What Are Chow Fun Noodles Made Of?

Ho Fun/Ho Fan/Chow Fun (call it whichever you like!) is made by lightly stir-frying wide rice noodles together with some vegetables, sometimes some protein like beef, and stir-fry sauce. This version of Ho Fun Noodles is vegetarian, so it uses shiitake mushrooms in place of beef.

My only exposure to Chinese food has been the “Westernized” take-out variety, so I know very little about noodle culture. Imagine my surprise when, while on a business trip to Beijing, I discovered that Chinese noodles actually come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all of which differ from one another based on the ingredients used in their preparation and the types of recipes they are frequently used in.

Two of the most well-known Chinese noodle dishes in the world are chow mein and chow fun (also known as chow foon). However, few people are aware of how these two noodle varieties differ from one another and what sort of noodles they are supposed to be (possibly because of their similar names).

Simply put, chow mein is made with round, thin egg noodles that are frequently stir-fried until crispy. Chow fun, on the other hand, are rice noodles that are flatter and wider than regular egg noodles and are also frequently used stir-fried in many dishes. In addition, it has a chewier and slipperier texture than egg noodles.

However, the differences do not come from the way the noodles are shaped or the main material used to make them. Here are some more interesting details about these two delectable noodle dishes.

Similar to how some people mistakenly believe the California Roll is not Japanese food but American (since it was invented in the US), some people think chow mein originated in America. But chow mein is authentically Chinese. The word “chau meing,” which is Taishanese, is the source of the name. The dish was created by individuals in Taisha, a city close to the Pearl River delta.

The ingredients for chow mein are eggs, wheat flour, and water. This particular variety of Chinese noodles is the only one to have achieved widespread consumption on the world food market. It is the variety of noodles that is most popular. They resemble spaghetti in shape but are thinner and occasionally longer.

The origin of chow fun can be traced to the Shahe neighborhood of Guangzhou (the noodles are also known as Shahe Fun). Chow fun predominates in the south of China while chow mein is popular in the north. The cuisine of nations like the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia has adopted this type of noodle as well as spread throughout south east Asia.

As was already mentioned, rice flour is used to make chow fun. The noodles’ shape is flat and broad. You have two options when purchasing chow fun from the market: fresh or dried. Fresh chow fun noodles can be used right away, but dried chow fun needs to be soaked before it can be stir-fried.

Beef Chow Fun: Recipe Instructions

Start by combining 8 oz. sliced flank steak, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda Marinate for 1 hour.

The meat is made more tender by the baking soda, giving it a texture similar to that found in restaurants. The beef becomes more tender the longer it is marinated.

Another helpful tip is to freeze the beef before slicing until firm but not solid. (Read more about how to prepare and tenderize beef for stir-fry in our article on the subject.) This makes slicing the beef much easier!.

Additionally, get the remaining ingredients ready before you start cooking.

Fresh rice noodles can be purchased in pre-cut or large sheets. If you have sheets, cut the rice noodles into pieces that are approximately 1 inch wide. You will need to blanch the rice noodles if they are very stiff and clumped together.

Just heat up some water in a wok and add the noodles.

Blanch them for 30 seconds or so. You’ll see them loosen into longer strands of noodles.

Remove from the wok and transfer to an ice bath. Drain.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to your wok after heating it on high heat until smoking. Add the beef and sear until browned.

If your wok is sufficiently hot, the meat shouldn’t stick. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add the ginger and 1 1/2 more tablespoons of vegetable oil to the wok. Add the scallions after giving it about 15 seconds to infuse the oil with its flavorful richness.

In the wok, evenly distribute the fresh rice noodles and stir-fry for 15 seconds.

2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine should be added to the wok’s rim.

Then, combine the beef with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce, and a pinch of sugar.

Make sure to stir-fry while scraping the bottom of the wok with a metal spatula. To thoroughly combine and evenly coat the huo fun with the soy sauce, lift it upward.

To taste, add a little salt and white pepper (taste the noodles first).

You might need to toss the rice noodles for a longer period of time if they were cold when you started. Less time will be needed if the rice noodles are fresh, at room temperature, or blanched. You should always keep your heat as high as possible. That is the key to achieving wok hei.

Stir-fry the bean sprouts with the addition and cook until just tender.

Serve your Beef Chow Fun Noodles piping hot. It tastes fantastic when served alongside some homemade chili oil or chiu chow chili sauce.

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What Are Chow Fun Noodles Made Of?

  • 8 oz. flank steak (225g, sliced into 1/8 thick pieces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Combine the beef and marinade ingredients and marinate for about 1 hour.
  • Some fresh rice noodles come as large sheets, while others are already cut. If you have the sheets, slice the rice noodles so theyre about 1 inch wide. If the noodles are very stiff and stuck together, bring a wok full of water to a boil, and add the noodles. Blanch them for 30 seconds to loosen. Transfer to an ice bath and drain thoroughly.
  • Heat your wok over high heat until smoking, and add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to coat the wok. Add the beef and sear until browned. As long as your wok is hot enough, the meat shouldnt stick. Set aside. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons more vegetable oil to the wok. Add the ginger to infuse the oil with its rich flavor for about 15 seconds. Add the scallions.
  • Spread the noodles evenly in the wok and stir-fry on high for about 15 seconds. Add the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok.
  • Next, add the sesame oil, soy sauces, pinch of sugar and the seared beef. Stir-fry, making sure your metal wok spatula scrapes the bottom of the wok. Lift the noodles in an upward motion to mix well and coat them evenly with the sauce.
  • Add a bit of salt and white pepper to taste (taste the noodles before adding salt). Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry until they are just tender. Serve!
  • What’s the Difference Between Chow Fun, Chow Mein, Mei Fun, and Lo Mein?

