Mee siam

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Mee siam
CourseBreakfast, lunch and dinner
Place of originPenang, Malaysia[1][2][3]
Region or stateSoutheast Asia
Associated national cuisineMalaysia, Singapore[4]
Main ingredientsRice noodles (vermicelli), light gravy

Mee siam is a dish of thin rice vermicelli of hot, sweet and sour flavours, originated in Penang but popular among the Malay and Peranakan communities throughout Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, although the dish is called "Siamese noodle" in Malay and thus appears to be inspired or adapted from Thai flavours when Thailand was formerly known as Siam. Mee siam is related to kerabu bee hoon although there is a significant difference in the recipe.[3]


According to Wendy Hutton, due to the Thai influence on Northern Malaysian cuisine, it is believed that the dish originates from Penang, where Thai influences on Malay and Peranakan dishes are common.[1] Dishes from Penang possess Thai influences, such as more liberal use of tamarind and other sour ingredients including dishes like mee siam and asam laksa.

As Singapore was established in the early 1800s, many straits Chinese families from Penang moved to Singapore, thus introducing the dish to Singapore.[2]


There are many known variants of Mee Siam in Malaysia such as the dry-fried version in Johor, the wet version in Malacca, as well as other places like Kuala Lumpur, Mersing, Kedah and Perlis.[1] The "dry" version is more commonly found, which is essentially stir frying the rice noodles with the same ingredients used in the wet version.[5] Mee Siam is a common dish as breakfast, brunch or lunch in Malaysia. They are usually served along any of the followings sides: Malaysia's fried chicken, fried or boiled egg, speciality sambal, otak-otak (grilled fish cake made of groundfish meat mixed with tapioca starch and spices), and luncheon meat.

In Singapore, it is served with spicy, sweet and sour light gravy. The gravy is made from a rempah spice paste, tamarind and tauco (salted soybean). Mee Siam is typically garnished with a shredded omelette, scallions, bean sprouts, garlic chives, and lime wedges. A "dry" version is sometimes more commonly found, which is essentially stir frying the rice noodles with the same ingredients.[6]

Similar dish[edit]

In Thailand, a very similar dish is known as Mi Kathi (noodles with coconut milk), a noodle dish that is popularly eaten as lunch in the Central Region. It is made by stir-frying rice vermicelli noodles with a fragrant and thick sauce that has a similar taste profile as Mee Siam.

The sauce is made from coconut milk mixed with minced pork, prawns, firm bean curd, salted soybean, bean sprouts, garlic chives, and tamarind. It is served with thinly sliced egg omelette, fresh bean sprouts, fresh garlic and banana blossom.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Mee siam | Infopedia". Food writer and editor Wendy Hutton believes the dish originates from Penang, where Thai influences on Peranakan dishes are common.
  2. ^ a b Hutton, Wendy (2018). Singapore food (New ed.). Singapore. ISBN 978-981-4828-11-6. OCLC 1022914583. Of course, Penang is so much closer to Thailand When I make laksa, I use santan (coconut milk) for the gravy, whereas a Penang Nonya will follow Thai cooks and make a thin sour fishy gravy. But we Singapore Nonyas often borrow dishes from our Penang cousins and we all love me siam or Thai-style noodles.
  3. ^ a b Ong, Jin Teong. Penang Heritage Food: Yesterday's Recipes for Today's Cook. ISBN 9789814189972.
  4. ^ Yong, Nicholas (20 October 2021). "Adventures at home: Let's rediscover Tiong Bahru". AsiaOne. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  5. ^ "Mee Siam (Spicy Rice Vermicelli) Recipe - Easy Delicious Recipes". 30 December 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Mee Siam - Singapore Food". Singapore Local Favourites. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2021.