17 May2010


When one is feeling under the weather, out of sorts, or sick, we commonly turn to a bowl of lugaw or pospas to nourish and comfort the “patient”. As a kid, if I were home sick with a high fever or other ailment, it was almost certain that I would have to eat lugaw for several meals in a row until I felt better. I suspect what actually made me feel better was the dessert of chocolate kisses, my favorite goody back then (a rare treat in the 1970’s). So while chicken mami is almost certainly our obvious equivalent to a western restorative chicken noodle soup, I think of chicken mami as either morning or afternoon merienda fare. So while taking a lunch break in Greenhills last week, and checking out the offerings at a small tucked away turo-turo near Vira Mall, I had a hankering for chicken mami and ordered a bowl. It arrived, and I had one sip of the broth and taken aback by how tasteless it was. It was as if the noodles (not egg noodles) were simply covered with hot water. I had to add soy sauce and pepper to make it even barely edible!


Once lunch was over, I headed to the Chinese grocery next door, bought some frozen wide noodles (with no egg), passed by another grocery and purchased some fresh egg noodles and headed home intending to make my own chicken mami from scratch the following day. I started off by making a chicken broth, boiling an entire chicken with onions, carrots, leeks, peppercorns, for roughly 30-40 minutes. The chicken was removed and shredded. The broth was concentrated down a bit more. Next, I added a touch of patis (fish sauce) to the broth and some cracked black pepper, followed by sliced napa cabbage. Into a large glass bowl, I added the blanched white noodles, some shredded chicken, broth an chopped green onions. This was FAR BETTER than the bowl of mami I had the day before. Add a little soy sauce for color, flavor and added saltiness. Add more pepper to taste. The four noodles were substantial and filling, and overall this was the blander bowl of two versions of mami I cooked that day…


For the second bowl of chicken mami, I blanched the fresh egg noodles and portioned them out to bowls. Next, I added some julienned carrot to the broth for a few minutes to add some sweetness. Ladled broth onto the noodles, topped with shredded chicken, some sliver and cooked pig’s liver, and some crushed chicharon and chopped green onions. This was a winner. It had flavor bursts, textural contrasts, the satisfying noodles and a more flavorful broth. A keeper.


I realize some folks may PREFER a very bland mami, and perhaps it was meant to be that way. But this souped up version of mami with the addition of chicharon and atay was delicious. I still added a touch of soy sauce as I find it makes the soup much better. I also served this together with some pickled green chilies that seemed to work well with the soup as well. The next time you find yourself wondering what to cook on a cool rainy day, remember to try this homemade mami… so easy and so incredibly satisfying, even if you aren’t sick at all! :)



  1. junb says:

    A comfort food for those in the 40s and above. This is not true anymore for the new generation where Mami was replaced by instant noodle :(

    May 17, 2010 | 4:11 pm


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  3. junb says:

    May 17, 2010 | 4:30 pm

  4. frenchadobo says:

    your second version of mami reminds me of lapaz batchoy ! comfort food indeed especially during cold winter nights!

    May 17, 2010 | 4:57 pm

  5. junb says:

    Trivia on Mami – Look like it means My Recipe or Ma Mon luk Recipe.

    From Wiki ( I hope its correct )- A popular theory of the origin of the word “mami” is that “Ma” came from his name and “Mi” came from the Chinese word for “recipe”; thus “mami” stands for

    May 17, 2010 | 4:57 pm

  6. gil says:

    junb, did you have to mention *age* in relation to mami as comfort food? :)

    mm, this brings back a lot of good memories … (starts singing, ‘those were the days, my friend, we thought would never end…). i remember visiting my dad’s office in sta. cruz and being treated to chicken mami at some panciteria or other around the avenida area …

    your second bowl of mami somehow sounds like (or ‘tastes like’) a ‘fowl’ version of la paz bachoy because of the addition of pig’s liver and chicharon. :sigh: i keep looking at this and contemplating that what I have to look forward to tonight will be (as junb said) a bowl of instant noodles. :(

    May 17, 2010 | 4:59 pm

  7. Luanne Shackelford says:

    The broth from the little shop probably never saw a chicken and was short on Knorr chicken powder… So sad. Mami noodles made with real broth, good noodles, chicken and veggies sounds wonderful! I love how you promote real cooking of real food on this site!

