Cellophane Noodle Soup with Chicken (Mien Ga)

Photo by Allison of Culinary Cupcake

Vietnamese cellophane noodles or mein are also called glass noodles for their translucent appearance. They are made of mung bean starch. Cellophane noodles are available in various widths with a wiry and stiff appearance. They are used in many stir fry dishes, soups, and salads.

During Tet, Vietnamese New Year, chicken or ga is a prized food and must be treated with respect. It symbolizes prosperity and abundance. Tet was important in our family because it was a day in which we prominently remembered and worshiped our ancestors. The blessings from our ancestors were important for our well-being, thus making connections with them during Tet would help out our whole outlook on life.

My grandmother liked making a version of this soup during Tet when I was young, but the chicken would be on the side and I had to dunk the chicken into the soup. At Tet I thought the soup, mein ga, was fascinating. I admired the clear noodles and played with them more often than I should have. I hope that this soup recipe brings you comfort and joy!

Cellophane Noodle Soup with Chicken (Mien Ga) Recipe

Yields 2 servings

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 17-20 minutes


2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons shallot, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade or 3 cups low sodium store bought chicken broth

1 cup of water

1 small skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 1/4 pound)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 dried wood-ear mushrooms soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, sliced or 6 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup of cabbage, shredded

2 ounces of cellophane noodles, prepared according to package instructions for soup

Garnishes: sliced scallions and chopped cilantro


Heat the oil in a pot at medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the chicken broth and water to the pot. Bring to a boil.

Place the chicken breast in the boiling liquid. Boil until done, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from liquid and set aside to rest.

Add the fish sauce and sugar into the liquid and dissolve.

Add the mushrooms and cabbage to the pot. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Shred the chicken.

Divide the cellophane noodles between two bowls. Place the chicken on top of the noodles.

Ladle broth and vegetables over the noodles and chicken. Garnish with scallions and cilantro.

Serve immediately.

If you want this soup to be vegetarian, substitute chicken broth for vegetable stock, use a vegetarian fish sauce, and replace chicken with carrots.


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