Mee Suah Soup

Mee Suah Th’ng or wheat vermicelli soup is a Chinese comfort food. Like rice congee, it can be eaten any time of the day and is often served during convalescence. I grew up eating this dish and continue to enjoy it till this day. My mom usually makes the soup with dried anchovies. Occasionally minced pork is used when she has it on hand.

Whole dried anchovies can be purchased in small bags at the Asian grocery stores. Keeping them in the fridge helps them stay fresh for a longer period of time. Whenever I visit my dearest mom, I get to bring home several bags of cleaned anchovies with me. She will buy a few kilograms of these tiny dried fish and spent weeks removing the heads and bones and finally sealing them into bags. Now, that’s a labor of love!

Chinese wheat vermicelli is a very thin variety of salted noodles. It originated in Fujian, China and is different from rice sticks or bean threads. Easily available at the Asian grocery stores, it usually comes packaged in flat boxes. Inside are little bundles of vermicelli tied with a red string. Each bundle is a little over an ounce (about 35g) and is sufficient for one serving. Incidentally, Japanese somen has a similar taste and texture. I sometimes use somen in place of vermicelli.

Mee Suah Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 4 bundles of mee suah (Chinese wheat vermicelli)
  • 6 stalks baby bok choy, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (25g) dried anchovies, cleaned**
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups (1.5 liters) water
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • Sesame oil
  1. Rinse and soak dried anchovies for 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat canola oil in a medium sized pot. Fry anchovies for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and fry for another minute. Pour in water. Bring to a boil and season with salt*** and pepper. Reduce heat and allow soup to simmer for 10 minutes. Break in the eggs and lightly break yolks with a pair of chopsticks. Add bok choy and mee suah and allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat. Divide into 4 bowls, garnish with green onions and a few drops of sesame oil. Serve immediately.
*If you prefer not to use dried anchovies, it may be substituted with 4 oz (115g) minced pork. Alternatively, omit the anchovies and use 6 cups (1.5 liters) of chicken stock instead.

**Salt the soup very lightly as the mee suah (vermicelli) itself is pretty salty.

Wheat vermicelli is best eaten as soon as it is cooked as they tend to soak up the soup very quickly and become overly soft.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)

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  1. says

    We are so in-sync again (after the kale and meatballs posts)! I just featured somen (texture almost like mee suah) in my post. Hee heee…with kale again.

    • Biren says

      In sync again? Well, must be the weather…hehe! It’s finally a little warmer and I wanted something a little soupy this morning. Mee Suah immediately came to mind. :)

  2. says

    Biren, this looks delicious!!! I have never seen dried anchovy before (only a can). Is that a common item in Chinese market? It gives a real nice flavor to the soup. I would love to use anchovy than ground pork!! I really like precise instruction Biren…(like when you don’t use dried fish, you can use how much of alternative ingredient we should be using, etc). It shows you are very detailed oriented person…me too, but you are even more. 😀

    • Biren says

      Nami, these anchovies are quite different from the canned ones. You will have to get these from the Asian markets and you will have to remove the heads and peel them to remove the strip of bones. It can be a time consuming process but you only need a little to make a pot of tasty stock. I think you can also use a few teaspoons of crushed dried bonito (not sure what it is called). The soup may be a little cloudy and may not taste exactly the same, but it should be close.

      I try to make my recipes user friendly and provide alternatives where possible as some ingredients are not always available for everyone.

    • Biren says

      Hi Marelie! Thanks for visiting and following. I hope you will visit often. Many thanks also for your compliments. :)

  3. says

    Mee Sua always reminds me of my birthdays where mum would always cook a bowl for me. Have u try dried mee sua? It just as good with lots of vinegar :)

    • Biren says

      Yes, I have tried dried mee suah and plan to cook it soon. I’ve never eaten it with vinegar and now I and am curious as to how it might taste.

  4. says

    Mee Suah … Ooooh my fave. I would have this almost every afternoon when I was a hungry teen…
    Just looking at your pic makes me hungry.. oh be still my tummy :p

    • Biren says

      What a coincidence! I used to make this almost every afternoon as a hungry teenager but with beehoon instead. The anchovy stock is just so convenient, no need to defrost anything.

  5. says

    We call this misoa or misua and usually cook with Chinese okra/ sinqua for a soup.

    I remembered back in 2001 I got typhoid and hospitalized for 11 days. I couldn’t eat anything hard. Got tired of hospital bland rice porridge. Once the doctor said I was ok to eat other else. I requested to the nurse that I wanted misoa soup :)

    • Biren says

      Very interesting! I’ve never tried it with okra but I can imagine what it would taste like. This definitely is a good alternative to rice porridge. :)

  6. says

    Oh Biren, I love Mee Suan in rice wine soup! Hmm…salivating by just thinking of it. ha.. Can you find rice wine there?
    Hope you’re having a lovely day.
    Cheers, Kristy

  7. says

    Wow, cleaning those anchovies definitely is a labor of love! You know that with all that TLC the resulting soup is going to be really special :) I love how comforting this soup looks. It’s hard to resist a good noodle soup!

  8. says

    Often cook this kind of soup when someone is sick in my household since noodle is delicate and soft for sick person to digit easily. Great recipe using anchovies!

  9. says

    Mmmm…this looks like a big bowl of comfort! How nice of your mom to clean all the tiny fish for you! Funny how cooking and food bring back such good family memories! :)

    • Biren says

      It is so true that food brings back a lot of memories of home. I think the sense of smell plays a large part in this.

      It takes my mom quite a while to clean the anchovies but she will do it for me every time I visit. It is a labor of love and I appreciate it deeply.

  10. says

    Mee suah is indeed very comforting, Biren. My mum-in-law always has this (usually with duck in soup) ready for us when we visit Malaysia. It is just the perfect thing to eat after a long stint on the plane. Seeing yours just makes me crave for a bowlful.

  11. says

    Biren – Dried anchovies are my favorite ingredient for making stock. It’s easy to make and yet flavorful. Your noodle soup looks great. I like baby bok choy in it too.


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