Char Hor Fun (Cantonese Fried Flat Rice Noodles) is the Penang version of Kung Fu Chow using uncut or hand shredded flat rice noodles.
Today’s Char Hor Fun takes me back down memory lane to Penang, Malaysia. This dish has the same silky sauce as the Kuala Lumpur version Cantonese Style Fried Noodles (Kung Fu Chow), also known as Wat Tan Hor, but there is a slight difference in the noodles used. The sauce also tends to have a little less egg or what appears to be a minutiae of egg white mixed into the corn starch slurry.
Kuala Lumpur Hawker Food in Penang
Paul and I lived in Penang (Paul’s home town) for four years after we first got married before moving back to my home town in Petaling Jaya. During our time in Penang, I of course missed the Kuala Lumpur hawker fare. Thankfully, there were a few places on the island that served some of my favorite dishes which were a little different, but surprisingly good.
Top of the list of foods I missed were KL Hokkien Mee, Cantonese Style Fried Noodles (Kung Fu Chow), and Bak Kut Teh. Penang Hokkien Mee is a different dish altogether known as Hae Mee (Prawn Noodles) in Kuala Lumpur. Penangites call KL Hokkien Mee, Hokkien Char. For this dish we went to a night time set up at Dato Keramat Road. Their rendition came with a good amount of dark soy sauce and pork lard crackling which I have to say, did satisfy my craving.
For Bak Kut Teh, we went to another night time set up, probably along Ayer Itam Road, in the Dhoby Ghaut area. They served their Bak Kut Teh in clay pots. I remember enjoying dinner with Gin Chiam Teh Ong oolong tea which was very good. I am not sure if these places still exist today as it was many moons ago.
Penang Style Char Hor Fun or Sar Hor Fun
When it came to Kung Fu Chow, we went to a coffee shop in MacAlister Road. The most notable difference in this dish from the KL version is the noodles.
Paul explained that what we call “hor fun” in Kuala Lumpur is “koay teow” in Penang. The Cantonese people in Kuala Lumpur call the flat rice noodles hor fun, while the Hokkiens call it koay teow. The noodles are always cut either into broader or thinner strips. In Penang, hor fun is flat rice noodle sheets torn into large pieces instead of cut into thin strips. When it is cut, it is call koay teow. Are we confused yet? 😮
Hor Fun or Koay Teow
Over here in the US, I can buy a pack of flat rice noodle sheets or precut strips of flat rice noodles in different widths. You can use either one because they are basically the same thing. You can also cut the rice noodle sheets into broad strips if preferred. Then follow the rest of the preparation instructions and your Char Hor Fun will taste just as delicious.
The Silky Egg Sauce
For the sauce, you can either use the whole egg, like I did, or just the egg white if preferred. If you use just the egg white, your sauce will look “whiter”. 🙂
Similar Products Used in Making This Char Hor Fun (Cantonese Fried Flat Rice Noodles)
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Hand Hammered 14 inch, Round Bottom Carbon Steel Pow Wok with Bamboo Handle
Classic Series Carbon Steel Wok, 14-inch
Asian Kitchen Carbon Steel Wok Stir Fry Pan, 12-inch
Stainless Steel Professional Wok Turner Spatula
Char Hor Fun (Cantonese Fried Flat Rice Noodles)
- 1½ lbs hor fun (flat rice noodle sheets) (675g)
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 4 oz pork (thinly sliced) (113g)
- 2½ cups chicken broth (600ml)
- Salt to taste
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- 1½ tbsp corn starch (mixed with ½ cup/120ml water)
- 4 oz shrimp (peeled and deveined) (113g)
- ½ lb choy sum / yu chai / oilseed rape (225g)
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 8 pickled bird eye chilies (thinly sliced)
- 2 red chilies (thinly sliced)
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- Remove hor fun from package and tear into large pieces. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok or large fry pan. Transfer half of the hor fun to the heated wok or fry pan and allow it to fry for 2 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon soy sauce and flip the hor fun. Continue to stir fry for another 2 to 3 minutes until hor fun is slightly crisp. Remove and divide noodles onto 2 plates.
- Repeat with the remaining half of the hor fun.
- In the same wok or fry pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Sauté garlic for about 20 seconds.
- Add sliced pork and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Season with salt and ground pepper.
- Add corn starch mixture, shrimp, and choy sum. Allow sauce to come to a boil and thicken for about 2 minutes. Shrimp should curl and turn pink.
- Stir in lightly beaten egg and immediately turn off heat.
- Add sesame oil.
- Divide sauce over the 4 plates of fried hor fun.
- Serve with pickled green chilies or cut red chilies in soy sauce.
Did I mentioned that this is best served with Pickled Green Chilies? Also, add some red chilies for good measure. 😉