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Mar 4, 2023

Beef Chow Fun

Beef Chow Fun (gon chow ngau huo) is a Cantonese noodle dish made with haw fun, noodles made in broad sheets from a rice batter that is steamed on lightly oiled sheet pans. 

Beef Chow Fun in a bowl.

These haw fun noodles are sold at room temperature on the day they are made, and are best used the same day. You can't really refrigerate them because they will become hard and must be steamed again to soften. 

If you have a Chinatown nearby, you will often find them in uncut sheets. I wasn't able to find the haw fun uncut, but my local Asian market had packages of fresh cut noodles. 

Rice noodles piled on a plate.

I was so happy to find them that I immediately bought them and ran to my car to head home, satisfied that I had hunted down the coveted ingredient. Then I realized I forgot the bean sprouts, another ingredient that most of my local grocery stores don't carry. Oh no! When you are in an Asian shopping center on the weekend in Southern California, parking is at a premium. I felt terrible walking to my car, deceiving the woman slowly following me to nab my parking space. 

I apologized profusely, she smiled (no Fried Green Tomatoes parking lot moment, fortunately), and I ran back into the store to pick up a bag of sprouts. 

bean sprouts in a colander.

Process and Ingredients in this Beef Chow Fun:

Step one: 

Assemble all of your ingredients. Flank steak, soy, cornstarch, sesame oil, fresh broad rice noodles (haw fun), oyster sauce, Shao Hsing rice wine, ginger, garlic, fermented black beans, bean sprouts, scallions, and white pepper. 

Beef Chow Fun ingredients on the kitchen counter.

Step two: 

Wash and dry the bean sprouts. 

Step three: 

Painstakingly separate a pound of haw fun into a snowy pile of noodles. It's a fun job for kids! 

Step four: 

Mise en place. 

Beef Chow Fun mis en place, individual bowls.

The beef is marinated in the soy, corn starch, and sesame oil. The ginger and garlic are minced. The fermented beans are smashed, and the wine and oyster sauce are mixed together. 

Step Five, Cooking the Dish: 

First you briefly stir fry the garlic and ginger, then you sear the marinated meat, add the the fermented beans, stir a bit, and then remove the mixture from the wok. 

At this point, you stir fry the noodles. Just know that the noodles may stick to your wok. This adds a little bit of tasty crustiness. Just scrape them off the pan as you stir fry and, once you are done making this dish, give your wok a 5 minute soak in water. 

Once the noodles are a bit crusty, you add the meat back in, as well as the bean sprouts and scallions and stir. Verdict? We devoured it. I really loved the added crunch from the bean sprouts. I also added a few sprinkle of crushed red pepper to mine. 

And we have steam!!!

Beef Chow Fun in a bowl with fresh steam rising.

Equipment You May Need:

A 14 inch carbon steel wok. If you don't have one, a 12 inch skillet is the next best thing. However, if you get a wok, you won't regret it. 

If you do have a wok, be sure to buy Grace Young's Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge and The Breath of a Wok. Both books will give you tons of amazing recipes and lessons on how to care for your wok. Cooking through them is like going to stir-frying culinary school. These are two of my most-loved cookbooks except maybe my collection of bread books. 

If you really want to geek out, Kenji López-Alt's book, The Wok: Recipes and Techniques is perfect too. 


If you can't find the haw fun noodles, you can use cooked egg noodles. It won't be quite the same, but the flavor will still be delicious. 

If you can't find fermented black beans (they usually come in shrink wrapped plastic) try a tablespoon of black bean garlic sauce, which is fairly easy to find. 

Beef Chow Fun in a bowl.

Originally published in March, 2015, and updated in March, 2023 along with a new printable recipe card. 

The theme for this week's Sunday Funday is Noodles! There are so many great choices! 

Beef Chow Fun in a bowl.

Beef Chow Fun

Beef Chow Fun
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 5 MinTotal time: 1 H & 5 M
Beef Chow Fun is a Cantonese noodle dish with haw fun, noodles made in broad sheets from a rice batter.


  • 8 ounces flank steak, cut with the grain into 2 inch wide strips, and then against the grain, into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound fresh broad rice noodles (haw fun)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoon peanut or other neutral oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed
  • 6 ounces (about 3 cups) bean sprouts, rinsed and dried.
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced or shredded scallions
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper


  1. Toss the beef with the soy sauce, baking soda, cornstarch, and sesame oil in a shallow bowl. Let marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  2. Separate the noodles and pile them loosely on a plate (there should be about 4 cups).
  3. In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce and rice wine.
  4. Heat your wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for 10 seconds. Push these ingredients to the side and add the beef in a single layer. Cook without stirring for one minute to sear. Add the fermented beans and stir fry everything for 30 seconds. Transfer everything to a plate and set aside.
  5. Swirl in the rest of the peanut oil. Add the noodles. Spread the noodles out and let them cook without stirring for one minute. Add the bean sprouts and stir for about a minute. Add the beef back into the wok. Add the scallions, the pepper, and the oyster sauce and rice wine mixture. Stir fry everything for a minute. Serve.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

11.99 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.75 g

Carbs (grams)

100.95 g

Fiber (grams)

3.38 g

Net carbs

97.57 g

Sugar (grams)

2.25 g

Protein (grams)

19.17 g

Sodium (milligrams)

654.83 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

34.02 mg
stir fry, beef, haw fun, chow fun
Main dish, noodles
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Recipe adapted from Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories, a James Beard award winning cookbook. Published in 2010. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Picture perfect, Karen. So jealous of your beautiful noodles! I try to avoid the weekends here too at all costs! Super crazy! This was a delicious stir-fry, once again!

    1. I bet you do have the same parking lot issues!

  2. I had never heard of this dish nor haw fun noodles. Keeping my eye out next visit to the Asian market. Thanks Karen.

  3. At least you remembered before you lost your parking space. I have seen fistfights over parking spaces here. Crazy! And I have never made this dish, but I can't wait to try your recipe.

    1. My son just saw something like that in a parking lot, where one guy got out a tire iron and hit the other guys car! Crazy people.

  4. I'm surrounded by Asian markets, so this is one recipe I can't wait to try! I'll try not to forget the bean sprouts!

  5. I could finish that bowl of beef chow and want more.. so delicious!


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