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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sesame Oil Mee Sua 麻油面線

Mee Sua 7

Mee Sua 2

Mee Sua Collage

Mee Sua 8

Mee Sua 4

Sometimes, the simple and uninteresting can be deceptively good.

I just came back from my biking and binging vacation in Taipei. Thankfully, we've stayed physically active during the trip otherwise, we would all have grown 1 or 2 dress size bigger. I am not exaggerating for we were eating something or other every hour of the day.

Taiwan, unlike China, does not have its definitive cuisine -e.g. Canton Cuisuine (粤菜), Shanghainese Cuisine (泸菜), Sichuan Cuisine (川菜), Hunan Cuisine (湘菜), Teochew Cuisine (潮菜) etc... Hence, there isn't a distinctive Taiwanese Restaurant per se. Most restaurants in Taiwan serve one of the Main Cuisines from China. For example, the famous Ding Tai Feng is really a Shanghainese restaurant. Taiwan's gastronomic charms lie in their street food culture. Little snacks (小吃) and quick meals that are usually served in less glamourous settings. Simple and unpretentious stir-fry restaurants (小炒) that often do not even have a menu - where the cook will take the freshest ingredients available for the day and whip up a tasty dish without cracking their heads over recipes, flavour pairing or plating finesse...

A dish that I ate repeatedly over the last 4 days in Taipei is the Mee Sua (面線). Mee Sua (literally means thread noodle), most of us would know, is very thin, fine noodle. When cooked in soup, it takes on an almost congee like, smooth & slippery texture. It can be digested easily and hence is another favourite food for the sick, young and old. The most famous Mee Sua dish in Taiwan is undoubtedly the Oyster Mee Sua - cooked in a starchy flavourful broth and served with Pig Instestines and Oyster, this dish could most likely be the representative Taiwanese food.

Mee Sua 1
Apart from the Oyster Mee Sua, I had also tasted 3 other types of Mee Sua when I was in Taiwan. 2 of which were dry noodles tossed in special dressing. The one that I am reproducing here is the Sesame Oil Mee Sua which I ate at a charming 'mud hut'  stir-fry restaurant at Yangming Shan (Yangming mountain).
We were unimpressed by the bland looking noodles when it was placed in front of us but all fell in love with it when we tasted it. We finished the portion in a flash and had to place a second order.
Simple and unpretentious in taste, the wholesomeness of the noodles and fragrance of the sesame oil (use good quality sesame oil) was undescribably satisfying. So when I saw these hand made Mee Sua at the Airport Duty Free shop, I knew immediately that I had to get them.
Unlike the usual dried Mee Sua we find here in Singapore, these hand made versions are amazingly pliable and remind me of bundles of yarn used for weaving cloth. They look more like raw noodle than dried noodle.

I don't have a recipe to follow but simply tried my best to reproduce what I ate at Yangming Shan. Here goes.

Mee Sua 7(100)

Water                 1litre
Mee Sua             2 bundle (or enough to serve)
Chicken stock     1 - 2 cup
Salt                     To season
Sesame Oil
2 cloves garlic
White Sesame

1. Heat water in a heavy saucepan until boiling. Reduce heat so that water is not bubbling vigorously.
2. Put in Mee Sua and cook until the noodles is al dente (with a bite in the center of the noodle). Drain noodle.
3. Heat a wok until very hot. Add sesame oil and garlic (do not mince) and fry for a minute until fragrant.
4. Add chicken stock and cooked Mee Sua. Season with salt. Continue to simmer until chicken stock is almost dried up. Add sesame oil to coat noodle.
5. Dish out noodle and sprinkle with ground white sesame seed. Garnish with Parsely / coriander leaves.


Angie's Recipes said...

This reminds me of the good old time living with my mum....lots of homey delicious dishes on the table ready for us coming home....
The shallow dish you use looks very pretty too!

WendyinKK said...

Hokkien meesua is very soft.. but I've been told by my Sarawakian Foochow friend, Foochow meesuah has a slight crunch and not mushy. She told me what we have over here is not the same as what is over there in Borneo Island.

I'm no meesuah fan, and my hokkien husband hates it. Maybe I might try this for my kids next time, if I ever get my hands on some foochow meesuah.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Wendy,you are right, most of the mee sua we get here tend to turn rather starchy and mushy. This one I got from Taiwan is pretty good, I can make Gon Lou and it hardly stick together... maybe it is due to the sesame oil.

Trissa said...

I just have to tell you. I was talking to my Taiwanese friend And I asked him to describe their food. "little snakes" he said. "hmmmm. Thats interesting". I thought. But I did find it a bit strange! It was only after a few minutes I realized he meant little snacks!!

Zurin said...

AHh you were in Yang Ming Shan?!! We lived there for 3 husband me n my kids. Oh it brings back memories...lovely place...Never ate there though....Taiwan is nice n I miss the weather.. i took some mandarin classes fun!
I wonder if you went up to the garden/ppark at the top? its beautiful they say..we never went there cos we kept postponing cos it was so the end we never went kids went to school in tien Mou...just down the mountain...they loved it htere.

the mee sua looks simple n delicious....I always wondered what a typical taiwanese dish was. I guess this is it.

thecoffeesnob said...

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I never knew what mee sua was until the boyfriend cooked mee sua with minced meat for me one winter in Melbourne.

This sounds delicious- love the simple flavours in it!

Momgateway said...

this is so different from any mee sua I've had...the sesame oil must make it so tasty

Kitchen Corner said...

Eh.. something new to me. Sesame oil in mee sua must be very tasty and flavorful. I will give this a try for my lunch today. Thanks for sharing!

tigerfish said...

I prefer your Mee Sua...don't like the Taiwan Or Ah Mee Sua (Oyster Mee Sua)....

MaryMoh said...

I love mee suah. I remember it's a must to eat on our birthdays when we were back home, topped with a chicken drumstick and 2 hard boiled eggs. My mother-in-law cooks very delicious mee suah too, with the rice red wine and sesame oil.

pigpigscorner said...

I didn't try the dry version when I was in Taiwan. Looks and sounds really good! There's so much food to try in Taiwan right?! I can't wait to go back!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I remember my mum making me these noodles and you're so right, they have such a nice, easy to digest texture to them! :D

Carolyn Jung said...

I love noodles prepared simply. In fact, as a kid, one of my favorite lunches was just noodles stirred uup with a little oyster sauce.

hannah @ thepastrykook said...

the singaporean mee sua is my favorite kind of noodles ever! especially with chicken soup! my kind of food. (:

emy said...

You can also saute some sliced ginger to add fragrance to the dish.

I just simply love this light version although I just add sesame oil directly to the mee sua + boiling water so as to avoid the stirfry.


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