I think it was in the 90s when a colleague of mine came to work and asked everybody if we had all eaten fried mee sua (thread/string noodles) before. “That’s impossible!” they all exclaimed in disbelief. Before that time, we only had the noodles our traditional way in chicken soup with lots of ginger and the Foochow red wine…
…and having it fried was quite unheard of. Well, the colleague said that she had it here for dinner the previous night and it was very nice – probably they were the first around here to ever attempt that, serving mee sua fried. There followed a whole lot of speculations among all the lady colleagues. They must have deep fried the noodles first, one said. Maybe they used the ones imported from China or elsewhere, another chipped in. Those would be firmer and harder, she commented, and would be easier to fry. Nobody went and tried though, not that I heard of, so how the people at the restaurant went about it remained a mystery.
However, the novelty had caught on and today, you can easily get to eat fried mee sua at the restaurants and even some of those chu-char (cook & fry) places and stalls at some coffee shops in town. It’s not impossible actually and I have done it a number of times.
You would need to boil some water and throw in the mee sua. Loosen the strands and once the water starts boiling again, drain it away and add cold tap water to stop any possibility of further cooking in the residual heat and keep loosening the strands so they will not stick together. Keep repeating till you are sure that all the starchiness and also the saltiness have been removed and the noodles will not all stick together in one big clump. Drain away all the water…
…and make sure that you do it really well – when it comes to frying mee sua, it would be best to keep everything as dry as possible.
As for the ingredients, it is up to you really but that morning, I did not have much in the fridge so I just went and fried a very simple version with these…
– one shallot, peeled and sliced, a few cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely, a few chilies, seeds removed and sliced thinly, some spring onion, two eggs and minced meat that I marinated with a spoonful of oyster sauce.
Of course, you can use other ingredients of your choice such as prawns, minced or whole, in place of the meat or together with it or crab meat would be nice and you can add some vegetables – usually Chinese cabbage (bok/pak choy/wombok) sliced really very fine, not much bigger than the mee sua. Here…
…I used some thinly shredded lettuce but I do think that leek would be nice as it would give the noodles its nice fragrance and taste and I do know that at the restaurants, many would add very thin strips of carrot, probably more for the colour than anything else.
I heated up a bit of oil in the wok and threw in the sliced shallot and once golden brown, I removed a bit to use later for garnishing. Then I added the garlic and also fried that till golden brown before the meat went in along with the chili and the spring onion, also saving a bit of the latter two for garnishing.
You will have to wait till the sizzling has simmered down so that there would not be so much moisture in the wok. Remember, it would be best to keep everything as dry as possible. When everything is ready, add the mee sua and mix it with everything else as thoroughly as possible before the eggs go in. Once done, add a pinch of chicken stock cube (and pepper, if so desired) and dish out once that is done. I garnished that with the fried shallot, chili and spring onion and served…
No, the noodles did not stick together…
…at all. I would say it was something like bihun but the taste is different, nicer…and the texture is softer, not as coarse or hard.
You may add a bit of dark soy sauce if you do not want it looking so pale but I was fine with it. I would say that it tasted great with the fragrance of the ingredients used…
…and it was just a little spicy – I probably would add more chili next time as we would like it extra hot. The best part, of course, was that there was no added salt nor msg other than what was in the oyster sauce and the little bit of chicken stock…unlike when you go and eat this outside.
So, anybody keen on giving this a try? It sure is not difficult and of course, it is not in any way impossible, not at all.
14 thoughts on “It’s not impossible…”
for this, we might drop by Sibu again… and for kompia, and pisang jelly, and kampua…
MIGHT? Not WILL? Tsk! Tsk!
I never fry mee suah at home. I have eaten fried mee suah (or mien sien as they called in Mandarin) when I were a kid. My dad loves fried mien sien so much but he couldnt eat much as it will cause stomach discomfort later. Maybe mee suah hard to disgest, something like that.
Love your fried mee suah. Simple and nice. I still have a pack of mee suah brought over by my sil from Sibu during this CNY. Haha. Maybe one day i will give fried mee suah a try at home. Thanks for recipe sharing, STP.
Oh? Shouldn’t be. My father cannot eat bihun – hard to digest, will cause discomfort but he is ok with mee sua, soup or fried. He actually enjoys eating mee sua, typically Foochow, soft like pian sip skin…just slurp it all down.
You can try frying. I do enjoy it sometimes for a change and I also love it tossed with Bovril, now so expensive so soy sauce will have to do…or with Foochow red wine chicken soup. Best!
