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.
- 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
Rinse and soak dried anchovies for 10 minutes. Drain.
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.
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)