I Wanted to Recreate Mee Noodle Shop Curry Soup

By on Sunday, June 16th, 2024 at 11:08 pm

Curry chicken soup

Curry soup topped with shallot and cilantro

When most people think of chicken soup, they are probably picturing chicken noodle soup made with a clear broth, carrots, celery, and onion alongside chunks of chicken. But chicken soup as a category is much more versatile, like for instance, Matzah Ball soup which is more or less a version of chicken soup with Matzah balls.

Even though summer had started, I was in the mood for chicken soup, i.e. I wanted a one-pot meal that could cook by itself. But then as I thought about it throughout the day, what I really wanted was this rich, creamy curry chicken soup from Mee Noodle Shop.

The shop had been at 9th Avenue in the west 50s of Manhattan. I would have takeout from there several times a month when I worked in an office building near Columbus Circle. Whether it was the pandemic restaurant closures or the exodus of midtown office workers, the shop no longer appears to be open. The website is still online, so maybe it will come back.

It’s been at least five years since I ate there, but I can still remember the creamy, spicy soup base. My favorite of the dishes was probably Wonton and Noodle in Curry Soup, but I also would order Roast Chicken and Noodle in Curry Soup. As takeout, these were served as a liter takeout container with greens and noodles on the side.

Apparently I’m not the only one longing for it, but so far nobody seems to know the secret. Spoiler alert: I also don’t know how to make the Mee Noodle Shop curry broth, and I didn’t figure it out this time. But it was what I set out to make, and even though I failed, it was still a good soup, albeit a bit ginger forward.

My best laid plans for a one-pot meal went out the window as soon as I realized what I was really craving was a curry noodle soup I hadn’t eaten in five years. In addition to the soup, my wife requested some additional vegetable sides. Ultimately I ended addingroasted eggplant dish and a cucumber salad.

Ingredients for curry paste include ginger, garlic, lemon grass, shallot, chilis, red bell pepper, cumin, turmeric, coriander

The ingredients for making curry paste

I consulted a few recipes as a point of reference. The first thing I needed was curry paste. The recipes I looked at called for red curry paste, which made sense given the final color of the Mee Noodle Shop soup was a rust orange.

There are jarred versions of curry paste, and I almost considered getting one to simplify the whole process. I was, after all, going for a one-pot meal. I made my own, which complicated things a bit and added some extra bowls for cleaning. We were going down this road from the beginning anyway.

The important flavors here are garlic, ginger, and lemongrass, along with assorted spices like cumin, turmeric and coriander. For people with a lot more experience in curry paste making, they probably have crafted their unique blends. I was loosely following a few different recipes, using a teaspoon of each spice spice, and eyeballing the other ingredients. I used about half the ginger in this picture – and that probably was more than I wanted. The soup was ginger forward, which wasn’t bad, but not what I was trying to recreate.

All this was blended in a food processor with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I was late with adding the whole peppercorns and they didn’t blitz quite as much as they should have. I also saw some recipes calling for fish sauce added to this paste. I had some and intended to include a dash, but then didn’t want to bother pulling it from the refrigerator.

Once I made the paste, I took a moment to start roasting the Japanese eggplants. I sliced them in half, soaked them in water for a few minutes, and then topped with salt and olive oil. I roasted them for about forty minutes. I pulled them out of the oven when they were tender and skin soft, but with enough rigidity to hold up to a fork. Once it was in the oven, the roasting more or less took care of itself. I wanted to make a sauce to finish it off, but I could do that while the soup was simmering.

Back to the soup. I started cooking down diced onion and more fresh ginger – again, it was ginger forward by accident, but I do think it’s important to have some diced up as part of the base. I would use less next time in the paste. Once the onions turned clear, I added the paste and simmered it for a bit to reduce the excess water. The red pepper had brought a lot of water to the party.

Roasted eggplant with Greek yogurt and spicy chili crisp

A knock-off version of Win Son’s roasted eggplant


Once the soup was on autopilot for a while, I could focus on the other side dishes. For the eggplant, I was thinking of vaguely replicating a dish fromWin Son, a Taiwanese restaurant around the corner from our apartment. We haven’t been there in a while, mostly because we’re parents. The eggplant dish is a popular favorite made with labneh, Chinese five-spice, and cashews.

The restaurant published a cookbook last year, and although I don’t have a copy yet, the eggplant was popular enough I assumed there would be at least one recipe online, and I easily just found two. We’ve ordered the restaurant’s eggplant literally every time we’ve eaten there – its a destination dish. Still, the recipe seems to have a evolved slightly since Win Son first opened, but some variation of either of these is what I had in mind.

