These chow fun noodles are chewy, savory, and full of umami goodness! It’s a simple recipe you can dress up or down with your favorite protein and vegetables. Ready in 20 minutes.

Chow Fun Noodles

Chow fun is one of those dishes I love making when I want something substantial and tasty that doesn’t require too much work.

I’m obsessed with the chewy texture of the hor fun noodles and love the sauce so much I could put it on everything!

The last time I had really good chow fun noodles was in Toronto at some hole in the wall joint in Chinatown. The noodles came lightly dressed and topped with lots of veggies.

They were amazing!

Since then I’ve been trying to recreate that specific dish because I still think about it and crave it whenever I want authentic Chinese food.

The recipe I have for you today may not be the exact same as what I tasted back in Canada, but the flavors are very much what you would expect to get when ordering a plate of chow fun noodles. I didn’t add any protein to it because I want you use this recipe as base for all the future awesome plates of chow fun you will be cooking in your own kitchen.

ingredients for chow fun

What is Chow Fun?

Chow fun is a Cantonese dish made of flat rice noodles, called hor fun (or ho fun noodles), that are stir fried with beans sprouts and other vegetables, meat, chicken, or seafood, and dressed in a sweet and savory brown sauce. It’s usually sold in dim sum restaurants and tea houses in Hong Kong, and pretty much in all Chinese restaurants overseas.

The cooking technique must be done in a wok over high heat where the ingredients are stirred quickly (while the noodles are handled delicately so they don’t break) in order for the dish to be successful. This cooking technique is so crucial in making good chow fun that chefs studying Cantonese cooking must pass the test to graduate.

What’s the Difference Between Chow Fun, Chow Mein, Mei Fun, and Lo Mein?

Here’s a short lesson on Chinese food to help you navigate through the different types of noodle dishes available on their menu. This way you will get exactly what you want instead of opening a container and finding that you ordered thin rice noodles instead of large flat ones (I don’t have enough digits to count the amount of times I’ve ordered the wrong thing!).

Chow fun: Flat rice noodles stir fried with various vegetables, meats, tofu, or seafood, and dressed in a brown sauce.

Mei fun: Thin rice noodles, similar to vermicelli. They are usually stir fried with vegetables, meats, tofu, or seafood, and tossed in a simple soy sauce and sugar based sauce. Singapore chow mei fun is different than regular mei fun since the noodles are seasoned with curry powder and the overall dish is dry.

Chow mein: Chow mein means fried noodles. The noodles are first boiled and then added to the pan to fry. Vegetables, meats, tofu, or seafood, are added afterward and dressed with a dark sauce.

Lo mein: Lo mein means tossed noodles. The same noodles as lo mein noodles are used but the difference is they are not fried. Once the noodles are boiled they are drained and tossed with cooked vegetables, meats, tofu, or seafood, and dressed in a dark sauce. Lo mein noodles also contain more sauce than chow mein noodles.

Hon fun noodles (wide flat rice noodles)

Ingredients for Chow Fun

  • Rice noodles: Look for hor fun noodles (large flat rice noodles) at your local Asian supermarket. Or you can buy them online.
  • Oil: Choose a neutral oil with a high smoke point such as grapeseed or vegetable oil. You will need two tablespoons to stir fry the vegetables.
  • Red bell pepper: I like using red bell pepper because of their vibrant color and sweet taste. However feel free to use green, orange, or yellow bell peppers as it won’t make any difference.
  • Sugar snap peas: I love sugar snap peas for their clean crunch but you can also use snow peas for this recipe.
  • Scallions: I add the scallions right before taking the noodles out of the wok to prevent them from getting soft. As far as the size of the cut, I prefer them finely chopped but go ahead and cut them however you like.
  • Mung bean sprouts: I also add the mung bean sprouts right before taking the dish out of the wok to keep their texture as fresh and crispy as possible.
  • Chow fun sauce: A mix of vegetable broth, shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, garlic,  ginger, soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch.

Chow Fun Variations

  • Make it spicy:  Add a couple of squirts of sriracha sauce.
  • Make it sweeter: Add 1-2 tablespoons of honey or brown sugar, or swap the oyster sauce for hoisin sauce.
  • Make it more pungent: Adding 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce usually does the trick.
  • Make it less salty: Use low sodium soy sauce and add a couple of splashes (small splashes!) of plain rice vinegar instead.

If you are cooking with meat, I suggest marinating it before cooking to add more flavor to the dish. This also works well with tofu and seafood.

Quick marinade:

  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and add the meat, tofu, or seafood. Marinate for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.

How to Make Chow Fun

  1. Start by making the sauce. Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Place the flat rice noodles (hor fun noodles) in a large bowl filled with water and let them soak for 15-20 minutes. Make sure you read the instructions on the packaging as your noodles might require more or less time to soak.
  3. While the noodles are soaking, add the oil to a wok or deep skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the bell peppers and sugar snap peas and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables are tender but still yielding a crunch.
  4. Whisk the sauce and pour it on the vegetables.
  5. Add the noodles and toss them until they are evenly coated with the sauce. Add the scallions and mung bean sprouts and quickly toss.
  6. Turn the heat off and transfer the chow fun to a serving plate. Enjoy!

Chow fun noodles with vegetables

What to Serve Chow Fun With

Chow fun is pretty filling so I recommend focusing on smaller dishes to serve these noodles with. Some of my favorites are:

cooked chow fun noodles

Did you like this Tasty Chow Fun Noodles Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!

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Easy To Make Chow Fun (Cantonese Style)

This is a simple chow fun recipe you can dress up or down with your favorite protein and vegetables. Ready in 20 minutes.

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Noodles
  • Method: Stir frying
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Diet: Vegetarian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 oz large flat rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, membrane
  • 3 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

Chow Fun Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce or vegetarian stir fry sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 thumb size ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

If you are using meat, tofu, or seafood, I suggest using this marinade:

  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and add the meat, tofu, or seafood. Marinate for 30 minutes, up to 60 minutes.

Instructions

  1. Whisk all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, and keep whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Soak the flat rice noodles for 15-30 minutes in cold or hot water. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package you have so the texture of the noodles is right. You want the noodles to be springy, not mushy or too hard.
  3. In a large wok or skillet over high heat, add oil. When the oil is hot, add bell peppers and sugar snap peas and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables have soften but still yield a crunch. It’s important not to overcook sugar snap peas as they will become stringy otherwise.
  4. Stir the sauce and add it to the pan with the noodles.
  5. Toss until the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce and are the desired consistency.
  6. Add scallions and mung bean sprouts and toss again.
  7. Turn the heat off, transfer the noodles to a serving plate and serve immediately.

Notes

For leftovers: Store the chow fun noodles in an airtight storage container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

Keywords: Stir fry, main

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