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Best Beef Ho Fun (aka Beef Hor Fun) in Toronto?

I have loved this Chinese noodle dish, ever since trying it at Noodle Delight many many moons ago (there it was known as the Kobe Beef Noodle). I have since tried it at various restaurants with varying degrees of success. Where is your favourite being served?

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  1. One of those dishes that seems hard to screw-up. I usually like it at most places, but don't recall a particularly stand-out place. Can usually be ordered at full restaurants, congee places, or HK style cafes. Because I don't find huge variances, I usually like to order it when at the less expensive options..like HK cafes.

    7 Replies
    1. re: T Long

      I guess I'm looking more for something that really stands out in your mind. It's true that most are good, but which ones are really, really, really good?

      1. re: yaddayadda

        I still go to the Noodle Delight on Vic Park and Sheppard. Kobe, chicken wings and chili oil is still a great treat after all these years. Congee King and Queen make a great version of Beef Ho Fun consistently. Arden Fast food at the food court in First Markham Place makes does too.

        Like an omelet in French kitchens many Cantonese restaurants use this basic item as a test for new cooks. It takes a lot of skill to make this simple dish of rice noodles, beef, bean sprouts and onions spectacular.

        Congee King Restaurant
        4271 Sheppard E, Toronto, ON M1S4G4, CA

        1. re: funfoodie

          i have the congee queen menu, can't seem to locate this dish?

          1. re: spine64

            This is the dish being talked about...variety of names are used.

            1. re: spine64

              E31 "Fried Rice Noodle with Sliced Beef and Soya Sauce"

              1. re: guym

                Thanks, sounds like that will be my sodium intake for the day. Live right around the corner from Congee, so will try it out

          2. re: yaddayadda

            I think you are looking for what is known as "wok hay" in your rice noodle. It is hard to find but I have experienced it at a few places.

            I'm trying to remember where but the only one I can think of right now is Saigon Star. I can't remember if it's the rice noodle with beef, soy sauce and bean sprouts or if it had XO sauce or something like that. I also second Restaurant Malaysia.

        2. This is actually a variation on Beef Hor fun, but if you are ever in the area I urge you to try it. There is a place in Richmond Hill called Restaurant Malaysia at Bayview and Major Mac. the dish is called Penang Fried Kuay Teow, this dish does not actually have beef in it. If you like spicy (I do) then you should try the Black Peppered Beef Kuay Teow.
          Both of these dishes use noodles that are very similar to ho fun, just a slightly different size.

          1. I get my takeout from Arden's, in the Yee Hong centre food court at McNicoll and Midland in Scarborough. For $3.99 (I think it may have raised up in price), you get a take out box full of "gon chow ngau hor," ie. dry stir-fried beef noodles, AND a drink! It's got great "wok power," which translates to having that fragrant almost-burnt flavour. You can tell them to make it to your specifications too - not too much oil, no MSG, etc..

            1. noodle wok is still the best!

              1. Yum! Keep the suggestions coming.
                Thanks to all so far.

                1. Interesting no one mentions 'Richmond Court' in Time Square! Really good wok-hay!
                  However, IMO none of Toronto's version are good enough since the really tasty version always involve putting 'yellowing chives' at the end of the cooking process! This is how all the best Hong Kong places do it!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    Richmond Court has a really good version of the standard "beef ho fun", but you should also try the spicy version on a hot plate. YUM!!!!

                    I think is has XO sauce and extra chillies added in. When they throw it onto the hot plate it really makes the bottom nice and crispy, with that nice heat that kicks in 10 secs after you've tasted it. Highly recommended.

                    Richmond Court Restaurant
                    328 7 Hwy, Thornhill, ON L4B1A1, CA

                  2. New Ho King on Spadina does Beef Chow Fun well, "lo wah kiu" style

                    1. Judy Cuisine at Hwy 7 and Leslie makes a very good one with excellent wok hei.

                      Judy Cuisine
                      550 7 Hwy E, Richmond Hill, ON L4B3Z4, CA

                      1. Have you tried the Thai version (pad see eew) or Malaysian version (char kway teow) of this dish? I love ho fun, but I find that pad see eew and char kway teow are far superior to the original and I highly recommend them. Hard to find good pad see eew in the city (I make my own, which is easy and delicious), but Matahari Grill has a fantastic char kway teow that it so beautifully cooked that it changed my mind about prawns (I previously wouldn't touch them, and now I quite like them).

                        39 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1L1, CA

                        30 Replies
                        1. re: vorpal

                          I have tried pad see eew, char kway teow and beef ho fun (乾炒牛河) in Toronto as well as various places in Asia, but do not found pad see eew or char kway teow necessarily better than beef ho fun. They are different fried noodle dish. It really depends on the skill of the chef, the ingradient and how good the restaurant make the dish. In fact, out of the three, I like beef ho fun the most, especially when the beef ho fun is wok-fried with lard. Not the best of its class, but the ones I would recommend in Toronto for beef ho fun is Richmond Court or Phoenix in Richmond Hill.