    May 17, 2010 | 5:51 pm

  8. millet says:

    what, no hard-boiled egg slices?

    May 17, 2010 | 7:25 pm

  9. Mimi says:

    We sold mami at a canteen before. Used same broth for beef, chicken and langlang- beef shank, pork bones, whole chicken , salt, peppercorns and ‘sibut,’ which we buy from the dry goods supplier at the palengke which they recommended ‘pampalasa ng caldo.’ Chicken had the shredded chicken meat, 1/2 hardboiled egg, tons of fried garlic, rendered pork fat, spring onions and sesame oil. Beef had braised beef slices which we made separately, sliced baguio pechay, spring onions and sesame oil. Langlang was the toho mashed, fried in atsuete oil and seasoned with patis. The langlang was the mami of the old folks who frequented us. Fifteen pesos for a bowl of chicken mami back then. Langlang was around five pesos I think.

    May 17, 2010 | 7:35 pm

  10. corrine says:

    MM, may I know where you bought the fresh egg noodles? :)

    May 17, 2010 | 8:27 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    millet, OMG, I forgot the hard-boiled eggs, we had already cooked them! :)

    May 17, 2010 | 8:27 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    corrine they have them in large groceries such as SM, but I got these at S&R I think.

    May 17, 2010 | 8:30 pm

  13. Nelfra says:

    I can’t help it, but i just have to say it!
    When i’m sick, i like mami —> the person, my mom ;)

    May 17, 2010 | 9:14 pm

  14. mila says:

    I can’t find chicharon here but I can always crisp up some bacon and sprinkle that on the next time I make chicken noodle soup. I like the idea of the green chillies!

    May 17, 2010 | 9:59 pm

  15. Georgia says:

    Wow! Mukhang masarap. I’ll make some this weekend. Thanks for the recipe.

    May 17, 2010 | 11:41 pm

  16. Phil says:

    MM, I also use the same ingredients as you mentioned (in the 2nd bowl of mami). In addition, I add a few drops of sesame oil and a sprinkling of roasted garlic. Tastes better to me!
    Junb, your mention of Ma Mon Luk is interesting. I’ve never gone to any of their restaurants. I hope they still exist so I can try their mami and siopao during my next vacation.

    May 17, 2010 | 11:49 pm

  17. JungMann says:

    Growing up, I used to think this was Pancit “Mommy,” thinking that it was so named because it was comforting, just like my Mommy. I am from the “bland” school of thought when it comes to Mami, but a bit of patis, fried garlic and scallions along with hard-boiled egg are perfectly okay in my book. I will have to try the pickled chilies.

    May 18, 2010 | 12:57 am

  18. jdawgg says:

    Hello Marketman,

    I agree with Phil, I few drops of roasted sesame oil and a couple of pinch of fried garlic would up brought to the next level. Allthough your way is also perfect. Quick question, is the Ma Mon Luk in Cubao across Stella Maris College still open? That was my favorite spot to get Mami and Siopao when I was a child growing up in Cubao back when the only thing in Cubao was the Araneta Coliseum. We used to live right around the corner. (#2 Stanford St., right behind the old COD dept. store). Thanks Marketman.

    May 18, 2010 | 1:00 am

  19. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Typo: ‘Into a large glass bowl, I added the blanched white noodles, some shredded chicken, broth an chopped green onions.’

    Me thinks some sliced liempo in the mami would be pretty good too!

    May 18, 2010 | 2:17 am

  20. Connie C says:

    Mila, skin part of your chicken and toss the pieces in a pan with a little salt, when the fat renders you got chicken chicharon, just as good!

