Hand-made pan mee noodles with pork & shiitake mushrooms

Hand-made pan mee noodles with pork & shiitake mushrooms

Pan mee

Street Food Asia
Alan Benson

At Tian Yake Ban Mian in Chow Kit (at Lorong Haji Taib, Number 5, to be precise), there’s a tiny old lady, now in her seventies, who’s been making hand-made pan mee noodles for decades. Locals tell me her humble stall has been going since 1975. She’s never missed a day of work in her life and when you see her, she’s always happy. Pan mee are irregular, chopped noodles and I like taking time to watch how she makes these, completely from scratch. I love the way she rolls out her dough using a large Tiger beer bottle. She loosely folds the rolled dough up, cuts it crossways into uneven strips, then throws the fresh noodles, to order, into boiling water. She does this all day – outside and with no air-con. She is remarkable. Many noodle soup dishes like hers are all about the broth and the noodles are almost incidental. But with her pan mee, the experience is definitely all about the rustic, hand-made noodles. They go into a bowl with a subtle, light broth poured over and with tons of shiitake mushrooms and fried shallots. It’s such a simple dish in many ways but there’s real skill and dedication behind it. It, and the wonderful lady making her noodles with such great care, remind me again why I love street food. They’re perfectly al dente and utterly delicious.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
3 red asian shallots, diced
100g minced pork
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then sliced
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornflour, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
4 litres Pork & chicken stock


Quantity Ingredient
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 large egg
1 teaspoon see method for ingredients

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
1 bunch choy sum, cut into 4 cm lengths
1 tablespoon see method for ingredients
sliced bird's eye chilli, to garnish
cracked black pepper


  1. To make the noodles, combine all the ingredients together with 4 tablespoons of water in a large mixing bowl. Mix with your hands to form a dough, then knead for 5 minutes, adding a little extra water if necessary, until smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add the vegetable oil, garlic and shallots to a hot wok and sauté until fragrant, then add the pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes, then add all the sauces, the sugar, sesame oil and 125 ml water, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 6 minutes until reduced slightly. Stir in the cornflour and water mixture to thicken the mixture slightly, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Once the dough has rested, divide it in half. Keeping one half covered to prevent it drying out, roll out the other on a floured work surface into a 2-mm thick rectangle (using a rolling pin or a large Tiger beer bottle for added authenticity). Repeat this with the other half, then slice the dough sheets lengthways into 1-cm wide noodles. Dust your hands with flour then run your fingers through the noodles to separate them.
  4. Briefly blanch the choy sum in boiling water, drain and set aside.
  5. Bring the broth to the boil in a stockpot or large saucepan. Add the handmade noodles and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until they just float to the top.
  6. Divide the broth and noodles between four bowls, add the choy sum and pork and shiitake mix and garnish with fried garlic, sliced birds eye chilli and cracked black pepper.
South-East Asian
Street Food
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