                          1. re: skylineR33

                            More than anything, it's likely I just haven't had very good ho fun! Maybe I'll try making it at home and see if I can get a nice char on the noodles, which has been lacking in every version I've tried (usually from Chinese-Canadian places, and not real authentic Chinese food).

                            1. re: vorpal

                              To get the 'char' you mentioned, you would need to toss the noodle/beef combo over open flames provided by mega-btu propane/butane burners and wok the size of an oil barrel! Good luck!

                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                Ahhh... that's unfortunate :(. Looks like I'll have to resume my hunt for an MSG free Chinese place, then, that serves good food instead of Chinese Canadian place :(.

                                1. re: vorpal

                                  As you like to keep saying, good Thai food can be had if prepared properly....same is true for Canadian Chinese food......btw, I didn't realize that Beef Ho Fun was a Canadian Chinese dish.

                                  1. re: T Long

                                    Actually, I was assuming, based on what I've seen in the kitchens, that most Canadian Chinese places (at least all the ones I've been to) aren't equipped to get a good wok hay going. I've never had ho fen with wok hay, so I was thinking that it would be fantastic if I could find a proper traditional Chinese kitchen equipped to prepare the dish optimally and try it in that environment.

                                    Obviously, I wasn't clear, and I apologize for incorrectly communicating my thoughts and intentions. I very much enjoy Canadian Chinese food on occasion (if I had an MSG-free source for it, I'd probably enjoy it even more frequently), and think that it certainly can be prepared well.

                              2. re: vorpal

                                Just to visualize what Charles said, probably you should be able to get the "char" part of the "beef ho fun" right if you cook like this guy in the picture. Be careful when you do it at home.

                                1. re: skylineR33

                                  So in other words, I guess I won't be getting a char on my ho fun any time soon! *pout*

                                  1. re: vorpal

                                    I guess you still can if you 'flambee' the end product with some Cognac?!

                                    1. re: vorpal

                                      tap phong sells outdoor butane burner for woking outside, if you have backyard access that is.

                                      I've been considering one....

                                      The char kway teo at the malaysian place in the food court of metro square is pretty decent. Although I've yet t come across one w/ cockles here.

                                      1. re: aser

                                        I bought one that uses propane from Splendid mall.

                                        and it has definitely increased my ability to achieve wok hay at home and deliver more than palatable dishes.

                                2. re: skylineR33

                                  Ditto. I'm not familiar with pad see eew, but I am with char quay teow and it is a very different dish than beef ho fun (the dry-fried style.) But I can understand how the two might be confused or even interchangeable based on the versions of CQT I've had -- they are both fried rice noodle and might even come out very similar depending on who's behind the wok.

                                  There are few ways to screw up beef ho fun, what with it's meaty, dark soy goodness. Even when it's executed so-so, the flavours are still recognizable. (Sorry to the original poster, I can't say I've ever ordered a gwun-chow gnow yuk that was really bad or ridiculously good!)

                                  My favourite is CQT. I've had it in Malaysia, at a real hawker stall and it is an incredible, complex dish. A true hybrid of cultures and their flavours. If I were one to tear up, I would over the lack of options here for authentic CQT.

                                  1. re: neighborguy

                                    My sources may be incorrect, but I've read that the origins of char kway teow are in ho fun: it's the result of Chinese Malaysians incorporating Malaysian ingredients with traditional Chinese recipes. Thus, while the dishes may be somewhat different, they share traditional roots.

                                    Hear, hear. Of the three I mentioned, char kway teow is my favourite. Yum!

                                    1. re: vorpal

                                      Not sure where you have your beef ho fun, but it tastes different from CKT for me. They are just 2 different noodle dish for me and there are many different noodle dishes out there and many are based on ho fun.

                                      A beef ho fun cooked at home is never the same as the one which is cooked properly in a restaurant because of the lack of proper equipment at home.

                                      1. re: skylineR33

                                        He's simply saying CKT has lineage in China, just like ramen's origins.

                                    2. re: neighborguy

                                      The Char Kway Teow that I had in Singapore uses noodles that's totally different from their North American counterpart! Also, the versions I had in Southeast Asia uses the thick dark sweet soy as seasoning and colouring. Here in Toronto almost all outfits use some sort of 'curry powder/paste' to make the dish look and taste ' Malaysian'!!

                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                        Isn't the "curry powder" Chow Kwai Teow the Hong Kong version?

                                        1. re: Teep

                                          I had the 'curry powder' version in London, Hong Kong, Paris and Toronto but have not encountered it in Singapore! Same thing can be said about the ' curry version' - Singapore fried rice vermicelli'. Available almost every where except in Singapore!??! Thats why, of all the food available at HK International Airport, a number of S'pore chowhounders deliberately order them for experience and fun!!

