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Pan Mee (Hakka Flat Noodle Soup)

Pan Mee


Pan Mee Recipe

Serves 4 | Prep Time: 45 minutes | Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours


1 cup dried anchovies, heads removed
Oil, for frying
A bunch of mani cai


1 cup dried anchovies, heads removed
1 lb pork bones
10 cups water
3 stalks scallions, white part only
Salt to taste


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/4 cup water + 2 tablespoons water
Extra flour, for dusting

Ground Pork and Mushroom Topping:

1 tablespoon oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
4 oz ground pork
4 dried Shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water and stems removed, cut into strips
1 tablespoon black soy sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 heavy dashes white pepper
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water


Wash the two cups of anchovies thoroughly with water. Rinse about 5 times or until the water turns clear. Drain and set aside. Wash the pork bones thoroughly and scald them with some hot boiling water. Leave the pork bones in the water for a few minutes and then discard the cloudy water. Rinse again with cold running water to remove all impurities from the pork bones. This step ensures that the soup will be clearer once cooked. Bring the 10 cups of water to boiling point, then add 1 cup of the anchovies, pork bones, and scallions, turn the heat to medium low and slowly boil the soup for over 1 hour, or until the soup is flavorful. Add more water once the soup evaporated and season with some salt, to taste.

Prepare the dough by combining all the ingredients together in a big mixing bowl, stirring and mixing with a spoon first, then knead the dough with your hand until the dough is no longer sticky. You might add a little bit water or flour to get to the desired consistency. Cover with a damp cloth and rest for an hour.

In the meantime, prepare the Ground Pork and Mushroom Topping by firing up a wok. Add the oil and when the oil is heated, add the garlic and stir-fry until aromatic. Add the ground pork and continue to stir-fry and use the spatula to break up the lumps into smaller pieces. Add the mushrooms and stir to combine well. Season with all the seasonings and add the water. Turn the heat to low and braise for about 5 minutes or so. Add the cornstarch and water mixture to thicken up the sauce. Dish out and set aside.

Prepare the remaining anchovies by frying with some oil. Make sure the anchovies are perfectly fried until golden brown in color and crispy. Set aside the fried anchovies.

Bring a pot of water to boil while you prepare the dough. There are two ways to prepare the dough, with hand or a pasta machine. If you don’t have a pasta machine, divide the dough into a few portions and flatten the dough with a rolling pin on a flat surface dusted with some flour. At this point, you can cut the dough into thicker strands of noodles using a knife to make them into broad noodles, or you can just tear the dough into pieces. The shapes will be irregular but they are perfectly fine, like the photo below. (If the dough is hand torn, this dish is called mee hoon kuih.) If you have a pasta machine, you can roll out the dough with the machine and cut to fettuccine shape. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until they float to the surface or completely cooked. Dish out using a colander.

To assemble a bowl of Pan Mee, bring some soup to boil in another sauce pan and add some mani cai into the soup. Add a dash or two of white pepper. In a serving bowl, add a portion of the noodles and then pour the soup and mani cai into the bowl. Add the ground pork and mushroom topping and the fried anchovies. Serve immediately with cut red chilies and soy sauce.

Cook’s Notes:
  1. If you can’t find mani cai, you can substitute with other vegetables, for example: spinach, choy sum, or sweet potato leaves.
  2. The dish I made above is technically called “mee hoon kuih” because the dough was hand-torn into pieces. It’s called Pan Mee when the dough is made into noodles using a pasta machine. Ultimately, it’s the same. I personally love the mee hoon kuih because it has better texture/mouthfeel (口感), and every mouthful is a surprise because of the irregular shapes.
  3. Many Pan Mee hawkers sell a combination of mee hoon kuih, thick noodles, thin noodles, and some even with 3-color noodles made from vegetables juice. Please refer to this great picture illustration by Lengs Kitchen.

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22 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Amy gal

    I’m from KL and love Pan Mee (Min Fun Kueh) a lot! Unfortunately there’s no Pan Mee in Perth. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Gonna try next weekend! :)

  2. Shu Ennis

    I’d like to grow some manichai in Vancouver b.c. How did your friend get his plants? Is it possible for me to get some starter plants too?

