Mandalay Hill noodles


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

A novel in hand and a bag of market-bought noodles to fuel my adventure, chunter down the Kaladan River from Mrauk U toward Sittwee. It’s the African Queen revisited, and a slurryous gurgle comes from her loins. Full-on stuff. As are the glorious noodles. Use sliced fish cake, chicken, pork or prawns in here, if you prefer to be more affluent about it. A little bowl of spring-onion-flavoured chicken broth on the side would be ideal. Balachong is a must..


  • groundnut or peanut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250 g tofu
  • salt
  • 4-5 tbsp chickpea (gram) flour or plain flour, toasted in a dry hot pan until lightly browned
  • 300 g rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to the packet’s instructions
  • medium bunch of fresh coriander, stems and leaves chopped
  • 1 tbsp tamarind water or lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Balachong


Heat 2 tbsp of the oil and slow-fry the garlic until it starts to turn gold. Remove from the heat and leave the oil to infuse and get really garlicky. Slice the tofu into thick strips. If your tofu has come floating in whey, it will have to be drained on plenty of kitchen roll for an hour or so. Dust the strips with salt and roll in 3 tbsp of the toasted flour, then gently fry in the groundnut or peanut oil until golden (I slip them into a pool of oil in a wok). Scissor the tofu into thinner strips once cool. Toss the noodles with the garlic oil, tofu strips, 1-2 tbsp of the toasted chickpea flour, coriander, tamarind and Balachong until well slicked in everything, and serve. Great picnic food: poly-bag up portions, with disposable chopsticks.