    May 18, 2010 | 2:38 am

  21. Patrick says:


    My apologies if this has been brought up before but have you considered doing the same prep to Nilaga (think Vietnamese Pho but Filipino style)? The richness imparted by the beef bones and marrow along with the vegetables that one would choose to add would definitely bring a deep full flavor I think.

    May 18, 2010 | 2:57 am

  22. netoy says:

    MM – the addition of the pig liver is interesting. never had it that way before but will definitely try. how did you cook the liver? did you just boil it together with the chicken? thanks.

    May 18, 2010 | 4:07 am

  23. Roberto Vicencio says:

    When the word mami comes up, it always triggers time and money spent at Ma Mon Luk. The one in Quiapo. If there was a trip to Quiapo, there would me mami and siopao to be had. Whn my mom came home from the office, she would pass by Ma Mon Luk to bring siopao. But it was the mami that I always longed for. 24 years away from the Philippines, the mami was one of the food I longed for. I was ver disappointed when I made it to the Ma Mon Luk in QC. The soup was lukewarm at best unlike the one in Quiapo. I have tried Masuki but there is something missing. Maybe the the sweaty cook in a tank top.
    The Ling Nam in T. Alonso hits the spot too. I take the ferry from Mandaluyong for a Mami and Siopao fix. Here in Mandaluyong I get my Mami fix at Charly’s Wanton House at the Haig St. Their siopao is not bad either. Just wo block out of Shaw Blvd across from the JRU.

    May 18, 2010 | 6:41 am

  24. quiapo says:

    It may just be my bad luck, but after being away overseas for so long, the noodles seem to have a chemical, soapy taste compared to what I grew up with. Has anyone else noticed? This is also true of noodles bought here at Filipino stores.

    May 18, 2010 | 6:56 am

  25. Footloose says:

    Aha, you leave out ingredients too. I just repeat to myself it is not incipient memory loss. It happens all the time, specially with dishes involving stand-alone garnishes that have to be assembled just before serving such as pancit palabok. All the forgotten elements stare and nag at you when you open the fridge three days later. I am not an obsessed completist. I say if you did not miss them while eating the dish, that means those add-ons are not so crucial after all and can be dispensed with next time.

    Quiapo, that’s the lye that they have always used but maybe your absence makes it stand out?

    May 18, 2010 | 7:27 am

  26. millet says:

    quiapo, yes, i’ve noticed that, too. have b een wondering why.

    May 18, 2010 | 7:32 am

  27. Jake says:

    my grandmother used to make (I think the maid makes it now using her recipe since she now has difficulty standing) chicken mami from scratch; I remember some of the ingredients were egg noodles, hard boiled egg, chicharon, shredded boiled chicken, salt and pepper, some chives (or was it leeks? I forget, I haven’t had a bowl there in years!) Just the right amount of saltiness. I’m fifteen now and I still love it, in fact I miss it! :)

    May 18, 2010 | 8:03 am

  28. mbw says:

    I really had a yen for mami of Ma Mon Luk. It has a distinctive taste that cannot be copied by other Chinese restos. I have been trying to find out what it is—a certain spice? I have always compared recipes for mami and have done them one way or the other but no Ma Mon Luk clone.

    May 18, 2010 | 8:33 am

  29. quiapo says:

    It is interesting that noodles made outside the Philippines do not have that lye taste for me.

    May 18, 2010 | 8:37 am

  30. romwell says:

    you missed one topping market man. you should try fried caramelized shallots on top of the mami. on top of misua also. reading this post made me cook arroz caldo. hehehe

    May 18, 2010 | 8:41 am

  31. Marketman says:

    romwell, yes, fried garlic and or shallots would work well with this soup…

    May 18, 2010 | 9:06 am

  32. tikboy says:

    the missing ingredient is singkamas!

