New Recipes

Penang Hokkien Mee Recipe (Prawn Mee / Har Meen / Mee Yoke / 福建虾面)

Penang Hokkien Mee
Penang Hokkien Mee pictures (3 of 5)

Originally posted on April 2, 2007. Updated with new photos.

This divine bowl of Penang Hokkien Mee (Prawn Noodle) took me months of hard work and patience. I mean months, not days, and certainly not hours.

To concoct a pot of pure shrimpy stock that is signature to this Penang hawker food dish, one has to have heaps of shrimp heads. Yes, I am talking about a ziploc bag (a BIG one!) full of shrimp heads. While I eat shrimp all the time, it’s a completely different matter when it comes to saving up their heads.

Penang Hokkien Mee (Prawn Noodle Soup) / 福建虾面

It’s impossible to get good Hokkien Mee here in the US, so for the past few months, I bought only head-on shrimps. Patiently and religiously I saved up their heads so I could make this at home…

This past weekend, the ziploc bag was finally so full that I could no longer zip it up. I quickly rushed out to the nearest Asian supermarket and got myself all the other ingredients–pork ribs, bean sprouts, noodles, etc.–and started cooking this famous hawker delicacy. The end result was a pot full of real prawny stock that was as close as what you get in Penang. It was really satisfying slurping up the soup and had unlimited topping of pork ribs that fell off the bones! Mmmm…

Penang Hokkien Mee (Prawn Noodle Soup) / 福建虾面

While Hokkien Mee is made famous by Penang hawkers, it originated from the Fujian province in China, and hence the name “Hokkien” (which means Fujian in its dialect) and “Mee” (meaning noodle). When I was in Xiamen in early 2006, I did validate this fact. I found Hokkien Mee (福建虾面) in coffee shops there. While the taste is almost the same, the one I had in Xiamen paled in comparison. The Malaysian version is considerably enhanced with better flavors, ingredients, and toppings.

Penang Hokkien Mee, the only hawker food dish that I seriously can’t do without. Do you want to have a bowl? ;)

PS: Elsewhere in Malaysia, Penang Hokkien Mee is called Har Meen (Cantonese dialect for Prawn Mee), Heh Mee (Hokkien dialect) or Mee Yoke. In KL, Hokkien Mee is a stir-fried noodle dish steeped in dark soy sauce with pork and serve with chili lime paste. Click here for Eating Asia‘s KL Hokkien Mee.

Get Recipe(Click Page 2 for the Penang Hokkien Mee Recipe)

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102 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Nate 2.0

    You’ve got my mouth watering again. That is the richest bowl of Penang Hokkien Mee I’ve ever seen. The broth is so dark!

  2. Anonymous

    Looks really yummy! How come chose green onions instead of kangkung for your authentic Penang Hokkien mee?

  3. Claude-Olivier


    Your pictures look really delicious !!! I saw that you have also some Ikea stuff in the US (the black caddle carier no?). I have just buy my new toy: A Nikon D80….the dream ;-)


  4. sourrain

    omg, i made hokkien mee last weekend as well,but cheated with shrimp powder – most of the prawns sold here are cooked and headless. so i failed miserably.

    will copy your recipie when you post it up!

  5. Keropok Man

    wow. must really tabik you man…

    patiently saving all the hay kak to make the hay mee.

    looks delicious. and your arrangements on the mat, looks like having a bowl of it in some Equatorial Penang, and not the ones at the roadside.

    To answer your question on the last sentence, YES PLEASE!

    Quick, develepe scratch and sniff websites! LOL…

  6. Audrey Cooks

    I definitely want a bowl, not just any bowl but the one you posted. Gosh! you put some so called Penang Hokkien Mee hawkers in KL to total shame! Yours has the authentic look with its dark chili oil and …. I am slurping, he he he

  7. pip

    waaaahhhh, looks delicious! hey since it took months to cook, where’s the loh?! when i make it, i have to boil pigs trotters, tail, belly for ages to get the thick gooey loh … ok lah, off to the butchers now … UK butchers not very reliable … wish me luck!

