Bak Chor Mee is one of our favourite soups from Singapore to enjoy during the colder months of the year.
Our homemade Minced Pork Noodle Soup recipe is a labour of love. Some of the components of the dish can be prepared a day in advance, like the marinated pork and braised mushrooms. The day you are serving Singaporean Bak Chor Mee you can simply gather the ingredients and have steaming noodle soup bowls ready to serve in under an hour.
Spoon through a bowl of our traditional Singaporean Bak Chor Mee featuring flavourful braised mushrooms, Chinese pork balls, marinated pork loin and minced pork, fried shallots, red chili, scallions and crispy chicken cracklings.
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What Is Soup?
Soup is a liquid food, generally served warm or hot (but can also be served cold like gazpacho), that is prepared by combining meat or vegetables with stock or water.
Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavours are extracted, creating a rich broth.
Soups are similar to stews, and in some cases there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Soups generally have more liquid (broth) than chunkier and heartier stews.
In traditional French cuisine, soups are classified into two groups: clear soups (bouillon and consomme) and thick soups (purees, bisques, veloutes).
Purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish or vegetables thickened with cream; cream soups may be thickened with béchamel sauce; and veloutés are thickened with eggs, butter, and cream.
History of Soup
Evidence of the existence of soup can be found as far back as about 20,000 BC. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers, such as clay pots. To boil the water hot rocks were used.
The word soup comes from French soupe (broth), which comes through Vulgar Latin suppa (“bread soaked in broth”) from a Germanic source, from which also comes the word “sop”, a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew.
The word restaurant (meaning “restoring”) was first used in France in the 16th century, to refer to a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors, that was advertised as a cure to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in such soups. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant for eating establishments.
In America, the first colonial cookbook was published by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1742, based on Eliza Smith’s The Compleat Housewife; or Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion, and it included several recipes for soups and bisques.
English cooking dominated early colonial cooking; but as new immigrants arrived from other countries, other national soups gained popularity. In particular, German immigrants living in Pennsylvania were famous for their potato soups. In 1794, Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, a refugee from the French Revolution, opened an eating establishment in Massachusetts called The Restorator, and became known as the “Prince of Soups”.
What Is Bak Chor Mee?
Bak Chor Mee is an authentic dish from Singapore, traditionally served at hawker stalls. Bak Chor translates to “minced meat.” Mee means noodles.
Bak Chor Mee can be served as a noodle dish, or transformed into a Minced Pork Noodle Soup with added broth. I prefer the soup version, which is served with a large spoon and chopsticks.
Singaporean chefs boil chewy egg noodles (mee pok or mee kia) and toss them in a savoury, tangy and spicy sauce. I prefer to use mee kia, the thinner egg noodles for this dish as they are the most authentic and fun to eat.
After the noodles are quickly cooked, they’re tossed in chicken fat, Chinese black vinegar, braised mushroom broth, chili sauce and fish sauce.
We like to garnish homemade Singapore Minced Pork Noodle Soup with sliced scallions, fried shallots, red chili and homemade chicken cracklings. They make for an addictive crunchy topping.
Travel to Singapore by Cooking Pork Noodle Soup at Home
I spent 3 jam-packed days adventuring through the spotless streets of Singapore. I arrived to Asia’s smallest country on a flight from Kuching on the Island of Borneo after scuba diving the world famous coral reefs of Sipadan.
My fondest memories of my time in the tiny Southeast Asian city were visits to the world famous Singapore Zoo and National Museum, which has a captivating exhibit on the city’s famous hawker food culture. I ate every breakfast, lunch and dinner in Singapore at al fresco food stalls featuring spicy Indian curry, Chinese dim sum, coconut milk infused Malay soups and Indonesian satay skewers.
I’ll never forget my first taste of Bak Chor Mee. I got soaking wet from a midday rainstorm and ran into a hawker stall to keep dry. While the city’s gutters filled with the rush of fresh water I passed the time by ordering a bowl of Singaporean Pork Noodle Soup.
After slurping down those chewy noodles I immediately knew why Bak Chor Mee was so often referred to as Singapore’s favourite comfort food.
My Family Loves Bak Chor Mee
My dad would often make cream of tomato soup and serve a bowl with grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles. Our family also loved slurping through bowls of Butternut Squash Soup, French Onion Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup.
During October in Ontario we’d often visit popular Fall Fairs in Norfolk County, Niagara and Prince Edward County to go on fun rides, run through corn mazes and purchase fresh local fruits and vegetables at the peak of harvest season.
Mushrooms, pork, shallots and scallions are available in abundance year round in Canada but we especially love to serve this savoury Singapore soup in the colder fall and winter months. A steaming bowl is the perfect comfort food on a frigid day.
Where To Eat Soup
If you live in a large city in North America you’ll likely have access to plenty of soup-specific restaurants. We also love to visit local, family-run diners and cafes that offer menus specializing in “soups, sandwiches and salads.”
In Toronto, popular restaurants that serve soup include RaviSoups, Soup Nutsy, United Bakers Dairy, Cafe Polonez, Saffron Spice Kitchen, Santouka Ramen, Sansotei Ramen, Kenzo Ramen, Kinton Ramen, Ajisen Ramen, Maison Selby, Maha’s, One Love Vegetarian and Fabarnak.