Maybe one of the day, i should try frying it, eat outside before, but not fry myself before…
Better to fry own, can add extra ingredients, sure will bring the taste to a whole new level…and healthier too
Your fried mee sua looks nice & thought it was fried bihun when I look at the pix. I have never eaten fried mee sua. Will the mee sua stick to the wok, I doubt?
No, not a problem at all…same as frying rice, bihun and all the rest. Just make sure it is drained well…and I handled carefully to retain the long strands as it is soft – did not want it to pecah into tiny bits and pieces.
Despite been to Sibu several times, but have not try this red wine chicken mee sua. Probably not my favorite but want to eat it for once some day. Hehe
You haven’t? You were not with us when I took the kucings, Quay Po and Claire…they all to try? Maybe you’ve gone back then. They did try it, can try the one at Noodle House, not bad.
I’ll get my share from you whenever i meet you next time 😛
When? When? It will be my pressure…oops…I mean, my pleasure. 😀
Very well done! I must confess I’ve never heard of fried mee sua.
It was a novelty here in the 90’s but now, it is all over the place. Good or not, that, of course, is another story.
I think mee sua is more Foochow, our longevity noodles. When I was in the UK, I went to the Chinese shop in Plymouth and asked for longevity noodles…and the Cantonese lady (from Hong Kong) gave me what was like hung ngang (our big bihun) and they did not have any like ours, nothing like strings or thread…so I had to make do with those.
Not easy to fry misua… They are so fragile… But I will try tomdo it ine day cos I have a packet of misua at home… The other day I cook it with minced meat and green vege…
I guess you cooked it in soup?
*i will try to do it one day*.
Go ahead and try, not difficult and yes, it is a nice change from the usual.
It is a beautiful and colourful dish!
Tasted great too!
Oh yes, that used to be a mystery to me too. I had fried mee sua at a restaurant and it was really good. And I kept pondering how they did it until I read in a recipe that you have to deep fry the mee sua and then rinse in water. That sounded very discouraging, the deep frying. Buy hey, you did not have to do that! I will try your method one day and see if I can pull if off 😀
Oh? They did say that in a recipe? Perhaps the coating with oil in the deep frying will prevent the strands from sticking together? All the excess oil used sure does not appeal to me and I guess it will render the noodles crispy – like deep frying noodles for the Cantonese-style fried noodles in egg sauce…or how they do it for Kuching fried noodles as well. The sauce poured over the noodles will soften them again later…so maybe that is why they rinse it after deep frying, to soften it for frying.
I wonder if that will remove the saltiness – our mee sua is extremely salty so we would have to boil in lots of water to get rid of the salt…and serve in salt-free chicken soup as it will be salty enough. My rinsing in tap water is the solution to that and also, it will remove any leftover starch so the noodles will not stick together plus the cooling will stop any more cooking so the noodles will not be overcooked till too soft – same thing that they do for Kuching kolo mee…and also these days, for kampua.
No, I did not deep fry first. Go ahead and try and see how yours works out!
now that you’ve done/had both soupy and fried mee sua, could there be another way to experiment with it … i’m wondering whether you could make a mee sua salad … toss the noodles with some leaves, other toppings and a tangy dressing 😀
I had it tossed with Bovril…and since that is so expensive these days, I have to be happy with just soy sauce. Maybe a kerabu kind of salad would be nice…since they do that with glass noodles. Oh ya! There is also the traditional Foochow mee sua kueh – have never tried that, so dunno how nice it is…and being a half-past-six cook in the kitchen, I am not sure whether I will be up to that. Does not sound all that easy. 😦
hahaha.. I watched a local movie weeks ago , can’t remember the name and one elderly always love to make a bowl of noodles with an egg inside for his daughter and angmoh boyfriend. Now I know that was mee sua, I always wanted to try it since then. It looks interesting especially the egg !! First time I see a boiled egg with noodles!!
The egg is part of the traditional practice, among the Foochows, at least – dunno the other dialects.
In the old days, people would colour it red – but with this thing about dyes, they do not do it anymore. Often, they do not even cook it as if they cook a whole lot at one time, they may have to cook at least a day ahead and there is this thing about keeping cooked eggs for too long before eating. So they will only cook what is to be eaten right away – if it is for you to take home, they will give the uncooked ones.
It is good to know old these old practices and carry on with them. It is our culture, our heritage – must try and preserve it for posterity.
can try coz i have a packet of it in the cabinet
Try and see, see if papa gives his thumbs up or not! 😀