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Chow Fun noodle recipe - no, not a dish, the actual noodles....

ChasingChe May 11, 2010 08:56 AM

I have no source for local, fresh chow fun. (Believe me, I've looked for literally decades)

The local restaurants don't even have access to them. Even they use wide, flat *dry* rice noodles, rehydrated.

My kids are gluten-free and I would love to find a way to make these at home for them, but google and searching here has yielded no results for the actual *NOODLE* recipe.

I want the big, fat, thick ones I remember from my childhood in California. They were pure white, greater than an inch wide, and served in black bean sauce. Delish!

Thanks for any help you might offer.

  1. Bada Bing May 11, 2010 09:19 AM

    Did you try looking for other names (like "sha he fen" or "chao fen" or "chao fun" or "hefen")? noodles?

    Suspecting that naming might be an issue, I looked at my copy of Bruce Cost's book Asian Ingredients (a godsend for non-Asian consumers like myself). This wikipedia page could get you started, too:


    Cost's book also points out that noodles are seldom home-made in Chinese culture, where apparently noodle factories are a real staple of the economy. But I can't see why they couldn't be made. Good luck!

    1. todao May 11, 2010 09:29 AM

      "Chow Fun" is often made with a wheat noodle, but if you're intending to make a rice noodle version (understandably given your circumstances) you might have some luck visiting a Thai food store and asking for "Sen Yai". Because rice noodles don't keep very long, they would probably be made fresh within the region where the store is located.

      Ooops, sorry, forgot to include this link on first post:


      If you just ignore the WalMart gift card audio announcement it'll go away pretty fast.

      1. PBSF May 11, 2010 09:36 AM

        The only recipe I've ever come across for Chinese fun is from Florence Lin's Complete Book of Chinese Noodles, Dumplings and Breads first published more than 20 years ago. She states that since she cannot buy a particular type of rice flour for the recipe, she uses a combination of cake flour, tapioca starch and cornstarch.
        1 cup cake flour, 1/2 cup tapioca starch, 1/2 cup cornstarch. The rest of the ingredients are 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 cups water and oil to brush the finished sheets.
        It is made in a large non-stick skillet like a crepe over low heat. The finished sheets are brush with oil on both sides, then folded and cut. Since there are now packages of rice flour imported from Asia, you might try using that instead of her flour mixture for your gluten-free kids. I have never made it so I cannot vouch if the recipe works.
        Commercially, I have seen it make it by using very large large metal shallow pans with a thin rice flour batter and steamed in racks. The finished sheet are oiled and folded.

        1. j
          jindomommy May 11, 2010 10:50 AM

          I could be wrong, but I was always under the impression that look funn was rice noodle. However, I've had "chow funn" in Japanese okazuyas that were definitely wheat based. The following link shows you how to make cheung funn. I used to visit the look funn factory next to my grandpa's fish market and they made the look funn base with the same noodle. The cheung funn just had options of char siu or shrimp.


          Warning...I've tried to make it and it's not easy. The look funn factory had these gigantic steamer ovens. If you can, I bought a Vietnamese banh cuon steamer/maker. Banh cuon is a rice crepe and very, very similar. The banh cuon maker is easy and cost about $30 bucks. Totally worth it.

          1. todao May 11, 2010 11:25 AM


            If you just ignore the WalMart gift card audio announcement it'll go away pretty fast.

            2 Replies
            1. re: todao
              don515 May 17, 2010 05:55 PM

              Todao that looks like the real deal thanks.
              Here is the recipe I talked about into a blender in order
              1 1/4 cups cold water
              2 Tbs peanut oil
              1 cup unsifted Swans down cake flour (says no substiutes)
              1 Tbs cornstarch
              1 Tsp salt
              blend for 30 second
              put 2 ounces in an oiled 10 inch cake pan and steam for 3 min makes about 8-10 noodles. After pans cool a bit pull noodles out of pan and onto waxed paper.


              1. re: don515
                monku May 17, 2010 07:04 PM

                OP seemed to be looking for gluten-free.
                But, interesting using Swansdown Cake Flour.

            2. Chemicalkinetics May 17, 2010 06:34 PM

              The noodle you mentioned is called 沙河粉 or 河粉 (Ho-Fun).

              Chow-Fun actually means some thing else. It means stir fried flat noodle, so it is pointing to a dish, not the noodle. Sort of like saying barbecue pork. It is a dish.