Popular Southeast Asian restaurants that may serve Singaporean Bak Chor Mee in Toronto include Pinky’s Ca Phe, Pho Phuong, Pho Vistro, Anh Dao, Pho Hung, Pho Asia 21, The Golden Turtle, Sabai Sabai, Sukothai, Khao San Road, Pai, Kiin, Bangkok Garden, Mengrai Thai, Soos and Favorites Thai BBQ.
Minced Pork Noodle Health Benefits
Our easy Minced Pork Noodle Soup recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Shallots and Scallions are a member of the onion family, a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of leeks can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins: riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. The combination helps protect heart health.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, niacin, vitamin B-6 and phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and potassium.
Bak Chor Mee Tips
This homemade Singaporean soup is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time soup makers!
- Use a large cast iron dutch oven with a high rim to reduce splatter when cooking.
- We suggest using a high quality rubber spatula spoon when making soup so you can easily stir, scrape down the side of the pot and sip to check if it needs to be seasoned further with more salt.
- We’ve used Chinese black vinegar to flavour the soup. You can substitute by using half the amount of balsamic vinegar (it’s sweeter).
- You can purchase dried shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste and pork balls at your local Asian market. If you like to DIY in the kitchen feel free to make your own homemade Chinese pork balls from scratch!
- Some Bak Chor Mee recipes include dried anchovy, which is used to flavour the broth. We’ve made this recipe easy by simply adding fish sauce instead.
- Some Minced Pork Noodle Soup recipes include a garnish of crispy pork lard, we’ve used chicken cracklings instead.
What To Serve with Bak Chor Mee
If you’re hosting a large dinner party you might want to serve small bowls of our Singaporean Pork Noodle Soup as an appetizer before serving heartier mains.
We love serving this soup with Osaka Okonomayaki, Calgary Ginger Beef, Green Onion Cake, Vietnamese Crepe Bánh Xèo, Gochujang Chicken Wings and Ssamjang Chicken. Serve our recipe with your favourite craft beer, fine wine or cocktails.
After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe or Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers.
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If you have leftover soup you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. To reheat simply zap it in the microwave or simmer in a small saucepan on the stove.
We love doubling our soup recipes so we can store leftovers in the freezer and save time on cooking in the kitchen. We suggest storing leftover soup in Pyrex freezer safe containers that have a snug lid so there’s no spilling. My mother often uses old glass pasta sauce jars to store soup in the freezer.
Be sure to let your soup reach room temperature before storing it in the freezer. If you add a hot jar of soup to a cold freezer it will significantly reduce the interior temperature and potentially spoil your food.
If you have leftover Bak Chor Mee, we suggest storing the broth with braised mushrooms, pork balls, pork slices and minced pork in the fridge or freezer. You’ll want to make fresh noodles whenever you decide to reheat and serve the recipe again.
How To Make Singaporean Bak Chor Mee Soup
Bak Chor Mee Singapore Minced Pork Noodle Soup
- 10 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
- 500 ml Liquid from soaking mushrooms
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 6 cups Chicken stock
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 200 g Minced pork
- 1 tsp Soy Sauce
- 1/4 tsp White Pepper
- 1 tsp Sesame oil
- 1 tsp Cornstarch
- 200 g Pork loin thinly sliced
- 1 tsp Soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp Ground pepper
- 1 tsp Cornstarch
- 4 tsp Chicken fat
- 4 tsp Soy Sauce
- 4 tsp Fish sauce
- 4 tsp Chinese Black Vinegar
- 4 tsp Chili paste
- 1/2 cup Braised mushroom liquid
- 300 g Mee Kia Thin Chinese Egg Noodles
- 8 Pork Balls
- 3 tbsp Crispy chicken skin cracklings chopped
- 3 tbsp Fried Shallots
- 1 Scallion sliced
- 1 Thai red chili sliced
- Place dried mushrooms in a large pot with 4 cups of hot water and let them soak for 30 minutes.
- Remove plump mushrooms and cut into slices. Save 500 ml of the liquid. Add soy sauce, sugar and sliced mushrooms to the 500ml of liquid and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and let it gently simmer and braise for 1 hour.
- Marinate the minced pork and pork loin slices in their unique seasonings in separate bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and keep cool in the fridge.
- Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large pot with fish sauce and sugar and stir for 2-3 minutes.
- Prepare the noodle sauce and divide into each serving bowl.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Loosen the egg noodles with your hand if they come in tight bundles. Place the noodles in the water and cook for about 45 seconds while stirring. Remove noodles from boiling water and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Shake off any excess water and divide noodles into 4 serving bowls. Toss the noodles with the sauce so they are fully incorporated.
- Bring the broth to a simmer and then add the pork balls, pork slices and minced pork. Cover with a lid and cook for 3-5 minutes. Only cook until the meat is no longer pink and cooked through.
- Using a slotted spoon, top each noodle bowl with pork balls, pork slices and minced pork.
- Garnish each bowl with sliced braised mushrooms (and liquid), chopped green onion, chicken cracklings, sliced red chili and fried shallots. Serve immediately.
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