  8. Elena

    I did the same thing too [save prawn heads for months] and my mum now laughs and laughs at me [and tells people so they laugh at me too! :(]. Apparently, my desperation to eat Hokkien mee in the UK is very funny :(

  9. tigerfish

    I just asked you in my Tom Yum rice post if we could share share our food? ;D …wah…you spent one month collecting all the heads arh…you prawn heads collector..liddat can cook how many bowls before you start collecting heads again :O
    The penang eatery in the bay area has serves rather good penang prawn noodle soup has closed down :(
    Now no more hang out for me to eat this noodle soup…how?
    So tempting your noodle soup, how?

  10. Timothy

    You must miss home a lot … I mean … you’re trying to replicate a Penang delicacy … all the way in US. But good job … I must agree .. it looks good.

    Next round, let me send you the latest Maggi Har Mee… latest product.

  11. Lin

    Simply awesome! I too save up prawn heads when I wanna cook this noodle dish, and yeah, it takes patience to save up so many of them heads! Yum yum :)

  12. CF

    What kind of noodle do you use for your hokkien mee? I’m also in the states and have been trying to find the best subtitute noodle for the yummy penang hokkien mee.

  13. Oppss

    I want a bowl too!! Gimme your address so that I can go over to makan. j/k.
    Been visiting your blog for quite a while. But the previous message was the very first msg I left here. Will come by very often to check out your food. =)

  14. team BSG

    Since now V know that this is your hardest working dish V shall pay a similar but less worthy tribute (since V can’t cook like u can) by dedicating our next and next hare mees here in KL/PG/Ipoh just for you by having more than 1 bowl each and say proudly
    Rasa Malaysia boleh !

  15. Tricia Lee-Chin

    Drool! Drool! Drool! Looks sooo yummalicious! Can’t wait to see your recipe!!! BTW, how do you make the chili sauce??

  16. Passionate Eater

    I hope your burnt thumb is doing better.

    And I am surprised by your diligence! The soup looks fantastic in and of itself, but after I read how you saved up all of the prawn shells and heads until you could no longer zip up the top of the ziploc bag, I gained an even greater respect for you! (And I had the greatest respect for you already!!) ;)

  17. Rasa Malaysia

    Lemongrass – Thanks. :)

    Nate 2.0 – LOL. I think my pictures are under-exposed again (still struggling to learn how to use my new camera properly, but yes, darker means more prawny goodness. ;)

    Anonymous – I did use kangkong, but I took these pictures the morning after it was cooked so I used up all my kangkong and had to “cheat” with some green onions (for coloring purposes).

    Claude – yes, IKEA! Haha, funny you also have one. Wow, Nikon D80, that’s serious stuff. Congratulations and I look forward to seeing your new pictures!!!

    Timothy – the Maggie prawn noodles is no where close to the real stuff. It’s just not prawny enough. LOL! :P

    Simcooks – No need to freeze. You and Tiga can move down to the OC. I know how to cook some confinement food, I think! Hehe. ;)

    Sourrain – Haha. Sometimes I cheat with the package powder thingy too, but it just doesn’t cut it! ;)

    Keropok Man – quick quick you are bound for a trip up north to Penang for the Hokkien Mee. No need to scratch and eat. :)

    Audrey – make yourself this at home. I know, the ones in KL/PJ are not that great. (Sorry, my KL/PJ readers!) :P

    Pip – I do not know how to make the loh. I know it’s very good as you can do half loh half soup, and then you add in the minced garlic and OMG, soooo good. Thanks for reminding me, must learn how to.

    Elena – too funny, I thought I am the only one in the whole world that would do that. Now we make 2 and you can tell your mother about it. LOL! :) :)

    Anonymous – LOL. How many have you collected already. Remember, it’s a big ziploc bag, not any kind of bag. :P

    Tiga – say no more. You can start packing your stuff and move down to my neighborhood and we can collect the prawn heads together so it’s faster and we can have cook-outs all the time! Sounds fun? ;)

    Princess Journal – yeah, next time I will make a halal one just for you! :)

    Lin – yes, sometimes I can’t wait anymore and will have to make do with whatever I have saved, but of course, it doesn’t taste as prawny…

    CF – which part of US are you in? You can find Malaysian kind of yellow noodles…the one I get is Taiwanese made fresh yellow noodles with oil, just like the ones at home. Just don’t buy those yellow noodles from Hong Kong, they are soggy and easily break.

