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Penang Curry Mee


Penang Curry Mee Recipe

Servings: About six bowls
Adapted from: Famous Street Food of Penang (A Guide and Cook Book)


Chili Paste:

10g dried and seeded red chilies
25g shallots
3 cloves garlic
50g fresh seeded red chilies
20g dried shrimp
4 tablespoons oil

Penang Curry Mee Soup-Base:

(A) Spice Paste:

10g belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste)
100g shallots
50g garlic
3 stalks lemongrass
10g dried and seeded red chilies
20 white pepper corns
4 heaped tablespoons coriander powder
5 tablespoons oil

(B) Stock:

7 cups water or shrimp shell stock (preferred)
75g rock sugar
200 ml coconut milk
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
Salt to taste
12 whole tofu puffs
Cooked pig’s blood cubes (cut into small cubes)

Other Ingredients:

Yellow noodles (scalded)
Dried rice vermicelli (scalded)
Fresh beansprouts (scalded)


Shrimp (cooked and shelled)
Soaked cuttlefish (sliced and scalded)
Cockles (shelled and scalded)



Preparing Penang Curry Mee Stock

Roughly cut up the fresh red chilies, lemongrass, shallots and garlic. Blend all spice paste ingredients (except oil) until fine. Add some water to aid the blending process. Heat the oil and fry the paste until aromatic, on medium heat, for at least 5 minutes. Add water (or shrimp shell stock) and bring the broth to boil before adding coconut milk, chicken bouillon powder, rock sugar and salt to taste. Add the tofu puffs and cook for a few more minutes, stirring continuously to prevent the coconut milk from curdling.

Preparing Chili Paste

Blend all the ingredients to a fine paste. Heat up the oil and fry the chili paste until aromatic over medium heat, for about 5 – 8 minutes. Dish out and set aside.

Serving Penang Curry Mee

Place some noodles, rice vermicelli and bean sprouts in a bowl. Ladle the curry mee stock over, along with a couple of tofu puffs and pig’s blood cubes. Add the toppings and serve immediately with 1 teaspoon (or more) chili paste. Mix the chili paste well with the noodles and broth and eat immediately.

Cook’s Notes:

Penang Curry Mee comes with various toppings, but the usual suspects are the above I featured. Some are served with fish balls and fish cakes, even char siu slices, and some are topped with refreshing mint leaves.

I used shrimp shell stock for my curry mee stock because I have heard that some of the most famous stalls use shrimp shell stock as the base, which makes perfect sense because it’s just more flavorful.

Contrary to most beliefs, Penang curry mee doesn’t use curry powder for the broth. The only spice is coriander powder, which lends that unmistakenly subtle but not over-powering curry flavor in the broth.

Trust me, there are really noodles and vermicelli at the bottom of those toppings. The bowl is too small and I love lots of toppings on my Penang curry mee.

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52 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Tan

    Oh man, you are killing me with this Penang Curry Mee, looks so yummylicious. I am not from Penang but I also prefer Penang-style curry mee, which is less creamy and jelak as you said. In KL, the curry laksa is too much coconut milk and sometimes I feel like eating chicken curry with noodles inside.

  2. I love pig’s blood cubes too! They used to have it as an (chosen) ingredient in the bowl of Yong Tau Foo, but now I can hardly see those “bloody” cubes. People are getting very conscious. I also remember that bowl of viet noodles (Bun Bo Hue) in LA which has blood cubes…”bloody” goody!

    • Oh yes, you are right, there is pig’s blood in Yong Tow Foo, yes, Penang can still find them. According to the old generations, pig’s blood as a lot of health benefits, to clear the inside, etc. I love it.

  3. Tuty @Scentofspice

    I haven’t had Penang Curry Mee, but it sure looks delicious. Can you source fresh blood cockles in the US? The frozen ones don’t have the same sweetness. It’s like freshly steamed “live” crab versus the “re-steamed” crab.

  4. Penang curry mee is the best. I love it with pigs blood cubes and cockles too, and lots of mint and long beans. And of course the chilli that goes with it must be fragrant too. I have lived in KL for 20 years and still can’t form a liking for their version of rich, lemak laksa.