    May 18, 2010 | 9:09 am

  33. chrissie says:

    i think the Ma Mon Luk and Masuki mami are really on the bland side — because you have to add the siopao sauce to the soup. at least that’s how my dad (and his generation ) eats it. =)

    May 18, 2010 | 10:18 am

  34. wil-b says:

    MM, you should’ve added the boiled egg slices, if I remember correctly, I always see mami with boiled egg slices :D yummm. . .

    May 18, 2010 | 10:18 am

  35. Blaise says:

    I love chicken soups/porridge of any sort. Will cook chicken sopas tonight :)

    May 18, 2010 | 10:41 am

  36. millet says:

    haha..same thing happened to us once, MM..we forgot about the eggs. i made them into egg salad later :-)

    May 18, 2010 | 11:17 am

  37. john says:

    am i the only one that remembers the special sauce at mamonluk for mami? it was a long time ago, but a dark thick sauce, little salty, little sweet? I think the same sauce was used in siopao.

    May 18, 2010 | 12:32 pm

  38. kitongzki says:

    Oh man… that looks yummy… But during my highschool days, there’s this ambulant mami vendor in front of the school, sanitary wise, forget it. But the beef broth they have is really good! unlimited sabaw too… you just have to eat while standing up… lol… as the saying goes… mura na, masarap pa… MADUMI PA… thank god I have a strong stomach…

    May 18, 2010 | 12:48 pm

  39. sonny sj says:

    @jdawgg – The Ma Mon Luk branch across Stella Maris is no longer around. The building housing the mami house has been demolished, as entire block is being redeveloped by the Aranetas. A cluster of high-rise buildings, nearing completion, now occupy the area.

    May 18, 2010 | 1:49 pm

  40. Susie says:

    This is the base of Chicken Mami here in the house (and any other Chinese-style soup):

    9 Cups cold water
    1 kilo (a mix of) chicken backs, necks, and wings
    1 Cup XioShing wine (Chinese rice wine) or something similar like sake
    6-8 slices of ginger, lightly smashed
    6 scallions, trimmed a bit and smashed

    1. Pour water over the chicken pieces,XIoShing rice wine, ginger, and scallions and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 2 hours.
    2. Strain and use as needed.

    May 18, 2010 | 2:54 pm

  41. iya says:

    i love chicken mami! this used to be my afternoon merienda treat every saturday when i was a kid– whenever i’m doing my school projects! love it hardboiled egg and fried garlic bits.

    May 18, 2010 | 4:43 pm

  42. Mila says:

    Connie C, I love that idea, chicken chicharon would be a nice topping.

    May 18, 2010 | 10:56 pm

  43. Markus Strahl says:

    Great idea, and yes, chicken chicharon would be a nice topping!!!!

    May 19, 2010 | 5:43 am

  44. atbnorge says:

    This is a definitive winner!…I love soups like this when I am down with a 72-hour migraine attack. Then when I am out of the attack, I celebrate with pancit guisado without the soy sauce and all other fermented condiments.

    May 19, 2010 | 7:15 am

  45. rina says:

    MM have you tried using efuven noodles?

    May 19, 2010 | 12:27 pm

  46. Marketman says:

    rina, I haven’t tried efuven in this broth, but I have cooked with efuven noodles before. I think they would make a lighter feeling soup as efuven are thinner, and that might work very well with this broth… taking it closer and closer to a batchoy like soup… :) susie, thanks for that broth recipe, will have to try adding shaoxing next time…

    May 20, 2010 | 5:36 am

  47. Clarissa says:

    now i kinda feel sad cuz i never had mami from scratch before. I grew up eating the instant noodles and actually crave them whenever i pass by the noodle aisles in the grocery. the “preservative” smell of the noodles make me hungry :) and i’ve come to a point that i have other recipes for the instant noodles besides the instructions on the packet.

    May 20, 2010 | 3:59 pm

  48. Jean says:

    I love mami–it’s one of the dishes I fondly remember as a child in the Philippines. Growing up in the U.S., I think we had it occasionally at a local restaurant but it was never the same. Your version looks great.

    May 21, 2010 | 11:12 pm


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