    Mina – thanks. :)

    David – awww you are too sweet. Yes, I indeed lived in Colorado once, for a month!

    Oppss – where are you based at? It’s not a bad idea if you live close as you’re such a great cook yourself! I have so much to learn from you. Thanks for your comments and do leave me more. :)

    Pablo – thanks for your concerns, but I do not eat any red meat and last I checked, my cholesterol level is a healthy 120. I think I am immuned. Hahahaha.

    Team BSG – yes, thanks and Rasa Malaysia boleh!

    Tricia – I just posted my recipe, including the chili paste. Go check it out. :)

    PE – yes, my thumb is OK now. You are always too nice…you are a real sweetheat. :) :) :)

  18. cooknengr

    Cool, thanks for the recipe, I’ll whoop up a big pot of Penang Hokkian Mee for the “Kelab Ah Beng dan Ah Lian of So.Cal” gathering some days.

  19. Anonymous

    I am so jealous! I miss Malaysia food terribly! Erm, even though i am only in Singapore….haha…. But haven’t been home for a few months and i am going crazy thinking of food from hometown. And i can’t do cooking coz i stay in campus and it’s really inconvenient. Sigh. *jealous*

  20. Tummythoz

    Looks so droolicious! Did mine a few months back. Now in the gathering mode again. I don’t use a ziploc bag tho. I submerged my collection in water & freeze into ice blocks in containers of various sizes. To cook, I just empty the containers into a pot to boil. Ziploc bags are definietly more space saving! Think I’ll try to use this batch to make mee bandung or rebus. Got recipe to share?

  21. Stef

    Must cost a bomb to just go by shrimp heads there? Anyways, in Europe it is, in Malaysia just go buy buy loh, loooove Malaysia :-)

    Ah, can just throw the heads in boiling water? Never tried that one, me always fry them first like you mentioned, must be my European tastebuts not ready for all tastes shrimp :-)

  22. Vero

    As we say in France: “Slurrrrppp!!!” (noise made by me licking my lips!!!:-D)
    It looks terrific, how am I going to gather the shrimp heads fast enough????

  23. Rose

    I have to try this noodle soup,I have to find shrimp heads and try this noodle soup, otherwise I will be licking my screen the entire day. Lovely picture.

  24. Ben

    That is so much work! Sigh … I don’t think Suanne will go to that extend to make it. Darn … I feel hungry now.

  25. The Expedited Writer

    Hey, that prawn mee looks pretty authentic. I’m salivating for some already….sigh I miss Penang’s hokkien mee :(

  26. lucia

    usually another word for penang hokkien mee is just ‘prawn mee’. no noodle there because all penang hokkien mee are with noodle (no dry type).

    yes for hokkien mee, the soup gotta be good… then everything would be good… so do not saved on the shrimp’s heads. :)

  27. reese

    Looks Good! I will attempt to make that. I was thinking of saving the lobster head the next time we are having lobster as the flavour is more intense given the sweet tomalley. Will keep you posted on the outcome.

  28. fatboybakes

    goodness, rasa malaysia. this was just for you and K? the lucky man. it’s amazing how he manages to keep to trim.

  29. Rasa Malaysia

    Cooknengr – Ooooh, just send me an invitation and I am more than happy to be your Ah Lian from So Cal. ;)

    Precious Pee – yes, mine is at RM20.00. Will you still want a bowl? LOL!

    Anonymous – I am sorry to hear that, but I was once a student too and can’t cook. Never mind, just eat all you can when you go home. :)

    Tummythoz – You will have to post your picture the next time. No, I am not sure how to make mee Bandung or mee rebus. :(

    Stef – yeah, I guess the stir-fry would rid the prawny smell a little bit.

    Vero – ask your neighbor for help! Hehe.

