Sliced Fish Noodles

When the Jman IM-ed me on Monday, proudly announcing his loot of fish bones and cheap blue eye off-cuts from Richmond, I was ecstatic. Flashes of my favourite white, milky XO fish noodle soup filled my imagination…ooh, how perfect would fish noodle soup be in this bitingly cold weather!

I immediately dished out strict instructions for the Jman to follow: boil up the bones with crushed ginger. Take out the trevally fillets from the freezer. Season with soy, sesame oil, and pepper. Then off I went to the Asian grocers to pick up a packet of dried rice noodle sticks (the thicker version of the rice vermicelli – note: this is not the same as “hor fun” or flat rice noodles). I also purchased a tin of Carnation evaporated milk (it has to be the Carnation brand and none other) for the soup. Sounds weird? Wait till you try it!

When I got home from work, I put the soup to the boil again. I then added a dash of soy, oyster sauce, and salt (you don’t want the soup to be too brown, so use the soy and oyster sauces sparingly and season with salt instead). Add the Carnation milk until the soup is a thick, milky white colour.

I cooked up some Chinese mustard greens (“chye sim”), trevally slices, and noodles.

Dished out everything into a bowl, brought the soup to a rolling boil again, and just before serving, I added a couple of tablespoons of XO/Cognac/Brandy (however you may call it). Garnish with spring onion slices. Voila!

[Photos to follow, but if you can’t wait, you could get a pretty good one here.]



  • 1kg fish bones, preferrably white, non-oily fish (like snapper or snakehead)
  • 200g ginger, mercilessly bruised, or sliced
  • Water – enough to cover the bones
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, salt to taste
  • Ground white pepper, to taste (I like mine extra peppery)
  • Carnation evaporated milk (the 185ml tin will be sufficient but you won’t end up using all)


  • Fish slices, preferrably white, non-oily fish (like snakehead, trevally, garoupa or snapper)
  • Marinade for fish: salt to taste, white pepper, a dash of sesame oil
  • Thick, rice vermicelli (you can purchase them fresh or dried)
  • Chinese mustard greens (also known as “chye sim”, “choy sum”, or “cai xin”)
  • Ginger slices for garnishing
  • Spring onions, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 2-3 tablespoons of XO/Cognac


  1. Put the fish bones, water, and ginger into a stock pot and bring to a boil, then simmer over the stove for about 1 hour.
  2. When the fish stock is done, season with soy, oyster sauce, salt and white pepper
  3. Pour in the Carnation milk until the soup is opaque and white.
  4. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
  5. Strain the soup to ensure that all the bones are removed.
  6. Cook the fish slices in the stock on low heat until it is almost cooked. The residual heat from the soup will continue cooking the fish slices so it doesn’t matter if the fish is slightly undercooked. Blanch the vegetables very briefly.
  7. Bring the soup to a boil again, adding in the spring onions and ginger slices.
  8. Just before serving, add the XO into the soup and turn off the heat.
  9. Pour the soup over the noodles, fish slices and vegetables and serve immediately.
  10. Bon appétit!

One Response to “Sliced Fish Noodles”

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