  3. Richard

    I am from the USA but I live in Southern China and when it is 37C+ and the humidity is 80%+ the last thing I want (but the first thing I get) is some hot tea and hot noddles or dumplings. A Chinese friend suggested sour noodles. The noodles, although cooked were served cold. The noodles were wide, about 4-5cm and there were peanuts in it. A cold beer made this a great meal. I have looked all over the Internet but cannot find a recioe…how is it made? Does anyone know?

  4. Tsu Lin

    Hi Bee Yinn,

    Is there any substitute for the dough? I know i know – that is the gist of the dish but I hate kneading and wonder if there are any good substitute for it?

  5. angeline

    Hi Bee, I’m from Klang, M’sia and pan mee/mee hoon kueh is my favorite food and especially for Klang ppl too. From what I understand, we called mee hoon kueh like the recipe you gave. But for pan mee, it is the same dough but rolled thinner and rolled out through a machine to make them into strips that look like mee. There are also other add-ons like in my case, I will fry small lala, take off the shells and add into the mee hoon kueh/pan mee when it is cooked. It is a lot tastier.

    • Hi Angeline, yes, correct, that’s why I stated in the Method section to roll out the dough using pasta machine into fettuccine, for those who have the pasta maker. The reality is that most people don’t have the pasta machine, and hence the hand-torn pieces, which I personally think is better because of the texture and irregular shapes, each mouthful is a surprise. :)

  6. My hubby has been asking for the dried version of pan mee for ages. And promised to get me a noodle roller. LOL! I made this before several times but always playing by the feel of the dough. Sometimes it is delicious, sometimes it just isn’t. Great to have a guideline here so at least I can have more consistent results. :-)

    In Klang, as someone already mentioned, the peeled version is called Mee Hoon Kueh but once you roll it out fettuccine style, it becomes pan mee. In Klang at least. And it made me really mad recently when I ordered pan mee and was served a bowl of mee hoon kueh. Same difference? In my mind I was pitching a hissy fit but ultimately, it’s the same thing. haha! I finished the whole bowl, just so you know.

  7. Lee

    I only knew this as mee hoon kueh, made by my grandmother who is now very far away in Melaka while I’m here shivering in Vancouver BC. Although she taught me how to make this, it wouldn’t be the same without her. You’ve made me very nostalgic with this post and recipe.

  8. chinthing

    I love 面粉糕! I add steamed pumpkin to the flour topped up with a bit of water if required. The “noodle” will be softer and fragrant. To make the flat pieces of “noodles”, (dip fingers into the cooled oil from the fried shallots and garlic that I will usually sprinkle as a topping) I grab a handful of dough and pull the dough into a thin layer (usually gravity will do its job), peel and put into the boiling soup, and repeat. At home, we replace the mani cai with Chinese spinach, lots of it! We also eat with a dipping sauce of coarsely chopped garlic, soya sauce, black vinegar and a squeeze of lime.

  9. SW Wong

    We have mani cai sold in Richmond, VA. You can try to find them in Vietnamese grocery store (those Vietnamese call it “Vietnam Kao Gei” – hope you understand my Cantonese). For the dough, I suggest to use cold water as it gives you the “QQ” feeling and hence no need to knead so much, :). For the soup, you can add “mang guang”, which taste much better (I am a Hakka from KL and my mom used to sell Pan Mee).

  10. Yen

    Being a Hakka girl, I grew up eating this dish. My mom made them using the pasta roller and that’s how I like it. When I am lazy to make my own, I just used those thiner udon and they taste just as good. We can’t really find sayur manis here in Hong Kong where I live now so I used baby choi sum as substitute and for the soup, I always add some chicken bones or feet to the soup to give it an even more flavourful soup. I also ‘toast’ my ikan bilis a bit to give it a bit of ‘smoky’ flavour….thanks for sharing this recipe. It makes me feel closer to home and fond memories of my deceased mom as we used to make the noodles together when I was a kid…

  11. Violet

    Hi Bee
    Wow, my mum used to make this a lot when I was little. I come from a Hakka family. We have 2 restaurants here in Sydney ( Albee’s Kitchen in Campsie & Kingsford) that sell this and it’s just as good as mum’s. ok, looking at the bowl you just posted, looks like I will be going there soon for a one. This brings back so many childhood memories. Thanks for the great reminder

  12. Serene Ng-Brown

    Dear Bee,

    I was wondering for the soup stock. Can I just use the chicken stock instead of anchovies/ikan bilis as my husband doesn’t like them very much, being Caucasian. I don’t mind adding the fried anchovies as toppings in my bowl of Pan Mee.

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