The Savoury Art of Malaysia: Mee Siam

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Mee Siam, a dish of thin rice vermicelli with a blend of hot, sweet, and sour flavours, traces its roots back to Penang, Malaysia. The dish, whose name translates to “Siamese noodle” in Malay, seems to draw inspiration from Thai flavours, reflecting the historical influence of Thailand, formerly known as Siam. The dish’s introduction to Singapore is attributed to the migration of Straits Chinese families from Penang in the early 1800s.

Variations Across Regions

Mee Siam has evolved into various versions across Malaysia. The dry-fried version is popular in Johor, while a wet version is a favourite in Malacca. The dish is commonly served as breakfast, brunch, or lunch, often accompanied by sides such as fried chicken, fried or boiled egg, specialty sambal, otak-otak (a grilled fish cake), and luncheon meat.

In Singapore, Mee Siam is served with a spicy, sweet, and sour light gravy made from a rempah spice paste, tamarind, and tauco (salted soybean). It’s typically garnished with a hard-boiled egg, scallions, bean sprouts, garlic chives, and lime wedges.

Similar Dishes

In Thailand, a similar dish known as Mi Kathi is popular. It features stir-fried rice vermicelli noodles with a fragrant and thick sauce that shares a similar taste profile with Mee Siam.


Article curated by Suwaytha Gopal