Burma: Shan Noodles

Shan noodles are an easy Burmese recipe where chicken or pork cooked in tomatoes, is served over a bed of rice noodles, sometimes served with broth. #burma #myanmar #196flavors


shan noodles - Shan khao swé

For our third Burmese recipe this month, I picked a very satisfying and easy recipe that pleased the entire family: Shan noodles or Shan khao swé.

Shan noodles are now a favorite in the Land of Golden Pagodas, although it is more common in the Mandalay region as well as the Shan state, where it originated. Shan is the easternmost state of Myanmar. It borders China, Thailand and Laos, which explains why variants of the Shan noodles recipe are popular in the Chinese Yunnan province as well as Chiang Mai in Thailand.

Shan noodles are an easy-to-make Burmese recipe where chicken or pork cooked in tomatoes, is served over a bed of rice noodles. It can be served with broth or without. When served with broth, it is often served on the side. Shan noodles are also typically served with pickled mustard greens (monnyinjin), and sometimes with fried chickpea tofu (tohu nway).

shan noodles - Shan khao swé

There are two types of rice noodles: san see which are sticky and flat and yay sein which are round, thin shaped and not sticky.

You can have Shan noodles either as a soup or as a salad, and in both cases the sauce is similar. Only the noodles are different. San see noodles are the ones used for the soup, whether the ones used for the salad are round rice noodles.

Shan noodles are often served for breakfast although they can be eaten throughout the day as well.

This is definitely not the first time we have used rice noodles on 196 flavors, and as we traveled through Asia, we have used rice noodles in soup recipes such as Vietnamese pho or Singaporean fish head beehoon soup, or drier recipes such as pad thai, Malaysian hokkien mee, or Vera’s last Burmese recipe ohn no kauk swe.

I made Shan noodles for a low-key dinner last week. It was ready in less than 30 minutes and the whole family loved it!

This recipe is validated by our Burmese culinary expert Soe Thein, author of award-winning Burmese cuisine food blog Lime and Cilantro.

shan noodles - Shan khao swé

Recipe of Shan Noodles (Shan Khao Swé)

Ingredients (for 4 people)

1 lb chicken (or pork), chopped
8 oz dried Shan noodles (rice noodles)
2 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
8 tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder (optional)
8 tablespoons peanuts, crushed
2 scallions, chopped (for garnishing)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil


Place the dried noodles in a large bowl of cold water.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Turn off the heat, and place the dried rice noodles.

Heat oil in a large wok. Fry the onions, garlic and ginger for 6 to 8 minutes.

Add chili powder and continue to stir fry for minute.

Add the chopped chicken (or pork), tomatoes, tomato paste, and stir well. Add soy sauce and sugar and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes until all tomatoes are crushed.

Put a handful of noodles into a bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of chicken curry, crushed peanuts and adjust with soy sauce to taste. Add a few spring onions. Serve immediately with pickled mustard greens (optional).