    Rose – you should…it’s THE noodle soup you just have to try.

    Ben – yes it is, but what can we do? We are not in Malaysia.

    The Expidited Writer – yeah, I tried to make it real authentic even though I cheated a little. :P

    Lucia – thanks for the translation…I know something was funny when I wrote “Prawn Noodle Soup.”

    Reese – oooh, lobsters! Must be a super-duper deluxe version of Hokkien Mee then…yes, do let me know. :)

    FBB – no lah, for two Malaysian friends too. Where can eat so much! LOL!

    SPC – Too funny. How was your Penang Har Mee?

  30. Ming the Merciless

    Oh wow!!! You are a dedicated chef!! A purist at heart!!

    Most people would have just bought some shrimp/fish stock from the grocery store.

  31. Anonymous

    Thanks for the recipe.. my wife loved it.. I substituted the pork with beef coz I’m a muslim, but taste good nonetheless.

  32. Hanim

    Hi, I’m so proud to say that my prawn mee turn out exactly the way I expected, just like the one I ate in Penang hawker stall. Thank you again for the recipe..I shared the recipe in my blog if you don’t mind

  33. asiancuisinexpert

    wow…this recipe helped a lot becasue i m in US. i just started cooking it,so while waitin i am writing this comment.
    i am new here and would really wished to help out as well for our truly malaysian food..yummy..!
    do you guys really needa keep so many prawn heads and shells?
    because i am bought one whole pack of prawn and peel all the shell and head and throw in to cook. it smells yummy and i hope i does taste good too..hehe
    i will start blogging to help others out there which are craving for truely authenthic food.!

  34. asiancuisinexpert

    Oh yeah,just to help you shorten the process of cooking,try get one pressure cooker..its not expensive to own one..and it cooks really fast..!and the flavor are even better. you can cook homemade soups with that as well and it really extract all the flavor out from the ingredients.

  35. Anonymous

    the correct way to make hokkien prawn stock is: colected prawn heads ( over a time ), fry the head and shells in a wok ( but don’t burn it) add 20 gram rock sugar and 10 gram rosted balacaan,cook for about 30 minutes with medium heat, add water from time to time. now place this cooked shells into a mixer and liquifid it,heat up again for a while (10 minutes) and get it through a sieve , discard the shells. now your prawnstock can be use for your purpose.

  36. John P.

    When I got to one of the many Penang Restaurants here on the East Coast, Prawn Mee is what I ALWAYS order. It’s in the Broth! The stuff is magical! My wife is going to try to make some here at home tomorrow.

  37. Melissa & Murray Cahill

    Hi, This looks yummy.. I have collected enough prawns heads to try your recipe this weekend. Just wondering if I( can add the prok ribs at the same time when the heads are boiling.. save time…?

  38. Rasa Malaysia

    Melissa – I would advise you to follow the proper steps because you need to toss away to shrimp heads. Pork ribs are going to stay.

    • I can’t say I am envious where you’re sitting now ;P What are you doing in Khartoum of all places :( Sure hope you’re doing something great or making loads of money. Otherwise, home is calling, and not only my hokkien mee :)

  39. Cecilia

    browsing through i came across your mouth watering ‘ har mee’ ( * 0 * )“. perfect !
    now i could make my own quick and simply noodle.BTW i’m in Taiwan ….it has being years I have not tasted malaysian food ……( ˊ ˋ ).Too busy .

  40. chick1

    ONLY ONLY……1 STALLS OF HOKKIEN MEE IS very very CHEAP AND DELICIOUS…..THE PRICE OF NORMAL HOKKIOEN MEE ONLY RM2.00. WHEN THE HOKKIEN MEE ADD MEE ONLY RM2.50…THE HOKKIEN MEE IT WITH EXTRA —–Paikut & Hooncheong! only RM3.00per bowl. This stall is at JELUTONG near post office kopitian … the business hour 5.00a.m-11.00a.m
    when you over the business time the hokkien mee will finished…
    槟城****日落洞靠近post office 的咖啡店的福建面美味可口,价廉物美。。。普通一碗福建面只是二零吉马币(RM 2.00)…加面只是多加五十角钱。。。
    每一位顾客到来吃。。。。都是二十多年的老顾客了。。。 这档福建面是一对夫妻的。。。。

    • Yes. I remember that stall, I ate there a lot when I was in primary school because my tuition center was there. OMG, just the thought of it makes me drool now. Yummy.

