sour and tasty enough with the added flavours of the fish balls and the cabbage that I had cooked in it earlier (and in fact, it did not taste as strong on the msg as usual). Then I garnished it with a sprinkling of chopped daun sup and served.

Moving on, another thing that is versatile is tofu or bean curd. There are so many ways of cooking it and that day, I decided to have it steamed. I placed the tofu on a plate and put a layer of minced meat, mixed thoroughly with chopped garlic, a few slices of ginger on top of it. On top of that, I placed some slices of salted fish (the long kiam hu variety, not the dry type) and garnished that with chopped spring onions and thinly sliced chili and daun sup. Finally, I put it into at the wok and steamed it for around half an hour and this was the end result…

Steamed tofu with salted fish

I would say it was really very nice – the “soup” that had accumulated in the process of steaming was absolutely tasty.

Well, not everything works out all that well all the time, I’m afraid – this, I just cannot deny. For our vegetable dish, I decided to cook what was left of the aforementioned cabbage the same way I had cooked the long beans and cincaluk omelette a few days earlier…

Cabbage with cincaluk egg

…and at best, I would say it was all right, nice but it came nowhere near the latter, I’m afraid. Lesson learnt, I would most definitely stick to long beans from now on.

Author: suituapui

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

19 thoughts on “Versatile…”

  1. the photos in this post will definitely arouse the appetite and stir everyone’s hunger … i’m lusting after all the four bowls/plates of mee sua, though if i had to narrow it down to one choice, it would be the duck soup! 😀

    Great choice! Only thing is if you eat outside, it may be either chicken or pork leg, no duck. You’ll have to cook your own at home – I love duck best, most compatible with those herbs.

  2. Arthur, I like all the mee sua you cooked here. It is the timing to share how you cook them, as many people cook mee sua on CNY day 1 as breakfast. I plan to cook the Pak Tin version one. Thanks.

    You would need the pek ting eyok for that – sold in packets at the Chinese medical stores here – dunno if you can get it there. If I’m not mistaken, you would need to boil those in water for a long time to get the flavours out…and then use it to cook chicken, pork leg or duck…pretty much the same as you would use other kinds of herbs including bak kut teh’s. Then you cook mee sua and serve with it.

    If you want to cook with red wine (and ang chao), you will find it here:
    Nice also without the wine, just ginger and chicken and shitake (use sesame oil to fry the ginger, nicer)…
    and you can add a spoonful of brandy to each bowl before eating for that extra kick!

  3. That’s the main reason I don’t really fancy mee sua. Too much work to get rid of that saltiness and starchiness. I prefer the normal bihun instead.

    I actually cook my cabbage the way that looks like that last picture quite frequently. Not omelette style, because I crack only 1 egg. I love my stir fried vegetables that way. I think it is a Cantonese thing.

    Entirely different in taste…and each has its own place in Chinese cuisine – both nice in their own ways. Many do not bother – they just boil the mee sua and serve in boiling hot chicken soup, no salt added, and served right away – no time for the strands to stick together in a clump…so no need to go through the chore. I am more particular, I guess.

    Dunno what style this is – my mum cooks fried cabbage this way with egg all our lives and no, we’re not Cantonese. I just thought I could try something a little bit different for a change – best to stick to our age-old tried and tested ways, I guess.

  4. Among the mee sua, I still prefer the traditional way of cooking. Oh boy, the steamed tofu, simply delicious. All in the family love it.

    Yes, it was very nice. Usually, for the tofu, missus would fry the minced meat in soy sauce with salted fish and shitake mushroom and dunno what else and bury the tofu with that. They do this at many restaurants in town – served sizzling on a hot plate. Nice also.

  5. 2 eggs and 2 mushrooms? Everything comes in 2, baru balance kan? 😛

    Like the yin and the yang, must balance to achieve a perfect balance in life… 😉

  6. Seeing the mee sua makes me think of sometimes back, the mee sua i eat at my friend place, i still loves the mee sua from Malaysia as compare to the mee sua sold here…

    You have not tried Sibu’s Foochow mee sua… There will be no turning back, after that. 😀

  7. y u no bring me eat the fried meesua with the 6 golden eggs…?! tat looks yummy, oh wait, should come with 10, 5 for u 5 for me…

    6 means 6 people, 10 means 2…me and you! 😀 😀 😀 You had the one here – Ruby, nice hor…come, come let’s go have some more…and you can have all the eggs you want – golden eggs wor – prosperity!!! Fatt Cai lor… 😉

  8. I have always associated mee sua with white or red wine ginger chicken. And I love it! If it is nicely done, I can have bowls and bowls of it, especially the soup. The herbal duck soup also nice, tried it once. But I didn’t like the fried version.
    Your version of the steamed tofu looks good. Will try it one day.

    Not everyone can fry mee sua well – only a couple of places here that I like. You can ask those who have been here and have tried – they love it so much!

  9. Yes agree! I have a lot of mee sua stocked up at home.. My version? Simple.. I boil them with my abc soup, crack an egg.. Very nice already.. I had it a lot during my confinement.. Confinement lady boiled herbal soup, and just served mee sua with that herbal soup, plus some additional pork and ginger dishes..Cabbage? Mine would always be the same old style – dried prawns, garlic and fu chuk..

    Yes, we do fry with dried prawns sometimes…and egg, no fu chuk. Yes, mee sua is the usual staple for ladies in confinement…in soups with lots of ginger and lots of wine.

  10. I love mee suah , be it in any way it cooked. First love still pek ting yoke with mee suah. yummy!!

    Next time you try cold taufu with minced pork on top, it is nice too.

    Must cook the minced pork first, right? Pour on top and serve?

  11. You really have me drooling with all the dishes above! More drools over the homecooked steamed taufoo… with salted fish??? Salivating now!!

    So very easy to cook, just put one on top of the other and steam. Go on, give it a try! You’ll love it!

  12. Mee Sua in duck soup, how alluring! I like the one is chcken soup, too. It’s quite difficult to find a decent one in Miri because most stall operators use frozen chickens.

    They do? Eyewwww!!!! I can’t say I’ve managed to find one stall here that I would say is very very nice…nicer than what we cook at home. 😦

  13. I love mee sua but I haven’t eaten it for a while. I was trying to recall if it was salty as I did not quite realize that. My grandma has a peculiar way of enjoying mee sua. She likes it all thick and bloated. I really don’t understand why.

    I’m a bit like your grandma so I tend to cook it a little longer, but my missus does not like it like that. She prefers it a little firm – so cannot cook too long, must drain as soon as the water re-boils..

  14. In Philippines we only serve it in soup, nice to see different uses here. Definitely a must try

    Mee sua? That’s the traditional way but we have others now. Or you mean tofu?

  15. I like the way it cooked in the third picture, but not so interested as the pic, as I always found if I leave it aside to eat it later, the noodles will become very sticky and not so yummy anymore!! =]

    Who asked you to leave aside? The soupy noodles – just leave till cold, all swell up, soft and soggy, not nice anymore. Ok with the dry versions though, no such problem…and of course, you need to cook the noodles my way – will not be sticky anymore, even when eaten later, cold – but dunno the mee sua, your side – they say not really the same.

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

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