Beef chow fun (also known as beef ho fun or beef hor fun) is a traditional Cantonese dish where beef is stir-fried with hor fun, also known as rice noodles. Typically fried in delicious savory sauce over high heat, beef chow fun offers a variety of flavors when eaten. Imagine tender strips of beef combined with crunchy bean sprouts and crispy scallions served with a fried egg on top - it is no wonder this dish is so popular in many Asian households worldwide!
Fun fact: Most chefs in Chinese restaurants aspire to create ‘wok hei’ or ‘breath of the wok’ when frying beef chow fun because extreme heat allows the flavor to develop while maintaining the original crunchy texture of the ingredients. Wok hei also gives the dish a smoky flavor that adds to its deliciousness.
Beef Chow Fun - What’s Inside
Other ingredients besides beef and rice noodles include bean sprouts, scallions, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and green onions.
The beef is marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, Shao Tsing yellow wine, baking soda, cornstarch, and water.
The rice noodles are seasoned with oyster sauce and soy sauce - yummy!
It is incredibly easy to make, and you can whip up a plate for lunch or dinner from the comfort of your kitchen in under 30 minutes!
- Wide rice noodles
- Light soy sauce
- Dark soy sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Sesame oil
- Shao Tsing wine (a popular Chinese cooking wine, also known as the Chinese rice wine)
- Baking soda
- Ground white pepper
- Bean sprouts
- White onions
- Baby bok choy (optional)
Tips For The Best Beef Chow Fun Noodles
- The most important thing is to remember to prepare all marinated ingredients before cooking because rice noodles get sticky and mushy very quickly when left in the pan or the wok for too long.
- Get a non-stick wok so you won’t have to scrape the noodles off the bottom of the pan after cooking. If you are planning to create a smoky flavor (wok hei), use woks made from carbon or stainless steel as these can withstand very high heat.
- Popular cuts include flank steak and sirloin. Other widely used cuts include the skirt steak, tri-tip, and eye of round. Brisket beef is not recommended as it is overly chewy and does not go well with the overall recipe.
- Always slice the beef very thinly against the grain.
- Marinade your beef before doing anything else, because it’ll take at least 20 minutes for the beef to tenderize.
- Remember to strain excess beef marinade liquid before frying.
- Both light and dark soy sauces are necessary for this recipe. The light soy sauce gives you a hint of saltiness, while the dark soy sauce creates the signature dark color of the noodles.
- If you are really unable to find dark soy sauce, you can settle for regular soy sauce. However, you will not be able to create the dark color so synonymous with the Cantonese beef chow fun.
- Wash your bean sprouts well before cooking. This is to eliminate the odor of unwashed bean sprout and avoid food poisoning.
- Rice noodles come in different shapes and sizes. If you’re unsure of which one to get, pick one that says ‘sa ho fun’ or ‘sha hor fun’ - these are the ones traditionally used in beef chow fun recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Beef Chow Fun And Beef Chow Mein The Same?
No, they’re not the same. Chow fun is made with rice noodles (flat, white, and wide-ish).
Chow mein noodles are made with egg noodles (yellow, stringy noodles)
Where Can You Get Rice Noodles?
Rice noodles can be found in most Asian markets or supermarkets, in the refrigerated section.
Avoid getting tightly packed or small packets of rice noodles, because these have been bunched together and are mostly used as soup noodles, where they loosen up in hot water.
Trying to break up and stir fry tightly bunched rice noodles will only result in shredded and torn-looking noodles.
What Kind Of Bean Sprouts Should You Get?
Mung bean sprouts are the best choice; however, if you cannot find them, you can always go for soybean sprouts.
What Is Beef Chow Fun Called In Cantonese?
Beef chow fun is called ‘gon chow ngau ho’ in Cantonese.
Beef Chow Fun
- Stainless steel wok or non-stick wok
- 900 grams of fresh flat rice noodles - to soak in warm water
- 300 grams of steak flank, sirloin, skirt
- 1 white onion sliced thinly
- 1 cup of green onions
- 3 tablespoon of cooking oil some use avocado oil
- 150 grams of bean sprouts - washed and dried
- Sliced bok choy optional
- 3 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon of light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- A dash of black pepper optional
- 2 tablespoon of Shao Tsing wine
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- ½ tablespoon of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of white granulated sugar or 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of water
- 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
- Soak the noodles in warm water for 20 minutes.
- Drain the noodles. Add a teaspoon of cooking oil or olive oil over the noodles and coat them with your fingers. This is to loosen them up so they do not stick together and become clumpy. Use this with fresh ho fun or noodles as well.
- Thinly slice your flank steak against the grain.
- Marinate the beef with the prepared sauce above. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes in room temperature.
- Strain the beef of any residual liquid before cooking.
- Heat up cooking oil over medium-high heat in a clean wok.
- When the oil heats up, add the beef strips to the wok. Let the strips sear for about 30 seconds.
- Proceed to stir fry the beef for a few seconds more until it is halfway or slightly more than halfway cooked. Remove the beef strips from the wok and put on a clean plate. Do not cook the beef fully because you’ll be adding them to the noodles later. Cooking them fully now may result in overcooked and tough beef.
- In another clean wok, add a tablespoon of cooking oil. When it heats up, add your white onions. If you have sliced bok choy (or any other vegetables of choice), stir fry them here together with the white onions.
- When the white onions show a tinge of brown, use your spatula to push both onions and vegetables to the side of the wok. Turn up the heat to make your wok is as hot as possible.
- Add the rice noodles. Give them a quick stir, then pour the noodle sauce over it.
- Stir for even mixing.
- Add the cooked beef and bean sprouts. Mix everything together.
- Break an egg over it and mix. Optional, but my favorite.
- Add the green onions. Stir fry and mix for a bit more.
- Remove from heat quickly and transfer to plate. Serve and enjoy!
We all love Chinese takeout now and then, but whipping up a homemade beef chow fun can be incredibly satisfying and affordable!
Let me know how this recipe turned out for you. In the meantime, check out other yummy beef recipes here!
Kristy is a pharmacist turned funnel builder. She builds funnels and copywrites for 7 figure businesses. She is also an avid blogger who loves geeking out over SEO. She shares her journey and tips for freelancing at https://kristyting.com.