    • I know, I used to live in KL for a few years when I was in college. For the first couple of years, I could barely finish a few spoonful of the rich lemak curry laksa, I got so jelak looking at the coconut milk rich curry. Then during my third year, I managed to finish a bowl. Not to my liking though. :P

  5. Wow this is such a beautiful bowl of curry — when I saw the pigs blood i honestly had to do a double take i said to myself “NO WAY, SOMEONE WAS GUTSY ENOUGH TO POST PIGS BLOOD?? and not only that she made it look absolutely DELICIOUS?” I love pigs blood but anytime I bring up the topic or suggestion to order it at a restaurant my friends instantly scrunch up their faces and some even gag just to be extra mean (all in good fun of course). Maybe I will just have to prepare this curry at home and enjoy all its glory by myself :) How interesting, I love it!
    Beautiful blog you have here btw :) very very nice!

    • Joy – I had to drive half an hour to find the pig’s blood cubes because it’s how Penang curry mee is. They are always served with pig’s blood cubes, except on the days when the markets don’t kill the pigs (twice a week).

      • I am sure the drive was well worth it! I remember the first time i ate pigs blood i told my mom “mom this tofu tastes funny”…hahaha she didn’t have the heart to tell me til later on that it was pigs blood, either or, I would’ve eaten it anyways :)

  6. John

    Thanks Bee for your delicious post- I use to live right on Lorong Selamat! The epicenter of Penang culinary and hawker delights! Do you know where can I get blood cake here in US? It is rather difficult to find a good Malaysian restaurants in New York which able to duplicate the taste of home, specially the distinctive taste of pipping hot curry broth simmered slowly with charcoal stove!

  7. You had me at pig’s blood. Do they sell them like that in CA? That bowl of curry mee is so…nostalgic-looking, Bee. You know, there is a curry mee stall in a kopitiam just 150meters away from my grandmother’s house on Perak Road (now torn down and new apartments stand where it once was), that serves a really good bowl of curry mee. I don’t know if they are still there but personally, their bowl of curry mee was better than the one on Lorong Seratus Tahun. And the price..omg, small for RM2.30, big for RM2.70 and extra topping for RM0.50 more!

  8. KY

    When I first saw your picture I thought you had chocolate cubes on top of your noodles. “Chocolate and curry noodles? Hmm, that’s new,” I thought! :-)

    I wish for a bowl of Penang curry mee now too!

  9. YeeSin

    The pictures looks so good. If I can eat them, I would!! LOL! I miss the penang style curry me. I have bought those packet stuff (Delimas) curry mee paste, but it’s not the penang style. I think I can taste the Jelutong market curry mee in my mind now…

  10. JR

    Do you know where I can buy a good Malaysian shrimp paste here in CA, US? Those in Asian grocery market normally are too spicy or grow mold really quick after opening the jar, though I put them in the fridge.

  11. Hi Bee…we ate curry mee once in Penang this trip home but it wasn’t the very best. Most of the stalls were still closed so we made do lah! I hate to say this, but I’m no longer a fan of pig’s blood. Maybe I just can’t get over the idea that it’s blood. I used to have no problems when I was younger but somehow I just can’t do it now. And I’ve never liked cockles. Oh well…maybe I need to try eating them again and I’ll develop a liking for them…I seem to be prescribing that to others so maybe I need to practice that myself.
    As for Lorong Seratus Tahun, they have a stall in KL too and it’s very good–like the Penang version but much, much more expensive! My Penang cousin eats there when she needs her curry mee fix. I can’t wait to go to Penang again when it’s not CNY so I can really eat at all the yummy hawker stalls. Hopefully, you’ll be back next time!

  12. Philip Ze

    Last year I went to Penang, I regret I never try the local food there especially this Penang Curry Mee … look extremely delicious.

  13. Kat

    Hi, your curry mee looks simply YUMMILICIOUS!! I’m from Penang but having since moved to KL, finding a good bowl of curry mee with pig’s blood can be extremely difficult! Yes I always get scrunched faces whenever I ask whether they serve it with pig’s blood :P

    Intend to try out your recipe soon :) But don’t know where I can buy pig’s blood in KL. Anyone can help me out?

    Thank you so much for sharing your delicious recipe!

  14. Helen

    Hi Bee,

    May I know can I substitute rock sugar with normal sugar? Why is rock sugar used in the recipe? Thanks a million!

  15. Candice

    I wanna make this but just wondering dried chilis or fresh red chiilies need to be used in making the soup-base?
    Because in the spice paste ( is written as dried chilies) and in the method of preparation ( use fresh red chilies)..
    Please advise.

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