              Back to Ho-Fun (河粉), the noodle Ho Fun is rice based and therefore you shouldn't have to worry about gluten too much, so hopefully you don't have the desire to try to make it at home. You can make these noodle, but it is pretty tough. It is on one of my to do list. You need of course rice flour and you need to mix the rice flour with water and other ingredients and then evenly spread it on a large pan or a steamer in order to steam it to solidfy it. We are not talking about making pasta at home. Ho Fun takes some skill




              3 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                Bada Bing Jun 21, 2013 09:01 AM

                Really interesting links!

                1. re: Bada Bing
                  Chemicalkinetics Jun 22, 2013 02:25 PM

                  Thanks. I am glad that the links still work 3 years after I post them. They are cool. One thing I forgot to tell the original poster is that very very few Chinese restaurants make the Ho-Fun (flat rice noodle). They almost always buy them from specialized shops because they are difficult to make (either because of the high skill requirement for hand made or the capital cost for machine make). This is different than wheat based pasta and noodle where some restaurants do make them.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    Chemicalkinetics Jun 22, 2013 02:42 PM

                    Here is a restaurant which makes its own flat rice noodle.


              2. w
                will47 May 18, 2010 12:18 AM

                I would look for recipes for chang fen (cheong fun), which are the wide, steamed rice-flour sheets often served at dim sum places (also banh cuon, which is the Viet version of roughly the same thing, but generally made like a crepe rather than steamed on a tray). Plenty of recipes available online. Steam in a large cookie sheet, then cut them into the noodle shape you want, rather than following that part of the directions. You may need to make some slight adjustments, but I think that will get you pretty close to what you want. And keep them away from the refrigerator.

                1. b
                  BekaBakes Jun 21, 2013 07:30 AM

                  http://neckredrecipes.blogspot.com/20... - This is a recipe for quay teow, which is used to make chow fan.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: BekaBakes
                    chefj Jun 23, 2013 05:00 PM

                    Chow Fan (炒飯) is Fried Rice not Fried Noodles
                    Chow Fun (炒粉)

                    1. re: chefj
                      BekaBakes Jun 25, 2013 07:34 PM

                      Oh yes, got mixed up there. "Fan" is rice and noodles are pronounced "fen" in Mandarin, right?

                      1. re: BekaBakes
                        will47 Jun 26, 2013 09:12 AM

                        It's written 'fen' in Pinyin, but the 'e' vowel is pronounced closer to 'euh' / 'uh'. "Fun" is not a bad approximation.

                        1. re: BekaBakes
                          Chemicalkinetics Jun 29, 2013 10:43 AM

                          <Oh yes, got mixed up there. "Fan" is rice and noodles are pronounced "fen" in Mandarin, right?>

                          Not really. The most important thing is that rice noodle and wheat noodle are two different words in Chinese and pronounced differently.

                      2. re: BekaBakes
                        will47 Jun 24, 2013 12:04 PM

                        kuai tiao (guo tiao; 粿条) is the Chaozhou way of referring to this kind of noodle, so the term is used a lot in SE Asia where there are a lot of Chaozhou people.

                        If you have a good local source for fresh, unrefrigerated rice noodles, I would definitely recommend buying rather than making your own.

                        1. re: will47
                          BekaBakes Jun 25, 2013 07:36 PM

                          Thanks! I never had to make my own actually, there's plenty available fresh here. Now I know how to order in China!

                      3. m
                        Michele72 Jun 21, 2013 08:05 AM

                        Recipe for Chow Fun as given to me by my sister-in-law. Apparently my husband's family grew up on this in Hawaii, and this is one of their favorite childhood comfort foods.

                        I've only had it once, liked it quite a bit, but have no idea how "authentic" it is. :) Here's the recipe verbatim from what she sent to me (with a bottle of their favorite Shoyu soy sauce from Hawaii).

                        1-2 cloves garlic
                        1 inch piece of fresh garlic
                        4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
                        1 bunch of sliced green onions sliced about 1 inch in length
                        1/2 cup carrots thinly sliced
                        1/2 cup green beans thinly sliced
                        Mung bean sprouts (if desired)
                        3 pkg Chow Fun rice noodles
                        Soy Sauce
                        Garlic Powder

                        Cook noodles (10 minutes) drain and rinse and set aside.

                        In wok or large frying pan, sauté sliced garlic and slices of ginger in oil. Remove from pan.

                        Cook the chicken thighs in oil until done, season with salt, soy sauce and garlic powder to taste.

                        Add carrots and green beans, cook until soft but still crunchy.

