Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Tastes Like Home: Ba Mee Moo Dang

ba mee = Egg noodles
moo dang = Red pork

This is a simple dish that reminds me of my childhood.  We'd go to Thai restaurants in any number of places and order it--thin egg noodles with blanched greens, fried garlic, and thinly sliced roast pork; usually topped with chopped peanuts.  Sometimes with bean sprouts or (blech) sugar on top.  
Sometimes it's listed as a noodle soup, so I always specified that I wanted mine served hang, just in case.  (hang is Thai for dry--as in, without broth.)

I can't even tell you how offended I was when it was served to me as a variation on my beloved dish--with noodles that were too wide or with ground pork instead of roasted pork.

I also used to laugh at my mother--who hated fishballs.  (Yes, those are exactly what you think they are.)  Then she'd cuss at my dad and always over-pronounced the "ing" at the end of the words.  "G*D damn it, Boone... you didn't tell them no fishballs.  You know how much I hate the f#*%ING fishballs."

Hey, I never said I grew up in Mayberry.  And anyway, this is my blog and it's funny to me.  (Well, and to the people who knew my mom--but they probably don't read my blog anyway.)

I also can't tell you how sad I was for YEARS when the Thai restaurants in my area, for some inexplicable reason, stopped serving my favorite dish.  We used to be able to find it anywhere we went, then all of a sudden it was gone.

A few years ago, I finally found a recipe online and it was glorious--glorious!--to have my favorite dish back in my rotation.  

The recipe wasn't perfect--I still can't quite seem to get the moo dang quite right.  But everything else is just as I remember.

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a binge and ate this every.single.day.  And it was amazing.

The funny thing is, now one of my local Thai restaurants has suddenly started carrying it again.  


Unfortunately, this version comes with the f*&%ING fishballs.  And tofu as well, which I've never seen before.  And I've already mentioned what I think of variations on this dish.  

Ah well.  Except for the roast pork, I think mine tastes better anyway.  And once the pork has roasted, the rest only takes about 10 minutes to cook and assemble.  

BA MEE MOO DANG (Egg noodles with roasted red pork)

For the roast pork (moo dang):

1-2 lb pork tenderloin
1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice (or more, if you like it.  It's pretty strong though.)
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar

Place all ingredients in a one-gallon plastic bag.  Mix well and seal the bag, squeezing as much of the air out of the bag as possible and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake the tenderloins until the center reaches approximately 155 degrees.  I use my handy dandy probe thermometer for this.  (This is the one I have, but as you can see it appears that it is no longer available.)

Remove the tenderloins from the oven, wrap in foil, and wait until the temperature of the meat has risen to 160 degrees.


Once the meat has risen to temperature AND has rested for at least 10 minutes, slice thinly.

PS: There's no food coloring in here.  The soy sauce turns the pork red.

For the rest of the dish:


Peanut oil (bad for you, but delicious--and has a high smoke point.)
Garlic (lots of it!  2-3 cloves, minced.)
Fish sauce (don't be scared.  If you've ever had Thai food, trust me--you've had Fish sauce.)
Bok Choy (or any kind of asian greens--chinese broccoli, mustard greens, etc.)
Thin wonton noodles
Chopped peanuts (not shown)

Put a saucepan of water on the stove to boil.

In the mean time, heat up some peanut oil in a small saute pan; fry the garlic until it is golden brown but not burned.  Be careful--it can happen quickly!

Once the water has boiled, add your greens and blanch (cook for 1 min), then fish it out with a spider (strainer, not insect) and divide it up among your serving dishes.  (Note--don't dump out the water, you'll need it in a minute.  Put it back on the stove and bring it back to a rolling boil.)

Prepare the rest of your ingredients--chop some peanuts, chop some cilantro, prepare your garlic/oil, and combine 1 tbsp sugar with 2-3 tbsp white vinegar and 1 tbsp fish sauce.

Take out a ball of fresh egg noodles and loosen/separate the strands as you drop them into the boiling water.  Cook for 1 minute--and be careful not to over cook them!  (Mushy noodles = bad ju-ju)

Add the egg noodles into the bowl with the blanched greens.

Add the garlic/oil and toss with the noodles immediately to prevent them from sticking together.  Then add the fish sauce/sugar/vinegar mixture and top with cilantro, chopped peanuts, and sliced roast pork (moo dang.)

Enjoy a stroll down memory lane and laugh about the fact that your ba mee moo dang doesn't have any f&$%ING fishballs--just the way mom would have liked.

Recipe inspirations: Ba Mee Moo Dang


  1. We love bame moo dang hang too it is on our menu too! If you're ever in Reno stop by at Moo Dang Thai

  2. Very Nice post, I always enjoy a good blog read
    The recipe calls for superfine sugar... Would that be the same as icing sugar or something altogether different? Thanks - can't wait to try these!!

  3. Moo Dang Hang is the way to go, had it growing up best easy meal ever, I buy my meat from the Chinese BBQ restaurant instead 5 mins prep 1 Min eat haha

  4. Moo Dang Hang is the way to go, had it growing up best easy meal ever, I buy my meat from the Chinese BBQ restaurant instead 5 mins prep 1 Min eat haha

  5. Moo Dang Hang is the way to go, had it growing up best easy meal ever, I buy my meat from the Chinese BBQ restaurant instead 5 mins prep 1 Min eat haha

  6. This is one of those dish where you don't feel like you're missing out on anything because there are so many fab textures and flavours! :D
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. Phillip Snowden

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