    To assist you in navigating the various noodle dishes on their menu, here is a quick lesson in Chinese cuisine. This way, you can be sure that you’re getting what you want rather than opening a container to discover that you ordered thin rice noodles rather than big, flat ones (I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve ordered the wrong thing!).

    Flat rice noodles stir-fried with a variety of vegetables, meats, tofu, or seafood and topped with a brown sauce are known as “chow fun.”

    Mei fun: Thin rice noodles, similar to vermicelli. Typically, they are stir-fried with vegetables, meats, tofu, or seafood and tossed in a straightforward sauce made of soy sauce and sugar. The noodles in Singapore chow mei fun are seasoned with curry powder, and the dish as a whole is dry, making it different from regular mei fun.

    Chow mein: Chow mein means fried noodles. After being boiled, the noodles are added to the pan and fried. After that, ingredients such as vegetables, meat, tofu, or seafood are added and dressed with a dark sauce.

    Lo mein: Lo mein means tossed noodles. Although the same noodles as lo mein noodles are used, they are not fried. After being boiled, the noodles are drained and combined with cooked vegetables, meats, tofu, or seafood. A dark sauce is then added. Additionally, compared to chow mein noodles, lo mein noodles have more sauce.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I advise marinating meat before cooking it if you’re using it in a dish to give it more flavor. 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
  • Add the meat, tofu, or seafood to a bowl with the marinade ingredients. Marinate for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.

  • Start by making the sauce. Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Whisk the sauce and pour it on the vegetables.
  • Add the noodles and toss them until they are evenly coated with the sauce. Add the scallions and mung bean sprouts and quickly toss.
  • Turn the heat off and transfer the chow fun to a serving plate. Enjoy!
  • What’s in a Name? Ho Fun vs Chow Fun

    You’re still on the right track if you’re perusing a menu and get confused because you can’t find chow fun but you do see ho fun. Chow fun is simply the Anglicized version of chow fun. Only nations where English is the primary language used to speak and write menus use the term “chow fun.” The same noodle dish is also known as ho fun in other nations.

    Ho fun originated in Hong Kong and Southern China. It is the dialectical name for the particular variety of noodles known as chow fun in the United States in Southern China. According to researchers, the name “chow fun” may actually refer to a different translation. Shahe fen is the name of the method used to prepare the noodles when they are stir-fried with vegetables and meat.

    Shahe fen was Anglicized as chao fen when it was derived from Southern Chinese and Mandarin; many people thought this translation sounded like chow fun. To be clear, the specific noodles are referred to as ho fun, and the dish’s preparation is referred to as shahe fen or chao fen, also known as chow fun.

    Even more perplexing is the widespread use of the term “chow fun” to describe both the dish and the noodles in American culture. But in order for the noodles to be distinguished from other varieties of noodles like chow mein or lo mein, they must meet certain criteria.

    Chow fun noodles are very wide noodles made of rice. Chow fun noodles are at least an inch wide, and occasionally even more. Depending on the recipe and the region of preparation, they are six to twelve inches long. The noodles are almost always sold wet and covered in some kind of oil to maintain their elasticity because they are made from ground rice; typically, the oil is sesame. Additionally, you can purchase vacuum-sealed or dried chow fun noodles at the grocery store.

    The noodle cousin of chow mein, which shares the same name, is very different. Despite the fact that both types of noodles are made from dried rice, chow mein noodles are thin and rounded. Chow mein noodles should resemble traditional spaghetti noodles more. Additionally, chow mein is never fried in oil before being packaged for sale.

    Chow mein noodles are meant to be eaten crunchy. Others pair them with a richer meat and vegetable dish that would benefit from more texture. Some use them as a garnish.

    Chow fun noodles are typically naturally gluten-free because they are made of ground rice. When you have a food allergy, it is always a good idea to check the ingredients. However, be cautious when purchasing chow fun as a dish. Keep in mind that chow fun is frequently offered as a complete dish with various stir-fried vegetables and meat in American restaurants.

    When ordering, be sure to specify that the dish not contain soy sauce or any other ingredients containing wheat or gluten. Calling ahead and discussing your dietary restrictions with the chef is in your best interest because gluten can appear in the strangest of places.


    What is chow fun noodles?

    What Are Chow Fun? Chow fun are thin, broad, flat rice noodles. If not cooked properly, then the noodles could break. Many classic Chinese recipes use chow fun. For instance, the ingredients for the recipe for beef chow fun are thinly sliced beef steak, oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and ginger.

    Are chow fun noodles rice or wheat?

    Chow fun noodles are made using rice flour. Chow fun noodles are one of the very few Asian noodles that use rice flour as their primary ingredient rather than wheat flour, and they are very wide noodles (at least an inch wide) and can be up to 12 inches long.

    What is a fun noodle made of?

    Hor fun noodles, also known as shahe fen and originating in the Guangzhou town of Shahe, are the main component of this dish. Beef chow fun. Bean sprouts, soy sauce, and dry-fried beef ho funOther namesWide Flat Rice NoodleServing temperatureHot rice noodles, onions.

    What are chow mei fun noodles made of?

    Mei fun noodles are thin rice noodles. In the production process, precooked, dried rice noodles are used in this recipe. All that is required before adding them to soups or stir-fries is a brief pre-soaking.

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