                        Lower heat and add the cooked noodles, mix, more soy sauce to taste.

                        Add the bean sprouts and the green onions and mix all together.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Michele72
                          c oliver Jun 22, 2013 06:51 AM

                          OP is looking for a recipe for the noodles themselves, not the dish.

                          @OP, I'm no fan of ATK but here's a recipe:


                        2. Bada Bing Jun 21, 2013 09:01 AM

                          I'm unhappy with myself for loosing track of a tv episode with that cute Taiwanese woman Ching-He Huang: in one of her shows on Chinese food, she visited some chef's home kitchen and he showed her how he made ho fun/he fen noodles from rice flour and tapioca, and oddly, if I recall correctly, he didn't even steam them: he just poured the mixture into a half sheet pan, and it set up like instant pudding after a while.

                          1. gmm Jun 23, 2013 07:29 AM

                            I can't vouch for this recipe because I haven't tried it, but they look good and seem fairly easy to make. Let us know how they turn out if you try it.


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: gmm
                              Chemicalkinetics Jun 23, 2013 07:40 AM

                              <but they look good and seem fairly>

                              They do not look thick and uneven to you?

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                gmm Jun 23, 2013 04:37 PM

                                They may not be restaurant quality, but they might work if the OP doesn't have other options. I would probably look for something with a flat bottom, rather the the foil pans which have raised ridges along the bottom.

                            2. c
                              ChasingChe Jun 23, 2013 06:41 PM

                              Too funny! I checked an email account I rarely use and got all sorts of new reply notifications. :)

                              I've actually found fresh noodles now. We have a restaurant that sells me packages of them whenever I want. :)

                              Thank you all for the links and help!!

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: ChasingChe
                                Chemicalkinetics Jun 23, 2013 07:30 PM

                                <I've actually found fresh noodles now.>

                                I thought you can. They are not that difficult to find. Restaurants definitely is a good source, but you can find them pretty much in any Asian supermarkets. Good luck and have fun.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  ChasingChe Jun 23, 2013 08:19 PM

                                  So punny! Lol :)

                                  This is a restaurant and bakery and, apparently, the only mfg in the bi-state area. So I'm VERY happy to find them!!

                                  1. re: ChasingChe
                                    Chemicalkinetics Jun 24, 2013 12:11 AM

                                    <the only mfg in the bi-state area>

                                    Nice, you are buying straight from the mfg, huh? So where do you live again? :)

                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                    Bada Bing Jun 24, 2013 07:32 AM

                                    Alas, no Asian markets here in northern Indiana stock them regularly--not fresh wide ho fun/he fen noodles, anyway. ChasingChe is lucky that a restaurant will sell them to her.

                                    There is a place in town which has awesome ho fun noodles in their pad kee mao and some other stir fries. They go to Chicago once or twice a week to stock up, and they keep secret who makes them. They're a bit thicker and more luscious than the equivalents at other local Thai restaurants. I haven't asked if they'd sell me noodles, because I expect a "no." Local pizza places also won't sell a dough ball around here, although I know it's common enough in New York area. The midwest is different, maybe...

                                    1. re: Bada Bing
                                      Chemicalkinetics Jun 24, 2013 10:55 AM

                                      <Alas, no Asian markets here in northern Indiana stock them regularly--not fresh wide ho fun/he fen noodles>

                                      Really, I must be very luck then -- wherever I had been. I guess that restaurants are the best sources for them then.

                                      <I haven't asked if they'd sell me noodles>

                                      Really? Most of the Chinese restaurants I know are more than happy to sell these stuffs to you.

                                      <Local pizza places also won't sell a dough ball around here>

                                      I think that is a bit different. Both because pizza dough balls are often home made and they don't want you to reverse engineering it, and because they make more money by you eating there.

                                      Ho fun is different. Almost no Chinese restaurants make these rice noodle, so there isn't any secret to keep.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        Bada Bing Jun 24, 2013 11:57 AM

                                        Can't hurt to ask! We'll see.

                                        I know these folks pretty well from years of going there. Much as they like me, and vice versa, I think they'd rather sell me their food than pass along the noodles they fetch from Chicago, but I suppose if they get some mark-up and it's regular... Maybe.

                                        As for pizza dough, luckily, I make a better one than any of them anyone--but sometimes one is short of time...

                                        1. re: Bada Bing
                                          Chemicalkinetics Jun 24, 2013 03:39 PM

                                          <I suppose if they get some mark-up and it's regular>

                                          They will mark-up. That is for sure. :)

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