I didn’t bother looking up the actual recipe. I have thought about deconstructing the dish enough times I was willing to simply make up an interpretation on the fly. Also, I knew I had a large tub of plain Greek yogurt I needed to use up. I also had about a quart of a jar of Laoganma Spicy Chili Crisp. I combined the two and added some scallion greens. When the eggplant came out of the oven I tossed it all together and topped with cilantro. The dish turned out to be a pretty good replica given how badly I adulterated it, and how I simplified it. Later my wife reminded me we also had Labneh in the refrigerator too that probably also needed to be used up which would have been more true to the recipe from the restaurant. The only thing my version was really missing was the sweetness of the vinegar.

Back to the soup. I decided to poach the chicken in water. I was looking to have a texture that was like a pulled. I had done this before. I believe I had been following a recipe that came with an Omsom sauce, and I liked the results. I am not in the habit of poaching chicken. I included some fresh ginger into the water while it poached. This actually seasoned the chicken perfectly, and although the soup was too ginger forward, the chicken was not. This would have made great chicken for a Bahn mi sandwich or even just sliced poached chicken over rice. I would definitely poach chicken with fresh ginger again.

With the chicken cooking, I added broth to the soup. I definitely added too much so I had to let it boil off some liquid before adding anything else.

I then added large carrot medallions. I don’t like my carrots overly soft when it comes to chicken soup. I like to reserve them until the soup has mostly come together to prevent them cooking too long. Carrots also add a little sweetness to balance the spice. The Mee Noodle Shop curry large medallions of carrot too, and this addition was one of the primary ways I hoped to capture the flavor. What I did fail out was the heat level. Overall the soup should have been spicier. I should have added more Thai chilis to the curry paste, and probably to the soup.

The final broth component was coconut milk. I only use whole fat coconut milk, and it delivers a delicious creamy texture. While the soup boiled down a bit more, I shredded the chicken. I also had some leftover uncooked spinach and I added this to the soup for some added greens. Spinach is a great addition to soups because it withers away to almost nothing but adds stunning green color, especially noticeable against the orange-yellow of the broth.

Cucumber salad with hot peppers

A basic sweet and spicy cucumber salad inspired by Vanessa’s Dumplings

While the soup cooked away I made one last dish, a cucumber salad. I’ve been making versions of this for years, inspired by the not-that-inspiring cucumber salad from Vanessa’s Dumplings. The first variation I ever made uses Hug Fong Foods Chili Garlic Sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, a bit of white sugar, and diced cucumbers. That is a simplified version, and I do love it still. But I didn’t have any chili garlic sauce – what I did have was extra Thai chilis. I cut the cucumbers in half and scrape out the seeds. Then I chopped up the chilis and tossed them in. Soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a generous amount of sugar completed the dish. All in it was a refreshing counterbalance to the heavy curry soup.

I didn’t succeed in replicating the Mee Noodle Soup chicken curry soup, but in the end it ultimately was good enough I ate it again for lunch the next day. Next time I would add less ginger, and I would probably adjust the cumin and coriander, adding a bit more to the paste. I would definitely add more garlic. Overall, for a refreshing ginger-forward curry, it was a big success.

a bowl of curry chicken soup with spinach

The chicken curry soup with spinach, missing the cilantro and raw shallot

Curry Paste


1 shallot
1 red bell pepper
½ stalk of lemon grass
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coriander (generous)
1 teaspoon cumin (generous)
1 tablespoon of turmeric
Olive oil
Black pepper


Combine the ingredients in a food processor
Pulse until paste
Add oil if too dry.

Chicken Curry Soup


Curry paste (above)
2 Chicken breasts
Some ginger
32 ounces of chicken stock
1 fat carrot
1 can of coconut milk


Poach the chicken with fresh ginger
Shred the chicken and reserve for soup
Saute diced onion in oil
Add in curry paste and simmer
Add stock and bring to boil
Throw in carrots
Add coconut milk
Reduce the soup
Add in spinach and wilt
Add shredded chicken before serving
Top with shallot slices and cilantro to serve

Roasted Eggplant


2 Japanese eggplants
¾ of a cup of Whole Milk Greek Yogurt
Spicy Chili Crisp
Scallion greens
Olive Oil


Slice the eggplants
Soak for a few minutes and rinse
Lay on roasting pan
Top with salt
Generously grease with olive oil
Roast until tender at 425F
Slice into chunks

Combine the Yogurt with Chili Crisp to taste
(Yogurt should be orange in color)
Toss with sliced scallion greens
Combine eggplant and yogurt
Top with cilantro

Cucumber Salad


2 mini cucumbers
2 or 3 Thai Chilis
Soy sauce
Rice wine vinegar


Slice cucumbers in half
Use a spoon to remove the seeds
Cut the cucumbers in little crescents as thick as a pinky
Slice rings of pepper
Toss together with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar


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