Malaysian Food · January 20, 2022

bihun sup utara feature

Bihun Sup Utara: The Flavourful Noodle Dish from Northern States

Bihun Sup Utara: The Flavourful Noodle Dish from Northern States

Bihun Sup Utara is a specialty Malay dish that is often associated with the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia. Its name means ‘northern rice vermicelli soup’ in Bahasa Malaysia.

Bihun Sup Utara has the influences from Malay, Chinese and Thai cultures. The main star of the dish is the soup, which is cooked using meaty beef bones (sometimes with beef tripes) with many local herbs and spices, all chosen to promote good health and energy. The herbs and spices used are usually ginger, lemongrass, black pepper, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamoms, onions, Chinese celery and garlic. After cooking the soup for hours, it might still look light in colour, but it is guaranteed to be very flavourful. The tender meat from the soup is usually served together too.

Another noticeable ingredient about this dish is its rice vermicelli. Rice vermicelli is usually white and tasteless, but for Bihun Sup Utara, the rice vermicelli is soaked in turmeric water beforehand. The rice vermicelli not only turns vibrantly yellow, but also has the distinct fragrance and taste of turmeric.

For it to be an authentic Bihun Sup Utara, it needs to garnished with spring onions, fried shallots, pickled salted radish, and more Chinese celery. Last but not least, it needs to be completed by some spicy sambal for extra kick. Some people also add fried tofu, coriander leaves, cut chillies and lime to give the dish more layers.

Bihun Sup Utara can be easily found in the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia like Kedah, Penang and Perlis. However, this dish is getting more well-known and more common, so it is now possible to find this dish in other states, even as far as Borneo.