Penang Hokkien Mee Recipe (Prawn Mee / Har Meen / Mee Yoke / 福建虾面)
February 24th, 2014 97 Comments

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

Penang Hokkien Mee
Penang Hokkien Mee pictures (4 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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97 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Lyrical Lemongrass says:

    Looks like your hard work certainly paid off! Looks great!

  2. Nate 2.0 says:

    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!

  3. Anonymous says:

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

  4. Claude-Olivier says:


    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 ;-)


  5. sourrain says:

    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!

  6. Keropok Man says:

    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…

  7. Audrey Cooks says:

    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

  8. pip says:

    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!

  9. Elena says:

    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 :(

  10. Anonymous says:

    i can’t wait for the recipe…
    im collecting my prawn heads nowww

  11. tigerfish says:

    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?

  12. Timothy says:

    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.

  13. simcooks says:

    Can you freeze some and courier them over to Tiga and myself?

  14. PrincessJournals says:

    i want i want. w/o the pork tho. hehe..

  15. Lin says:

    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 :)

  16. CF says:

    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.

  17. Mina says:

    Looks really tasty!

    ~ Mina

  18. david says:

    Bee, Colorado hasn’t seen food like that since you left! It sure looks GREAT!!!!

  19. Oppss says:

    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. =)

  20. pablopabla says:

    You really love prawns! Watch your cholesterol level :)

  21. team BSG says:

    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 !

  22. Tricia Lee-Chin says:

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

  23. Passionate Eater says:

    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!!) ;)

  24. Rasa Malaysia says:

    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. :) :) :)

  25. cooknengr says:

    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.

  26. Precious Pea says:

    Wow…the presentation alone already put many prawn mee sellers in Malaysia to shame. 1 bowl pls??

  27. Anonymous says:

    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*

  28. Tummythoz says:

    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?

  29. Stef says:

    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 :-)

  30. Vero says:

    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????

  31. Rose says:

    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.

  32. Ben says:

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

  33. The Expedited Writer says:

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

  34. lucia says:

    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. :)

  35. reese says:

    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.

  36. fatboybakes says:

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

  37. SPC says:

    I had to go to the local Malaysian place for lunch today for a bowl of their Penang Har Mee because of you!!

  38. Rasa Malaysia says:

    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?

  39. BuddingCook says:

    Wah! Such hard work. It looks so flavorful.

  40. Kenny Mah says:

    Your photographs and descriptions are so vivid, I can almost taste the prawny stock… O dear O my…

  41. Chubbypanda says:

    Awww… Make me some too! =)

  42. aria says:

    this is such a beautiful recipe! ooh that broth ….

  43. Danielle says:

    I want some! Sadly, my shrimp stock is made only with shells, not heads. Yours sounds better.

  44. reese says:

    Hey, I am finally going to cook the prawn mee with the lobster heads tonight. Will keep you posted!

  45. Ming the Merciless says:

    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.

  46. noodleoodle says:

    What an amazing dish. I dream of eating such a thing!

  47. khunying says:

    Wow! looks so good again. I want to eat it now. I am hugry.

  48. Anonymous says:

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

  49. Hanim says:

    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

  50. asiancuisinexpert says:

    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.!

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