  41. suestreet

    Dear author
    you are my heroine/hero, you r so great and passionate abt cooking, I am from perth, australia, just want you to know that i greatly admire your passion and how you do your research, this recipe is so authetic, however iw illl defintely tried it, I stumble onto your website by c`hance and I am so happpy. so great work and keep up the passion, cheers from down under.

  42. Jean Sushi

    All your photos look so delicious, it makes me want to try to make my own. I am residing in Yunnan, China, so if I want to eat Hae Mee, I would have to cook it myself.
    May I use your recipe?

  43. Tina

    Hi! I’m an overseas student trying to replicate this dish for my friends. But one of my friends cant take pork, is it possible to do this dish with chicken stock instead?

  44. Loke2112

    No I’d rather just make ramen noodles with salad shrimp…OF COURSE I WANT A BOWL!!!! What time are you coming by???? My 4 year old daughter is banging her fist for some too!

  45. Ru

    Hi there, thank you for your recipe. I can’t figure out the portion of shrimp shells and heads,can’t find the size of the ziploc bag mentioned either. May I know how many kilos roughly? Thanks.

  46. Mitali Sarkar

    When I came to the US from Malaysia, I would improvise Malaysian recipes since a lot of the ingredients were not available in the city I lived in. I would use the ingredients I brought from Malaysia and when I ran out I would modify with what is available here. Ever since I got on your website I felt like I was able to cook and taste the authentic Malay and Chinese food. So thank you for your recipes. You brought home food away from home. Your mouth watering Hokkien Mee reminds me of Pasar Malam. That is where I would go to get Hokkien Mee. I miss the hawkers food a lot. Nothing taste best like street food. Thank you again. I hope you will continue to post a lot more mouth watering recipes for your readers to try.

  47. Hi Bee! Do you know how long I can freeze the broth for once I make it? In Singapore we call the dish Hay Mee (in Hokkien) and I really crave it a lot living in NYC. My only source for the dish has lately lost its quality pretty drastically so now I have to attempt to make it at home. I would love to make enough to store in the freezer and just take out some when I need to. Thanks for the recipe!

  48. Brenda L

    This is incredible. I have tried a few prawn noodle recipe that i have googled, and so far this is the simplest and taste the best! it tastes exactly like the Penang version. I love this recipe. I am definitely going to keep this recipe. i kept the broth overnight and serve prawn noodle for breakfast. oolala, breakfast Msian style!

  49. Coco from SF

    Luv all your recipes :)!
    I live in SF and can never find a good yellow noodles particularly for Hokkien & Loh Mee. All the local yellow noodle here have no “texture”! Do you know of any brand that you can recommend?

  50. Mekirin

    I live on a small country where there’s no Asian grocery stores and all the so called Chinese restaurants are catered for the locals so the food there taste terrible IMO. So I am one of those Malaysians who would move mountain to have good Malaysian food. Your website has been a source of my kitchen inspirations. Today I made this dish – but I did a little shortcut to your already shortcut version – because I was too hungry and couldn’t wait as I’ve waited for 3.5 years to eat this in my home: I first boiled the prawn shells & heads and pork bones soup separately, then combined them to boil for 2.5 hours (saving the time to boil them one after another). I’d say it didn’t affect the taste, though I wouldn’t know the taste of your version as I haven’t tried :D The result is superb, all the effort of saving prawn shells and heads were paid off ! The prawns were super soft, unlike at the stall where they’d give you tiny prawns, I can have as many prawns as I want, good thing about home made food! But it’s 3-5 hours of hard work, so definitely won’t be able to make it very often.

  51. Fuu

    The only prawn noodles I’ve had here (US) is at Little Malaysia in Southern California! Very comparable to the prawn noodles I’ve had in Singapore! Can’t wait to try out your recipe!

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