Fish Head/Fillet Rice Vermicelli Soup (鱼头/片米粉汤)



This is long awaiting post. Hiding in my list of recipes to be issued for more than 2.5 months. I told myself that I shall not hold on this recipe anymore.


Fish soup bee hoon is very common hawker dishes in Singapore and it was so popular that Wikipedia had a write up on this famous dish. Per Wikipedia:


“Fish soup bee hoon, also known as fish head bee hoon, is a Singaporean soup-based seafood dish, served hot usually with bee hoon. The dish is viewed as a healthy food in Singapore. Catherine Ling of CNN listed fish soup bee hoon as one of the “40 Singapore foods we can’t live without”. Fish soup bee hoon has been available since at least the 1920s; one source credits Swee Kee Fish Head Noodle House with creating the “definitive version” of the dish in the 1970s.

Snakeheads are most commonly used for fish soup bee hoon.Other stalls may offer pomfret, batang.or garoupa. While fish heads or the whole fish may be used, some diners prefer having just fish slices. The fish soup is made out of either fish stock or actual bones, water, oil, yam, and milk,] with vegetables and select fruits.

The noodle in the soup is often bee hoon, although a healthier alternative except for irritable bowel syndrome sufferers would be spaghetti made from brown rice. Another noodle variant would be fried noodles. Additional ingredients include eggs, anchovies, pepper, salt, and alcoholic products such as brandy, Chinese wine, or cognac, chilli slices, fried shallots, and fish roe. For the vegetarian version of the dish, fish meat is substituted with tofu.” (Source :


Since Wikipedia already provide such a detail account on this popular Singaporean cuisine, I shall not dealt into details.


I have prepared this noodle dish from scratch. I went to the wet market to buy a red snapper of about 1.5 kg and ask the seller to help me to debone, cut into fillet size suitable for preparing the noodles soup, and return me with the head, tails and the bones. For readers who are short of time, you can always prepared the dish starting from the point of the recipe that you feel comfortable with.


Again, since it is a savoury dish, quantities are for your reference and feel free to change the suggested amount of seasonings to suit your taste buds.




Servings: Prepared 4-6 adult servings


  • One fish of 1-2 kg (Slice the fish flesh in thick pieces and set aside fish head, bones and tails)
  • 5 stalks of spring onion – White portion
  • Few stalks of choy sum (Chinese flowering cabbage)
  • 5 cm of ginger, sliced into thin pieces)
  • 1/4 cup of evaporated milk


  • 250 grams of rice vermicelli – blanched and set aside.
  • 3-4 leaves of salted vegetable (sliced into thick pieces)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes (cut into 4 quarters each fruit)
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of anchovies
  • 1 cube of chicken stock
  • 1 – 1.5 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup of Chinese cooking wine
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of XO alcohol (optional)

Fish meat marinating (depends on the quantity of fish meat that you have)

  • Some sesame oil
  • Pinches of salt
  • Some corn flour (adequate to coat the meat) – 10% of which can be replaced by rice flour to preserve crispiness
  • Dashes of white pepper





  • Marinate the fish meat with white pepper, sesame oil, corn flour and salt for about 1 hour. (if you want the deep fried fish meat to stay crispier in a longer time, add a small proportion (1:10) of rice flour to the marinate) In a hot pot with adequate cooking oil, deep fried the fish meat until golden brown. Drain and set aside.


  • Use the same oil to deep fried the  fish head, bones and tails for 2-3 minutes or until the exterior is cooked. This step is optional and the main purpose of this step is to remove some fishiness of the fish and to preserve the exterior texture of the fish. You can deep fried these either with flour or without flour. Dish up and set aside.

  • In another stock pot, put 1-2 tablespoons of oil and the sesame oil above, Sauté the ginger slices until fragrant, add the anchovies, the white part of spring onion, add water gradually just adequate to cover fried fish head and bones earlier. You can always adjust the water later.


  • Put in the fish head, fish bones and tails. (Note that at this stage, you can add in the salted vegetables if you want to. However, it will be very difficult to serve the  vegetable as it will mix with the fish bones. Therefore, I have advised to add it at a later stage though adding the salted vegetables at this stages will yield a tastier soup). Bring to boil and let it simmer at medium heat for at least 30-45 minutes. Add water gradually if you find that the water level is low.  In this process, you will witness the fish stock will become milkier (ideally, the stock should be boiled long enough until it is milky and no evaporated milk need to be added. It is attainable but may take at least an hour more). Once done, sift the stock from the first pot to another pot. Throw away the fish head and fish bones.


  • In the new pot, add the chicken stock, Chinese cooking wine, salted vegetable, diced tomatoes and followed by the evaporated milk. Bring to boil and add seasonings of your choice (fish sauce, dashes of white pepper). Once boiled, off the heat, add the XO (if any) and set aside for assembly. Meanwhile, have a pot of water, blanched the choy sum with some drops of oil and followed by the bee hoon. Drained and set aside.

  • For assembly, have a bowl, put some bee hoon in the serving bowl and followed by some gravy adequate to cover the bee hoon,  put some blanched choy cum, tomatoes and fish meat on top of the rice vermicelli. Garnished with deep fried shallots, dashes of white pepper and chopped coriander or Chinese celery if preferred.  Best served with red cut chilli and some light soya sauce and usually served as a standalone noodle dish. If you do not like rice vermicelli, it can be served as a soup dish that goes well with white rice.




In the current society when time is a constraint,  I am unsure how many readers will go to extent to prepare this noodle dish from scratch. It is slightly laborious but once you take your first bite, you will not regret of the hard work putting in. Based on this pictorial illustration, readers can always choose to start the preparation from the steps that you care comfortable with.


This recipe was included in Page 30-32 of the “One Pot Noodle E-book”. For more One Pot Noodle Dishes, you can have a copy of Easy One Pot Noodles  – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD5.00. The recipes covered various recipes from curry laksa, prawn noodles to fish head beehoon and etc. Of course not forgetting the well like Economy Bee hoon and Mee Rebus . You can purchase by clicking the link above.You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at and separate arrangement can be made.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  


6 thoughts on “Fish Head/Fillet Rice Vermicelli Soup (鱼头/片米粉汤)

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