Cantonese Steamed Scallops with Vermicelli on Half Shell

scallops with glass noodles

Cantonese Steamed Scallops with Vermicelli on Half Shell

There is something about seeing scallops in their half shell on a bed of vermicelli (asian glass noodles) that makes me soo excited.

scallops on shell on plate

This dish is usually found at Cantonese restaurants, and you’ll be happy to know that it’s actually super easy to make. It’s also quite healthy…no butter, no fat on the scallops. Plus, it’s gluten free because the noodles are made from mung beans. Look for something like this from your local super market.

scallops in shell

The most time consuming part of this dish is cleaning the scallops, maybe because it was my first time doing it. I see clams in their full shell all the time, but never scallops! They are usually sold at the market with just the flesh part, and no shell.

Lucky for me, I was able to secure some fresh scallops, shell and all, from Meerisco, a local Berlin entrepreneur turned fish monger (is that what they’re called?).

scallop cleaned raw

How to clean scallops

  1. First, rinse the shells under cold water to get rid of debris on the outside of the shell.
  2. With the flatter side of the shell up, slide a thin knife along the top of the shell to detach the scallop from the top shell. Then slowly pull open the shell.
  3. You should now have the full scallop sitting in the bottom shell. Now, using a knife, or kitchen scissors (something like this), cut around the meaty white part of the scallop to remove the black intestines, the thin whiskery parts, and sand. You can keep the yellow roe.
  4. Using the sharp knife, scrap the scallop so that it’s no longer attached to the shell, rinse, and drain.
scallops with glass noodles
Scallops prepped and ready to be steamed!
scallops with glass noodles in a steamer

Alternative if you don’t have scallop shells

The dish looks prettiest with the scallop shells, but it doesn’t actually impact the taste.

You can try to ask the person at the fish counter where you get the scallops if they have any discarded shells you can have. If that doesn’t work, you can totally make this dish without the shells!

Simply cook all the vermicelli and scallop at once by using a small plate instead of the multiple shells. Spread out the softened vermicelli on a small plate, layer on the scallops and garlic, and following all the other instructions as is.

scallops with glass noodles
scallops on shell on plate

Cantonese Steamed Scallops with Vermicelli Glass Noodles

Delicious steamed scallops with garlic chili sauce over a bed of glass noodles.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cantonese, Chinese
Servings 2


  • 8 Scallops in shell
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion or sprint onion, chopped
  • 2 bundles dried vermicelli noodles
  • 2 slices ginger, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • handful cilantro or parsley leafs, chopped
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar, more if you like it sweeter
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 thai chili, chopped, optional
  • water


  • Soak vermicelli noodles in warm water for 10-20 minutes while you prepare the sauce and clean the scallops
  • Mix light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, Thai chili (optional), garlic, and parsley in a bowl until the sugar dissolves
  • Heat sesame oil in a pan over medium high heat and fry the ginger and scallion for a minute until fragrant
  • Add oil mixture into sauce bowl and mix well. Set aside for serving
  • Boil of pot of water and place steamer over it
  • Clean the scallops, remove from shell, and set them aside. Drain the vermicelli and cut in half with food scissors
  • Place a portion of noodles on each scallop shell. Add a scallop on top of each portion of noodles, and sprinkle some garlic on top of the scallops
  • Once the water is boiling and the steamer is ready, carefully place each scallop shell into the steamer and steam for 3 minutes. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of the steamer. I was able to fit three per batch.
  • Remove cooked scallops and pour some sauce over each using a small spoon
  • Sprinkle any leftover spring onions over the scallops and serve.

Did you make this recipe?

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Keyword scallops, seafood

Did you make this recipe?

Show me! Tag @maggieats on Instagram and tag it #maggieats

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