                                          1. re: Charles Yu

                                            Well, it's just a name... it's not like everybody in Portugal eats light curry sauces with chicken on a fried rice that is baked like a casserole.

                                            1. re: Blueicus

                                              : True. You can get Montreal smoked meat outside Montreal that bears little or no resemblance to Montreal smoked meat. same thing re poutine.

                                              1. re: Blueicus

                                                Agree! However, authentic ' Chow Kwei Teow ' should be cooked with the dense, thick black sweet soya so commonly found and use in S.E Asia! ( dipping sauce for Hainan chicken rice, part of the holy trinity, for example ).

                                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                                  Who makes the "sup chow" version? That's the version where the beef slices are put on top and lots of gravy ladled on (not the dry fried ones where the beef is mixed in with the noodles) ... am still looking!

                                                  1. re: Guzzler

                                                    You can ask most restaurants that serve noodles to make it even if they don't have it on the menu, just ask for beef on hor-fun with sauce, in Chinese ngau-yok chow-hor.

                                                    1. re: Teep

                                                      Actually I think Guzzler might have to specify "sup chow" or "hien (sauce) chow" if you just say ngau-yok chow-hor most places will default to the dry variety. But Teep is right any place that does the dry one should also be able to produce the saucy one.

                                                    2. re: Guzzler

                                                      The beef noodle with the gravy is called " wat tan hor".It is a very popular dish among Malaysians in Toronto.It is normally made with seafood and pork instead of beef but the basics of the dish are similar ie hor fun topped with beef or pork/seafood in a gravy/egg slurry. None of the Malaysian restaurants in TO do a decent one from my experience.The best versions are actually home cooked ones.I do a decent one for my family and Malaysian/Singaporean friends and they appear to like it a lot.

                                                      1. re: dyson17

                                                        For the Cantonese, 'Wat Tan' or Slimy eggs can be used to accompany either sliced beef or prawns ( the two favourite options ). However, the brown gravy 9 Sub Ho ) option usually applies to beef only.

                                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                                          Please enlighten me as to what is " brown gravy 9 Sub Ho"

                                                          1. re: dyson17

                                                            It's a typo, he means ( Sub Ho ). Literally it means "wet hofun", meaning with a sauce/gravy, as opposed to the usual beef hofun which is called "dry fried".

                                                            1. re: Teep

                                                              Thanks Teep for doing my work! Ha!
                                                              Just an addition for dyson17. The brown gravy is usually a combo soya sauce and oyster sauce base. Another variation is the 'wet ho-fun' topped with beef and black bean sauce.

                                      2. re: vorpal

                                        I love pad si ew. It's one of my favorites! But I hate it when they make it with broccoli instead of gai lan.

                                      3. This thread is making me very very hungry, I love those noodles and want to try this dish!

                                        1. The dish is called gon chow ngau ho. Chow fan or fun(I guess) means fried rice. It is one of my favorite dishes when done properly. When you can taste the wok!! The best versions I have had usually have a little bit of the drippings from the bbq pork or duck added. The noodles should not be stuck together and there should be bits of char from the wok. Also, I personally much prefer my chinese food with msg! MSG is a misunderstood ingredient and only about 1/2 a percent of the population has any negative reaction to it. It is no worse for you than table salt and it does make the food taste better.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: tdeane

                                            In addition to all of the aforementioned criteria listed by tdeane, one critical addition which no one in Canada is practising, is to finish off the dish with a generous addition of ' yellowing chives' a la the best available in places like Tai Ping Koon, Tasty's or Ho Hung Kee of Hong Kong! Aroma and taste provided by the chives kicks the dish up another nitch!

                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                              Thanks for the info Charles !! BTW, more BTU's can be generated for home cooks using the burner from one of those outdoor turkey fryers.

                                          2. There are various styles of beef hor fun, but basically it's either dry or wet (gravy).

                                            Possibly the best gravy-style beef hor fun (Chiuchow or Singapore style) is Lion City Restaurant at 1177 Central Parkway West, Mississauga (at Golden Square Centre Plaza just south of Burnhamthorpe, west of Hurontario). This wet Singapore-style beef hor fun looks similar to what's in this link:

                                            Chiuchow Man Chinese Restaurant (next to Lion City) makes excellent beef hor fun (both dry and wet styles). But it is not on their menu, so ask the owners (Sam or Rebecca) for this dish and just specify whether you want the dry Cantonese style (fried with soy sauce, bean sprouts, etc.) or Chiuchow style (gravy on the flat rice noodles). They're the best Chinese restaurant in Mississauga, imo, so there are lots of other dshes to choose from.

                                            Dry beef ho fun (fried with soy sauce) looks something like what's in this link. If not done well, it tastes greasy and/or mushy. If you like the dry beef ho fun, you might wish to try the Char Kway Teow at Lion City Restaurant.