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Taiwanese Gnocchi 麵疙瘩 ugly noodles (mien ge-da)

Here’s a popular home-cooked traditional Taiwanese cuisine. Because of Taiwan’s history and the traditional farmers being short of rice to eat as the ruling white terror KMT commandeered it all they were lucky to enjoy quite a lot of free bags of wheat (bread) flour as some kind of relief. Not really being a bread eating nation the locals sought to make soup noodles with it and this is the result – “ugly noodles”. As you can see from the recipe they are simple of make but form an important part of home cooked Taiwanese people’s food since post-war times.

ugly noodles ready to eat with pork slices

ugly noodles ready to eat with cooked pork slices

Vegetarians can simply skip the bacon/pork ingredients to this dish – it will still be delicious!

ugly noodle ingredients

ugly noodle ingredients

The ingredients;

  • ugly noodles:
    1 bowl flour,
    half bowl water
  • soup:
    carrot,
    bacon pieces,
    Chinese cabbage,
    spring onion,
    chilli,
    dried shrimp,
    Chinese chives
  • to serve:
    with cooked pork slices on top

Joanne has recorded a video showing you how to make these ugly noodles (or ugly dumplings) Please take a look below, it’s pretty easy.

Taiwanese Gnocchi 麵疙瘩 ugly noodles (mien ge-da) cooking video

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6 comments

  1. Joanne 非常开心看你做的菜.

  2. Hi Joanne,

    being back after the long summer break (during which I spent about two weeks in Korea on a concert tour)it is good to see that you shared new recipes meanwhile. Thanks a lot !!

    These “ugly noodles” look like what we call in German hand made “Spatzen” or “Spätzle” [=Spaetzle, in case the Umlaut letters don’t work on your website]. Though, people over here might add an egg yolk and a little bit salt to the flour-water mix, and maybe even a little bit of nutmeg powder.
    Anyway. I am looking forward to trying out your recipe the coming weekend. It looks very delicious (!!) and we are approaching the colder time in the year that means soup time.

    Since we are starting the pumpkin season, many people over here make pumpkin soup. Do Taiwanese people know and cook pumpkin soup as well?? If that were the case, it would be very nice to have a Taiwanese version of a pumpkin soup recipe.

    All the very best,

    Steffen (from Germany)

    • In Taiwan the best pumpkin dish is pumpkin stir fried with rice noodle. That is a gold star recipe! I think I will cook that shortly. I have two more new recipes on youtube, http://www.youtube.com/user/TaiwanCooking maybe you will like them? I update that more than the website. jj

      • Hi Joanne,

        absolutely first class !!!! I just had made your “mien ge-da” soup and I must say: fabulous!!! This will rank among my favourite Asian soups, at least as high as your “sesame wine chicken soup”, if not even higher than that, though I like that one a lot, too, especially in the winter.
        Instead of just adding boiled water as indicated in your recipe I chose to use the pork stock I had left over when cooking the pork at the side for these pork slices to serve on top.

        One should suggest you for the next investiture for such tasty recipes – thanks very much for sharing, once again!!!
        All the very best – looking forward to your Taiwanese pumpkin recipe 😉

        Steffen (from Germany)

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