Our Take on Prawn Noodles (虾面)

Prawn and shrimp used to be my favourite seafood. I grew up from an average income family where prawn is not a common food that my mum will make every day. However, occasionally during the festive season, my mum will cook a prawn dish and I remember I was the one that ate the most. So, as someone who loves prawn, there is no doubt that prawn noodles is also one of my favourite local dishes.

However, as I got older and for some reasons, the prawn allergy caught on to me. Now every time I had prawn, my nose would turn runny and my throat would turn irritated. Albeit they are very minor symptoms, they are enough to interrupt my daily life some time. Especially when I consumed the same amount like I used to when I was young.

Even so, it is not all bad news~ Doctor did say I should avoid eating too much but a little bit is fine. So, I still enjoy prawn and shrimp but in a controlled amount.

With that said, if I can only choose one shrimp or prawn dish as a cheat meal, prawn noodles is hands down the definitive answer!

What is prawn noodles?

Enough of my boring prawn allergic story. Now, what is prawn noodles? Prawn noodles is a soup noodle dish where the soup broth is cooked from prawn heads, prawn shells, and pork ribs. It is sweet, savoury, and smells great. Some say, smells like prawns.


The traditional prawn noodles that I know were combining both yellow noodles and vermicelli noodles. They are some of the most common noodles you can get in Malaysia and it can taste very boring.

The broth is the star in this dish. It is made by slowly cooking (or not so slow with a pressure cooker) prawn heads, prawn shells, and pork ribs until the broth is light in colour and smells prawny. I mean the good prawn smell.

Combine the broth and the noodles and you get a nice bowl of prawn noodles. Sweet and savoury~


Truth is, prawn noodles are rather common and are easily available in Malaysia. Especially Penang. Still, we highly encourage you to make one yourself at home. It is easy to make but it will occupy a bit of your time. Mostly in making the broth. However, if you have a pressure cooker, you will save a lot of time.

So, here is our take on prawn noodles that we love to share with you. Give it a try~

Prawn noodles

A soup noodle dish where the soup broth is cooked from prawn heads, prawn shells, and pork ribs. Top with prawns, bean sprouts, and boiled egg.
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine Malaysian, Malaysian Chinese
Servings 2 bowls


  • Pressure cooker (for saving time)
  • Sauce pan
  • Pan


  • 400 g Prawn
  • 300 g Pork ribs
  • 2 tbsp Cooking oil
  • 4 Dry chili (soak a little bit)
  • 3 Shallots
  • 2 Garlic
  • Rock sugar (season to your liking)
  • Salt (season to your liking)

Noodles & topping

  • 100 g Yellow noodles
  • 100 g Vermicelli (soak until soft)
  • 50 g Bean sprout
  • 50 g Fish cake (sliced)
  • 1 Boiled egg (Half per bowl)
  • 1 Spring onion for topping (thinly sliced)



  • We first start by de-shelling the prawn. Keep the shell and head as we need them for making the both.
  • Use a food grinder, grind the dry chili, garlic, and shallot until it turn into paste.
  • Now, boil the pork ribs for about 10 minutes to remove the scum. Rinse the pork ribs.

Making the broth

  • Heat 2 tablespoon of cooking oil in a pan on medium heat. Fry the chili, garlic and shallot paste. Stir fry until fragrant. Then add the prawn shell and head in and fry until they are cooked and slight charred. Switch off the heat and set it aside.
  • Time to make the broth. Add the pork ribs and the fried prawn shell (heads also) and chili into the pressure cooker pot. Add enough water to cover it. Then cook it under pressure for about 1.5 - 2 hours. (you need about 3-4 hours without the pressure cooker)
  • After almost 2 hours of pressured cooking, the broth is mostly ready. It should smell prawny. Take the pork ribs out and set them aside for later use.
  • Boil the broth in a pot until it is reduced to only 2 bowls of soup. Then season it with rock sugar and salt to your liking. And the broth is ready!

Making prawn noodles

  • Here comes the simplest part, which is making the prawn noodles. We first start by cooking the prawn, noodles (yellow and vermicelli), fish cake, and bean sprout in boiling water. Also, boil the egg in a separate sauce pan.
  • Add the cooked noodles in a bowl and top it with prawn, fish cake, half boiled egg, bean sprout and pork ribs.
  • Pour the broth into it and your prawn noodles is ready~ Sprinkle some spring onion on top for decoration and enjoy~
Keyword hokkien prawn noodles, penang prawn noodles, prawn noodles

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