Preparing a Glass Noodle Soup

Glass Noodle Soup is an inspiring Vietnamese  soup making full use of a special type of noodle. These are cellophane noodles known as mien in the north and bun tao in the south of the country. They are made from mung bean starch which are reconstituted from the dry. In this example we are making a chicken glass noodle soup called mien ga

Traditionally, the soup is often served during the Lunar New Year celebration. FoodWrite Ltd is a member of the UK- Vietnamese trade delegation and they suggested a short article about this particular soup.

A good noodle soup relies on a stock and ahould also have pieces of chicken added to it. This one uses chicken stock. The soup is also using wood ear fungus which is often found in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking. It is very much like a straw mushroom having little flavour but adding an interesting soft texture to the soup.

If you have not used wood ear fungus before just make sure it is washed before hand. Most dried mushrooms and fungus need to be thoroughly soaked beforehand. Discard any fungus that stubbornly refuse to soften and those that have hard patches in the middle of the fully grown or mature fungus.

Serves 4; preparation time: 10 minutes; cooking time; 20 minutes.


  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil – rapeseed, sunflower, avocado will do
  • 1½ litres /6 cups chicken stock or use a couple of chicken stock cubes dissolved in a similar amount of hot water.
  • Handful dried wood ear fungus. Make sure these are soaked in water to soften up.
  • 4 – 5 shiitake mushrooms, can use dried but fresh is best – add more if wood ear fungus is not available.
  • 140g/5 oz. chicken breast – sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 packet (6oz) glass noodles 
  • 3 -4 medium shallots, peeled and chopped finely
  • 4 scallion or spring onions – the green part is thinly sliced and the white part is just chopped. Reserve some shredded parts for the garnish.
  • Vietnamese coriander, chopped (optional – it’s not always available)
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled (optional – not always needed)
  • coriander/cilantro – handfuls, chopped


  1. Soak any dried mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes to fully rehydrate. Try to keep the mushrooms whole.
  2. Boil the chicken stock with any mushrooms on a high heat in a stock pot for about 30 seconds. 
  3. Add any chicken pieces and simmer for up to 10 minutes. Add any seasoning and fish sauce. Remove any scum that might form with a kitchen towel or ladle.
  4. Add the shallots (whole), ginger, scallions to the pot. 
  5. Add the glass noodles and simmer for up to 2 minutes. 
  6. Allow the soup to cool by taking off the heat.
  7. Remove the meat from the chicken but keep the bones.
  8. Serve in bowls with a garnish of cilantro/coriander leaves and some shredded spring onion if desired.
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