Foodie Friday: Bee Hoon/Mee Hoon/Mai Fun

Bee Hoon/Mee Hoon/Mai Fun: rice vermicelli

rice vermicelliWhatever you call it, it’s thin noodles made from rice. This is not to be confused with bean thread noodles (glassy transparent noodles made from a starch, like mung bean). You can cook the vermicelli in different ways, but I personally like them stir-fried. The key to nice noodles is: 1) soaking them until soft, 2) not using boiling water to do so, and 3) cooking the noodles separate from meat and vegetables (unless you have a stellar non-stick pan).

Here are my top three versions of rice vermicelli:

  • Taiwanese bee hoon: dry-style, flavored with sliced pork or dried shrimps
  • Hokkien mee hoon: noodle soup (in Penang) or fried dish (in Singapore) featuring prawns with a touch of lime (note: the similarly named Kuala Lumpur dish boasts thick noodles in a dark sauce)
  • Singaporean mai fun: throw in your meats & vegetables, and don’t forget the curry powder! (I read somewhere that the curry flavoring may be an American addition, but I like it anyway.)

Do you know a food with several names to it?

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