A comforting noodle soup considered one of the national dishes of Burma. The hot and sour fish based broth is poured over noodles in generous bowls. The recipe includes intense aromatic ingredients such as lemongrass, chilli and shrimp paste. Often served at breakfast but also sold throughout the day by restaurants, tea houses and street vendors.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (177 votes)


  • ½ cup peanut oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely sliced
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3 tbsp cooked, crushed chickpeas
  • 85 g toasted rice powder
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 red Asian shallots, peeled
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, sliced
  • 100 g boiled banana trunk (alternatively, use banana blossom)
  • 600 g cooked vermicelli noodles
  • 4 sprigs of coriander, to garnish
  • 4 snake beans, finely sliced
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes


  • 1 whole catfish, cleaned
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
  • 2 gloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 litres cold water

Chilli paste

  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely sliced
  • 4 whole dried chillies
  • 4 red Asian shallots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 cm ginger, finely sliced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the broth, add the catfish, lemongrass, garlic, turmeric and water to a large saucepan or stockpot. Bring to the boil over high heat and skim any impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the broth then remove the fish meat from the bones. Set aside and reserve the broth.

Meanwhile, to make the paste, in a mortar and pestle, pound the lemongrass, chillies, red shallots, garlic and ginger to a nice paste. Set aside.

Heat the peanut oil in a saucepan over low-medium heat and add the turmeric. Next, add the chilli paste. Add the red onion, lemongrass, ginger and garlic. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Add the flaked fish and coat in the paste. Sauté over low-medium heat for 20 minutes. Add the shrimp paste and paprika. Continue to cook, over low heat, for a further 5 minutes to infuse flavours.

Return the broth to the stockpot, place over medium heat. Add the crushed chickpeas, rice powder, fish sauce and flaked fish mixture. Season with salt and black pepper. Reduce heat simmer for 30 minutes. Add the red shallots and boiled egg. Add the banana trunk.

Divide the vermicelli noodles among 4 bowls. Pour the broth over the noodles. Garnish with coriander, snake beans and chilli flakes to serve.

Please note: This recipe varies slightly from that seen in the show.