Steamed scallops with glass noodles was one of my favorite dishes when we lived in Beijing. Fresh steamed sea scallops were served with a salty-sweet soy sauce, and caramelized minced garlic over glass noodles on the half shell.
Boil a small pot of water and remove from heat. Immediately add the dry vermicelli noodles and let cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Rinse with cold water and transfer to a colander to drain. Set aside. This step is needed to hydrate and soften the noodles, but be careful not to overcook them!
Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and oil, and stir until just starting to sizzle. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
If using a single shallow serving plate, spread the cooked mung bean noodles evenly. If using small dim sum style plates or scallop shells, distribute the noodles evenly (one shell/plate per scallop). Be sure that the dishes you use have enough rim to contain the sauce.
Place the scallops on top of the mung bean vermicelli, and spoon a small amount of garlic on top of each scallop. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, the sugar, 1/3 cup water to the remaining garlic and oil in your pot and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Heat water in your steamer or pot/wok set up with a steamer rack until boiling and turn off the heat. Carefully place the shells/plate(s) of scallops into the steamer and cover tightly. Turn the heat back up to a boil. Steam the scallops for 2 minutes if using medium or large sized scallops and 4 minutes for jumbo scallops like we used in this post.
Immediately remove the scallops from the steamer and pour off some of the liquid if there is too much to safely transfer them. Wet scallops will release more liquid than dry scallops.
Reheat the sauce if needed and distribute it evenly over each scallop until all the sauce is gone. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot!