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Dec 21, 2001 03:21 PM

chow fun

  • l

I'm a noodle addict and I think it's my favorite dish. Is it possible to make Chinese chow fun (neat pun, huh?) at home? If it is, does anyone have a recipe? Thanks.

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  1. Your question is a bit confusing. It is simple to make chow fun at home, if you have chow fun noodles. Making chow fun noodles at home? I'm sure it can be done, but like many things Chinese, it is so much easier to buy the noodles. By the way, they freeze fairly well. Just let them thaw slowly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jim H.

      Well, we've certainly been around the barn! However, I think that the thing you started out asking for was a recipe for making Chow Fun. If memory serves me is one:

      Separate one pound of chow fun noodles. Slice 1 lb. flank steak very thinnly across the grain. Marinate meat in 1 T. dark soy sauce, 1 T. cornstarch, 1 egg white and 1 T. peanut or canola oil for 15 minutes or so.

      Heat the wok on high and add 2 T. of the oil. Toss the noodles about in the oil until they are very hot and begin to color just a bit on the edges. Remove to a dish and set aside.

      Heat the wok again and add 1 T. oil along with 2 minced cloves of garlic and a julienne-cut slice of ginger. Stir-fry for a couple of seconds, then add 1 T. rinsed and mashed black beans and 1 T. dry sherry or shao shing wine. Stir, then add 1/2 a medium onion(sliced) and large dices of half a green pepper. Stir-fry until onion is tender crisp. Remove to a platter.

      Heat the wok on high and add the marinated meat. Stir-fry until the red disappears. Return the vegetables, noodles and the sauce (1 T. dark soy sauce, 1/2 t. sugar, 1 T. dry sherry, 1/8 t. white pepper, and 1 T. oyster sauce) to the wok and toss with the meat until hot. Add 1 C. fresh bean sprouts, toss a minute or so and serve. Garnish with chopped cilantro if you wish.

      I have another recipe which recommends adding a few drops of instant smoke near the end. It sounds wonderful, but I haven't tried it yet.

    2. I made chow fun-like noodles at home, as they are not available in my area. I took equal parts of wheat flour and white rice flour (not sweet rice flour), mixed with water to make a workable dough, and rolled out thicker than noodles, sprinkling with flour to prevent sticking. Make and boil them just before using, or experiment.


      21 Replies
      1. re: ironmom

        I realize I'm spoiled with a nearby market that gets chow fun noodles in 3 times week. In Hawaii last year we used dried rice noodles, and soaked them in hot water for about 1/2 hour. They weren't quite the same, but were OK in a pinch. Helps to put them in the fridge for a few hours to kind of firm up.

        1. re: Jim H.

          and does anyone know how to make the dish listed in Chinese restaurant menus as chow fun? Does anyone have a recipe for that?

          1. re: lissar

            In general, chow fun is a type of noodle, not a preparation (just as spaghetti is), and can served in soups, stews, stir-frys, and with any type of sauce.

            It's not served at all where I live, and when I go where it is, they have a great many choices on the menu.

            What's yours like?

            1. re: ironmom

              "Chow" means pan-fried or sauteed, the same word as in chow mein which means pan-fried wheat noodles. "fun" is the rice noodle. You can specify "sup chow" for wet-fried, meaning with soupy gravy or "gon chow" for dry-fried which will have sear marks from sticking to the pan.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Thanks, Melanie, it's always been a guess whether I'll get them gon-chow, the way I like them..Now I know what to ask for!!

                1. re: galleygirl

                  Seems like about 10 years ago, the style for chow fun and chow fan (fried rice) in Hong Kong shifted toward the wet, gravy-laden styles and landed here too. If the server doesn't ask, I always specify that I want dry-fried now because the other style is more common.

                2. re: Melanie Wong

                  Talking about chow fun reminds me that there used to a traditional dish in many small Chinese restaurants in SF, serving a meat/chicken/fish dish over a variety of starches. One of my favorites at Joe Jung's fast food place on Market was oyster beef over won ton. You could get a variety of dishes served on rice, noodles, fun noodles, won ton, or crispy lo fon noodles. Do any places still do that? I'm not talking about soup, but the stuff on top of the starch. Also, is there any place that serves good wor won ton?

                  1. re: Jim H.

                    Sure, you can get whatever stir-fry over whatever starch at Young's or other old-timey places. Just ask. Whenever Young's has fresh do gok (long beans), I'll usually have that with filet of rock cod and black bean sauce over chow fun. Young's is still my ol' reliable for beef choy sum (cabbage hearts) dry fried chow fun.

                    Wor won ton is sorta lo fan kind of dish and not one that I've ordered much. (g) "Wor" refers to a big pot and could mean anything that the chef chooses. What do you like in it?

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      You are right about soupy chow fun...I was going to mention that. You have to ASK for dry fried. I usually get the beef and peppers in black bean sauce on HK style noodles, and do it with chow fun noodles at home. Young's secret is using really tender beef...makes a big difference. I always remember the Wor Won Ton at Nam Yuen...shrimp, chicken, pork, beef, squid, chicken livers, BBQ pork, black mushrooms, reg mushrooms, bok choy, etc. I think it probably was a lo fon type dish, with todays leftovers thrown in. My most recent complaint is the quality of the chicken Japanese broth...delicately tasteless. I think the old days of the ubiquitous broth pot are quick paste.

                      1. re: Jim H.

                        Think this has been mentioned before, Chinese restaurants use baking soda to tenderize the beef.

                        Don't forget the hard-boiled eggs in the wor won tun and fish balls.

                        You owe it to yourself to try the broth at Hon's on Kearny - many small animals and veggies gave up their souls to get that kind of flavor.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          melanie, you need to establish a food newsletter, now. let me be your first subscriber.

                          1. re: keith k

                            With that set-up, Keith, don't forget to subscribe to ChowNews for the best of Chowish tips and food news. Check out the link below.


                3. re: ironmom

                  hm. Well, my favorite version (teriyaki beef) involves the aforementioned rice noodles, beef, variable vegetables, and a sauce that I think is teriyaki and a few other sauce ingredients I haven't been able to identify yet. I think I've only ever had two kinds (chicken and teriyaki beef) but I got the impression from John Thorne's website that it was a fairly common dish. I'll probaly try making it with teriyaki, dark soy sauce, and sesame paste. I'll let you know how it turns out.

                  1. re: ironmom

                    Ironmom, Thai places around here (Portland, ME) often have a dish similar to chow fun -- its called something like "pad see euw" and usually has beef, fun-like noodles, and broccoli (should be Chinese broccoli, but that's a lot to expect). Had a pretty good version at Bangkok Thai on Congress St, and another at Siam City on Middle St.

                  2. re: lissar

                    As suggested, the term "chow fun" is the type of noodle (rice) used. It seems to be relatively unknown in some parts of the US (a Chinese restaurant owner in Missouri had never heard of chow fun). You can make just about any kind of chow mein/chow fun dish using similar ingredients. My favorite is not Chinese at all, but Thai/Chinese. Broccoli, shrimp and rice noodles with dark soy sauce and fish sauce. Dry, rather than soupy...since chow fun can be either.

                    1. re: lissar

                      Basic recipe for chowfun?

                      I think my favourite style is the dry fry, beef with sprouts chowfun. (gnow gnuk chow fun).

                      Basically marinate sliced flank steak in eggwhite, cornstarch, salt for about 15mins. Then 'velvet fry' in hot oil for 30 secs and remove and drain.

                      Mash your rinsed blackbeans in a bit of sherry, then
                      Heat a bit more oil, add your noodles, mashed blackbeans, and some dark soy and the beef and stir fry.

                      Add sprouts and green onions at the end and serve immediately (to preserve that wok-flavour)

                      P.S. Sometimes packages of noodles (haw fun) will have a basic recipe on them for chowfun.

                    2. re: Jim H.

                      The dried ones can be quite good, especially the Thai brands. Remember when the dried fun used to be a little sandy? The Thai ones are cleaner. I prefer the dried to fresh in soups.

                      My parents don't have access to fresh where they live either. Mom's pantry is stocked with a good supply of dried fun until the next trip to SF. I'm sitting at the kitchen table now, where my dad is busy pulling apart the fresh fun into single layers for our lunch today. I bought a lb. yesterday and left it in the cold garage overnight. Do not refrigerate or they turn ossify.

                      A few years ago I traveled to Guangdong with my parents and we visited Sa Ho ("Sandy Beach"), the little town where the best of these dried noodles originally came from to have lunch. Oldtimes often still call rice noodles "sa ho fun". The locals attribute the quality of their noodles to the special water here. I remember they were a little gritty, which I guess makes sense from the name of the town.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Hi Melanie!

                        I'm glad you mentioned sa ho fun. That's what I remember seeing on menus when I first came to the States over 20 years ago....There was never any question what you want when you ordered "Chow Ho Fun". The classic dish was with sliced beef, scallion, and a little bean sprouts. I think the restaurant used dried noodles, but the chief chef worked magic with it. There must be some special skills involved to keep them whole, moist, yet have that nice, slightly charred flavor from the wok...

                        Just wondering, is ho fun the same noodle as the deliciously simple rice noodle with shrimp, (or with fried cruellers) you get at dim sum?

                        1. re: HLing

                          Some places use the same as a wrapper. But the best ones have a more tender type of dough that almost melts in the mouth. More like the texture my mom used to get with cake flour.

                    3. re: ironmom

                      My mother used to make her own soft fun-like wrappers using Swans Down cake flour. The liquidy batter was poured into a thin layer onto a pie pan and then steamed. Rather than cutting them into noodles, these were used to roll-up cooked meats like roast pork or shrimp with scallions and coriander. You might want to experiment using cake flour for your recipe next time.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        I've seen them use a similar batter at Hing Lung on Broadway, but instead of steaming them in pie pans, they pour the batter into a hot pot of water and the batter forms a layer on top of the water, then the cook, flips it over and then it's done...

                        pretty neet looking if you ask me.