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Mee Sua 麵線羹

mee sua

A starch-thickened soup (gēng) always has a spot on Taiwanese tables. It stays hot for a long time and can extend a little food for a lot of people. Mee sua is made with chewy red vermicelli and, like most gēng soups, gets its signature flavor from a splash of Taiwanese black vinegar. One pot makes a wholesome family meal. Serve it with pureed raw garlic, vegetarian sha-cha sauce, chili oil, and chopped cilantro.

Excerpted from
A-Gong's Table: Vegan Recipes from a Taiwanese Home by George Lee, pages 168-169, by permission of Penguin Random House. Available from us or wherever books are sold.

Serves: 4 to 6


  • 12 (30g) dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 8 1/3 cups plus 1/2 cup water
  • 7 oz (200g) Taiwanese Red Vermicelli 紅麵線
  • 3 1/2 oz (100g) fresh wood ear fungus 木耳, cut into thin batons
  • 31⁄2 oz (100g) shelled, cooked bamboo shoots, cut into thin batons
  • 31⁄2 oz (100g) enoki mushrooms, cut into 2-inch segments
  • 1 oz (30g) carrots, cut into thin batons
  • 4 tsp (20g) Fried Shallots 油蔥
  • 1/4 cup (32g) fine sweet potato starch
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp golden granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp Taiwanese black vinegar 香油
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil 香油


  1. In a small bowl, soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in 2 cups of warm water for 20 to 30 minutes, until fully soft. Snip off and discard the stems and cut the caps into thin batons. Set aside the mushrooms and their soaking liquid separately.
  2. Rinse the red vermicelli three to five times to rid it of excess salt. Drain and use scissors to snip the vermicelli into 2- to 21⁄2-inch segments.
  3. Add the mushroom-soaking liquid and 61⁄3 cups of the water to a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and add the shiitake mushroom batons, wood ear fungus, bamboo shoots, enoki mushrooms, carrots, and fried shallots. Lower the heat to medium or medium-low so the broth is just gently boiling and cook for 10 minutes. Add the vermicelli and, once the broth is back to a boil, cook for 7 to 10 minutes to soften the vermicelli.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make a thin slurry with the sweet potato starch and the remaining 1⁄2 cup water. Mix until no lumps remain.
  5. To the large pot, mix in the sugar, light soy sauce, salt, white pepper, and black vinegar. Drizzle in the sweet potato starch slurry, stirring vigorously to incorporate. Add the sesame oil to finish. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve immediately, with your desired toppings on the side. Cool any leftovers and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe by: George Lee of Chez Jorge.
Image Credit: Laurent Hsia